30 Jul History of Wedding Vows
Weddings have evolved over time into incredibly intimate and memorable events celebrating the unity of two families. Traditional wedding practices are still used in modern weddings today. From something blue to wedding vows, you’ll find remnants of wedding traditions throughout history.
Wedding vows in particular have had quite the journey. Initially brides and grooms were married purely to help sustain life for both families. Ever hear of a family paying an animal or gift for a bride? These bride prices were decided on before the marriage and “vows” were essentially the legal terms both families agreed upon.
Later on, vows were used during religious ceremonies to legally bind a couple and give religious meaning to the event. Cultures and religions have formed their own traditions and wedding vows today are often an incredible mix of personal and old-fashioned.
Wedding Vow Traditions
As with many other wedding traditions, you can trace a lot of wedding vows back to religion. Many believe the oldest standard wedding vows can be traced back to the Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer. The religious history of marriage and combining of two families is partly due to much of the verbiage. Many couples choose to keep the same conventional vows so they can keep the tradition alive. Oftentimes these words are the same that their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents exchanged, and therefore have a deeper sentimental meaning.
The word vow is defined as “one by which a person is bound to an act, service or condition”. Hence, wedding vows are promises that the couple makes to each other in front of their family and friends. It’s important to note that vows can be morally and/or legally binding depending on the couples wish. Throughout history, vows have had many meanings and rules, but brides and grooms of modern times are relying on a mix of religion, culture, and personal preferences when planning their ceremonies.
Personalized Wedding Vows
It’s very popular today for couples to write their own personalized wedding vows. Brides and grooms write down sentiments of love and devotion to their partner and read these aloud during the ceremony. Some couples completely write their own vows, while others use traditional vows and incorporate their own personal spin to them. One way to incorporate traditional sayings into vows is by using sayings like “to have and to hold” and “until death do us part” and then adding your own personal touch.
Ceremonies are beautiful moments where couples can declare their love for one another. These highly special ceremonies kick off every wedding with a bang and vary from couple to couple. Whether you choose to write your own vows or lean towards tradition, these moments will stick with you for the rest of your life!
Popular Vows and Their Cultures & Religions
Wedding vows vary significantly depending on the culture and religion of the couple. Here are some specific types of vows and a quick glance into where they came from.
Arguably the most popular and well-known, protestant vows are in a read and repeat format with the officiant reading and the couple repeating after him/her. If “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” sounds familiar to you, this is where it comes from!
Originating in Africa, the libation ceremony is an incredibly touching one. According to Osceola History, during the ceremony, elder members of the families pour liquor or holy water in each of the four cardinal directions to honor those recently passed.
Hindu weddings traditionally have extremely lengthy, elaborate ceremonies. Couples recite their vows while taking seven steps around a fire. Each step has a specific recitation the bride or groom says, and they are legally married once they finish their seventh and final step!
Korean weddings are ornate celebrations and the ceremony often has very specific traditions. Brides and grooms wear traditional hanboks (Korean dresses designed specifically for the ceremony) and the vows are sealed with a bow and sip of wine.
Instead of exchanging vows, many Jewish couples exchange rings and recite a saying. One of the popular Hebrew sayings translates to “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” This comes from the Song of Solomon.
At The Crescent Beach Club, our waterfront weddings offer a beautiful and picturesque scene for ceremonies. The meaningful words spoken with a backdrop of crashing waves and palm trees swaying in the wind create magical moments. No matter what your preferences are, your wedding ceremony will be incredibly special and meaningful. When writing your wedding vows there is a wealth of information on traditional phrases that you can incorporate if you’re looking to go that route. Otherwise, have fun and go for whatever makes you happy on your big day!