Detailed Explanation About Catholic Wedding Vows


A religious ritual as a part of a wedding ceremony is never to be taken lightly, especially if it has significance to the family. If you two or your families are Catholics, Catholic wedding makes for an especially symbolic and meaningful ceremony for you as well as your families. Catholic wedding vows are the things that must be included. If you just want to find more about these vows, read on.

What Are the Traditional Catholic Wedding Vows?

The exchange of vows is the most important part of a Catholic wedding. These vows are the very heart of the sacrament of marriage. They are the covenant that the marriage is based on. The Church calls these vows consent, indicating that the bride and groom give themselves to each other freely and that they are accepting the gift from each other.

Wedding vows usually come after the priest asks three questions to which the couple will respond "yes" or "I do". These questions include:

Then you will exchange the traditional wedding vows like below:

Ideally, you should memorize the words of your vows. This helps to emphasize your consent is really heartfelt. It is also a good spiritual practice that will help you to focus on the deeper meaning of marriage.

If you are worried you won’t be able to remember the words or you’ll be too emotional to say them properly, priests and deacons often will have you repeat the words after them, phrase by phrase. The Rite of Marriage doesn’t expressly suggest this, while it offers a more easier way: you could have the priest read the content of the vows as questions which you can answer “I do” simply.

Are There Any Other Acceptable Vows?

There are. In the US, Catholic wedding vows can also take this form:

However, it is not acceptable to write your own vows. While some couples like to write vows of their own as a way of personally expressing their love for each other, the Rite of Marriage doesn’t give an option for writing your own vows. It is unlikely that the priest or deacon will let you write your own vows either. If you would like to make your own declarations, you can include them in the printed program for guests to read or exchange these professions during the reception.

As with the traditional vows, it’s better if you can memorize them. If that’s not possible, you can simply answer “I do” after the priest reads the vows.

What Will the Exchange of Vows Be Like?

The focus of any Catholic wedding vows is the words of the priest. Most Catholic weddings include a regular mass with the priest as the center of the ceremony. They have three jobs during the ceremony:

  • Rite of the Nuptials: During the first part of the vows, the priest will ask if the couple is freely offering themselves to each other. He then asks them to promise to honor, cherish each other, and raise any children in the Catholic Church.

  • Solemn Promise: The second part of the vows involves the couple making a declaration to the Catholic Church. They are blessed by the priest and then the vows are read.

  • Blessing of the Rings: The last part of the vows is the blessing of the rings before they are exchanged. After this is completed, the priest may pronounce them officially married by the state they are in and the power of the Catholic Church.