How Long Should Wedding Vows Be?

If you are about to get married, or if you have been considering marriage as a part of your future of late, you might be thinking about wedding vows. 

How Long Should Wedding Vows Be

We see them in TV shows and movies, and this is about the extent of general knowledge on these, but, no one really seems to know exactly how long they should be. 

Well, the rough estimate is that they should usually be around 45 seconds to 2 minutes in length per person. Obviously if you are a fast talker that means you can get a lot in! 

You should ideally have your officiant read them beforehand to check that both person’s vows are of a similar length.

A lot of people will struggle to write their vows, not to mention get them to the appropriate length, so if you need some ideas and tips on how to shorten your vows, or even to increase them, you’re in the right place! 

What Might Short Wedding Vows Look Like?

For some of the more emotional people out there, short vows can be better, especially if you can see yourself crying.

For this reason it is best to keep it to the 45-second marker, just in case you end up crying through the cows. 

We will give you some examples of different lengths of vows. 

  1. “[Insert name here], you are my best friend and I love you. I promise to care for you and love you in every way, and try to be worthy of your love. I swear to inspire and encourage you, laugh with you and to be there for you in times of struggle or sadness. As one, we will face all of the experiences of life, sharing in our dreams and goals together. I look forward to the opportunity for us to grow together, and learn with you as we become new people, falling more in love each and every day. So, I give you my heart, my hand, and my love, from today, until my last day.”

(This example will take around 40 seconds to recite, leaving room for crying.)

  1. “I [insert your name here], to do you [insert partner’s name here], my best friend, my loyal partner, and my one true love and destiny. On this most special of days, I give to you in the presence of the Almighty God himself, and all of our witnesses my true and sacred promise to be by your side as your [husband/wife/partner] in both sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, through good time and through bad. I swear to join with you in all that is to come, to give and to receive, to listen as much as speak, and to respond and inspire. Throughout all of the unknowns and the trials and tribulations of life, I will be faithful always, and love you always. Thus, together we can grow together in the likeness of Christ and so that our love and our home may praise and glorify him. This will, therefore, be my commitment made with love, kept with faith, and made refreshed every day as long as we shall both live.” 

(This example will typically take around a minute to recite, so leaves some room for crying.)

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You can also add humor into your vows, they do not need to be totally romantic all the way through, nor do they need to affirm your beliefs in them either.

They can be specific to the bond between your partner and you. 

You could make jokes that are personal to your partner and to yourself. Things such as. 

‘I promise to never knowingly steal all the bed covers’.

‘I promise to always put the toilet seat down after using the restroom’. 

‘I promise to always bring you nuggets when I go to McDonald’s’. 

Adding in things like this make it personal and even more special. 

Now, let us look at how traditional wedding vows would go in which the couple repeats the lines as directed by the officiant of the wedding. These take about 2 minutes to repeat overall. 

Officiant: [Partner 1], do you take [Partner 2] to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife, to love him/her and keep him/her in sickness and in health and forsaking all other, keeping only unto her/him as long as you both shall live. 

Partner 1: I do. I [Name] take you, [partner’s name] to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live. 

Officiant: [Partner 2], do you take [Partner 1] to be your lawfully wedded husband/ wife, to love him/her, honor and keep him/her in sickness and in health and forsaking all other, keeping only unto him/her so long as you both shall live. 

Partner 2: I do. I [Name] take you, [partner’s name] to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sicknesses and in health as long as we both shall live. 

Is There A Format For Wedding Vows?

How Long Should Wedding Vows Be

Typically, things start with the officiant asking the bride and groom to face one another and join hands, in the case that you have managed to memorize your vows this can be a very close and intimate way to recite your wedding vows

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However, if you wish to read out your vows, this might not work so well, although you can still hold one hand. 

Typically, in traditional weddings the groom will go first, this is generally commonplace. Couples can also say their vows in unison as well.

But, generally you can do this however you want. It is your wedding. 

Often, people who know they will cry throughout their vows might choose the option to ‘repeat after me’ instead of trying to memorize their vows. 

Yet, if you do manage to memorize your vows then it is always good practice to have a copy for the officiant of the ceremony, just in case you forget any words or get stuck, the officiant can give you a helping hand and whisper them to you. 

Once you have recited your vows the rings will then be exchanged. You can choose to make this a separate part of your ceremony, or you could include it as part of the exchange of your vows.

This is totally up to you and your partner. 

Writing Your Own Vows: How To Do It

How Long Should Wedding Vows Be

So, writing your vows, how do you do it? Well, a great place to start is reading some examples.

Some people may naturally be great at writing vows, a natural romantic probably had an idea upon the engagement, but others might struggle. 

You should discuss with your partner whether or not you want to have a specific tone or format for the vows as well. 

Consider if you both want to say the same thing, what do you want the length of the vows to be, do you want to include jokes and humor, will you share them before the ceremony or keep them secret, and also will you work on them together or separately? 

Have a think about these things together and decide. 

Now, you want to take some time to think about your partner, and your relationship, and write down all of what you love about them, and what made you fall in love with them.

Consider the changes, challenges and hardships you have already faced. 

Basically, bullet point everything good, powerful, and loving about your partner and your relationship with them. 

Then, you need to consider the promises you want to make, you want to promise the basics of course; ‘ I promise to love and support you’, however, you may also want to promise more personal things as well. 

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When you write your vows you might want to create an outline. 

You could start off by stating your love, then offer your promises, and then finish with a ‘final vow’. 

Once you have written your vows you want to practice them out loud for quite some time as the wedding draws closer.

It can help you if you plan to memorize them, and it will also prevent you from skipping over words or stuttering them, making sure you’re clearly heard. 

Why Are Wedding Vows A Thing?

So, after all this you might ask ‘why even do this?’ Well, vows are a chance to express your love and commitment before others. Everyone will find different depth in the meaning of this practice. 

Some people will see it as a binding before God that they will love and be true to each other, others will see it as a tradition to express commitment and trust. 

It is different for everyone, but at their core, vows are promises to be kept throughout the life of the couple no matter what may happen, and as a promise to stay together for life.

They also show your witnesses that you are dedicating your life to this one person and no one else.

Frequently Asked Questions

What else can we tell you about vows? 

What Does ‘For Better Or For Worse’ Really Mean?

For better or for worse is the promise that you will love and support one another no matter whether the outcome of a situation is good or bad, that your love is not subjective, but constant.

What Does ‘To Have And To Hold’ Really Mean?

This is in reference to the emotional and physical intimacy that is reserved only for your spouse.

By saying this you are promising that this intimacy is only for your partner, and you will fulfill these needs for them.

Lisa Plaitt