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History of Wedding Vows


It was believed that Eve was created for Adam to complete his desire for companionship. And since then numerous modifications have taken place regarding the ceremony of wedding vows. According to the history of wedding vows, most Christian marriages are solemnized when the bride and groom profess their life long marital bond to each other. The actual terminology of wedding vows reflects all the characteristics of a ‘covenant’. It is a promise, a commitment between husband and wife to stay together throughout their life. Yet, there is no “swearing” in anyone’s name which amounts to tagging the relationship an obligation. Significance of wedding vows lies in the fact that they are entitled to unite the couple into a legal marital bond.
The tradition of wedding vows goes back to pre-historic times when the commitment was not necessarily between two people, but between a person and an entire village. The very first wedding vows in history were most likely a symbolic representation of a newcomer’s commitment to watch over and protect a tribe or group, in exchange for their protection as well.
While towards the end of middle ages, marriages were considered more an association between families, rather than a symbol of romantic love. In late medieval times, the wedding vows were exchanged at the church. In order to make it known to public the wedding ceremony was held in front of the doors of the church rathe than inside the church. In fact the Celts made their vows in a ceremony known as ‘handfasting’, which was regarded as a legal marriage and a binding for a year and a day. At the end of this period of time, the vows could be renewed permanently, or the couple are allowed to separate.
The beginning of the wedding vows commonly used in Anglican services can be traced back to the middle ages to the ‘Book of Common Prayer,’ which was approved by Henry VIII. The Church of England usually offers the couples a choice where they can both promise each other to 'love and cherish' or alternatively, the groom promises to 'love, cherish and worship' while the bride to 'love, cherish and obey.' But when a bride and groom are considering their choice of words they should take into account the meaning of all of the words they will be saying. However, the most important thing to be considered when deciding on the marriage vows is that one should be at ease and comfortable with what one is saying. Thus, every word you utter represents the deep sentiments you carry for your beloved.
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