I’m trying to figure out how I want my ceremony and I noticed most have the bride and groom repeating the vows. Can the bride and groom just say “I do” at the end and not have to repeat the vows or is repeating them an important part of the ceremony?
Father Anderson, Episcopal Priest
In the Book of Common prayer used by Episcopalians the marriage ceremony has three sections where the bride and groom make consent, then the covenant, then the exchange of gifts or symbols, the rings…
The Declaration of consent is just that. Do you take this man , Do you take this woman. The answer being I Do or I Will. Marriage in the legal sense is a contract between two people who aggree to live together. That part of the ceremony is the public declaration of your desire to enter into what the church calls a “Holy Estate” willingly. No Shotguns!
Secondly, you make a statement regarding the substance of that contract or “Holy Estate” ‘Sicknesss or health, better for worse, love and to cherish till death. You publicly declare that you’re both in this for the long haul.
Lastly the gifts or symbols representing the outward physical sign of your union… the rings… ‘ I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow’ etc.
Do you have to? No, but then you end up with a very short very confusing ceremony.
Blessing on your marriage!
Reverend Susanna Stefanachi Macomb
There are couples who are so fearful of public speaking that they have begged me to pose the vow question, so they could simply answer “I do”. For example, the most traditional of vows can be put into a question, instead of repeating them after the officiant, and often are:
Celebrant: “Do you, ___, that this woman (man)____ to be your lawfully wedded wife (husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse , for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do you part?”
And I have done it with many other selections of vows.
You could also place your rings on each other’s fingers in silence. However, you might consider saying something short, sweet and beautiful there.
The vows are the essence of the ceremony. And there are many of your guests who will expect and await that moment. Having said that, it is your wedding, your choice.