What are the Standard Legal Vows for a Virginia Civil Wedding?
A common question I receive from couples looking to elope and get married in Virginia is “do we have to write our own wedding vows?” or “what do we need to say for our marriage vows?”.
The state of Virginia provides no set template on what needs to be said during your marriage. As a court-appointed wedding officiant, all I need to hear is verbal confirmation from both of you stating that you wish to enter into a legal marriage with one another. This could be as simple as me asking the couple “do you both want to be married to one another?”. If both individuals say “yes”, then that’s it…you are married.
However the words I use as my standard legal wedding vows for couples make it a little more special for each of you.
My Standard Legal Virginia Wedding Vows
For the ceremony I begin with a very short intro indicating to each of you that you are both in agreement that you are entering into a legal marriage as recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. I then move on right to the legal vows I use which are:
“Do you (insert name), take (insert name) to be your lawfully wedded (wife, husband, spouse, partner) to have and to hold from this day forward? Do you promise to be faithful to him/her, to love, honor, cherish, and respect as long as you both shall live?”
If you choose to exchange rings (not required but often done by couples), I also add:
“(Insert name), as you place the ring on (insert name)’s finger, please repeat after me: This ring I give in token and pledge, as a sign of my love and devotion. With this ring, I thee wed.”
Your Wedding Vows Can Be Whatever You Like
As this is YOUR wedding day, you can customize your wedding vows to read however you like. Feel free to use my above vows as a starting point and change them up however you like. Do you feel like spontaneously speaking from the heart during your ceremony without pre-written vows? That is completely fine. Are you both die-hard Star Wars fans and want to work in terms such as “Jedi” and “The Force” into your vows? That is awesome and no problem at all!
As stated previously as long as I am hearing verbal confirmation from each of you that you agree to be married to one another, you can make your wedding vows fit your unique personalities.
If you want vows that are a little more special and are having a problem writing your own, contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out. I have several wedding vow templates to choose from (Christian, Secular, etc.) or can help you write your very own custom personal vows.