Legal Requirements for Your Wedding Vows

shutterstock_119704648 - Jan Vlcek

Legal Requirements for Your Wedding Vows

The wedding vows are a central part of your wedding ceremony – this is where you ‘lawfully’ take someone to be your husband or wife and tell them of your commitment to them personally and to your relationship together.

It is important that you know that there is a legal requirement for you to say certain words at the start of your vows.  You are legally required to say:

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [name], take thee, [name] to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”.

There are limited ways you can change this wording.  An alternative would be:

“I ask the people here present to witness that I, [name], take you, [name] to be my lawful wedded spouse”.

You do not have to use your full name in this statement, but your full name (including any ‘middle’ names) must be used at some point during the ceremony.  Often your full names are used at the beginning of the ceremony, that way it is very clear who is marrying whom.

Nicknames or abbreviations of your name are not allowed when making the legal statement, but they can be used elsewhere in the ceremony.  For example, if your name is Nicholas but you are known as Nick, then during the legal statement you must use Nicholas, but elsewhere throughout the ceremony you can be referred to as Nick.

After the legal statement, you can then add your own personal touch to the vows (to be covered in a later blog post).


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