Marriage vows are promises a couple makes to each other during a wedding ceremony.
Civil ceremonies often allow couple's to choose their own marriage vows, although many civil marriage vows are adapted from the traditional Catholic wedding vow "To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part."
Vows can also be written by the couple, or poetry, lyrics or vows from a mixture of religious traditions used. However couples marrying in a house of worship or within a religious tradition are often constrained to use the standard vows of that tradition's ceremony.
Most religions have their own marriage vows and ceremonial traditions. In Judaism, the groom makes the declaration "You are consecrated to me, through this ring, according to the religion of Moses and Israel." before giving the bride a ring. In Hindu wedding tradition, there are a wide variety of ceremonies that depend on the families' region and traditions. The wedding vows are known as Saat Phere and consist of 7 verses spoken by the couple as they take a step for each. When after the seventh step the groom says to the bride "With seven steps we have become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me." they are pronounced husband and wife. In Quaker wedding the bride and groom make "promises" to each other before pronouncing themselves married in front of a Quaker meeting. By making a vow, the husband and wife are also making a covenant between each other.
A vow renewal is an event where a couple exchange vows again, although this is more of a leisure activity. Couples often have vow renewals on special occasions, such as an anniversary.
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