Who Says Their Wedding Vows First?

At the core of the wedding are the wedding vows, encapsulating the essence of a couple's love and commitment to each other. In this blog post, we'll delve into the question of who takes the lead in the exchange of vows, offering insights and tips on crafting the perfect vows for your special day.

Tradition Unveiled: The Origin of Wedding Vows

Before we explore the question of who goes first in exchanging vows, let's take a step back and uncover the origins of this tradition. Understanding the roots of wedding vows will provide valuable context to the roles each partner plays in this heartfelt exchange.

The Brief History of Wedding Vows

Wedding vows boast a rich history that spans various cultures and centuries. It's believed that the first mention of marriage vows was in the Medieval Church of England. The 1594 version of the Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer has familiar messaging - "I, [NAME], take thee, [PARTNER NAME], to be my wedded 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, cherish, and to obey, till death us depart, according to God's holy ordinance." In addition to modern updates to these vows (like the removal of "to obey," the tweak from "depart," and the adaptation from religion), there are also whole new takes on the vows as described below. From ancient rituals to modern-day celebrations, the act of exchanging vows has evolved while maintaining its core purpose – a pledge of love, commitment, and partnership.

Traditional Vow Order vs Modern Vow Exchange?

Given wedding ceremony traditions have reflected patriarchal societal norms for centuries, it's no surprise that traditionally, the groom says his vows first. That said, in the contemporary world, weddings are a celebration of individuality and personal expression. Couples are rewriting the script of traditional ceremonies to reflect their unique love stories. This shift prompts the question: Who takes the lead in expressing their vows first?

The Decision-Making Dilemma

The age-old question of who goes first can sometimes feel like a friendly debate. Do you let tradition guide you, or do you embrace the spontaneity of the moment? Let's explore the pros and cons of both approaches, helping you navigate this decision-making process.

Reading the Room: Know Your Audience

Consider the dynamics of your ceremony audience. Are they traditionalists who expect a structured exchange, or are they a group that appreciates spontaneity? Does it even matter what they think? Tailor your decision to the atmosphere you wish to create for you and your partner.

Personality Play: Matching Vows to Your Dynamic

Your personalities as a couple play a crucial role. If one partner is more extroverted and the other reserved, or if one person is more likely to cry, consider how this dynamic can shape the flow of your vow exchange. Strive for a balance that reflects your shared energy. If your partner will sob hearing your vows, maybe they should go first so they can get through their own.

Nontraditional Ways to Exchange Your Vows

Have a fun way to Decide Who Goes First with the Vows

For the couple that's down for a little spontaneity, you can leave the order up to fate during the ceremony. Some couples play rock paper scissors, while others flip a coin to decide who goes first with their vows.

Have a Private Vows Ceremony

Doing your vows before the ceremony - just you two - is a rising trend in weddings. Many people opt for this if they want the moment to be more intimate, if they are anxious by the idea of speaking in front of crowds, or perhaps they saw it on TikTok and loved the idea.

How to Write Personal Vows

Is there so much you want to say about your partner, you're just struggling to know where to even start? Check out the Vow Builder for inspiration to help you remember the stories you want to include, and give you ideas of how to put it all together.


Is it okay to break away from traditional vow structures?

Absolutely! Your vows are your personal expression of love, and there's no one-size-fits-all template. Feel free to break away from tradition and make your vows uniquely yours.

Can we use Provenance for vow renewals?

Certainly! Provenance is not just for weddings; it's your partner in crafting vows for any significant moment in your journey, including vow renewals.

Your Exchange, Your Decision

As you stand on the threshold of your wedding vows, remember that there's no one right way to choreograph this exchange. Whether you choose tradition, spontaneity, or a surprise twist, what matters most is that your vows reflect the authenticity of your love.

Ready to take the first step in crafting your personalized vows? Join the tens of thousands of couples who have embraced the ease and creativity of Provenance's Vow Builder.

At the core of the wedding are the wedding vows, encapsulating the essence of a couple's love and commitment to each other. In this blog post, we'll delve into the question of who takes the lead in the exchange of vows, offering insights and tips on crafting the perfect vows for your special day.
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