Does Bride Or Groom Say Vows First (What’s Tradition)

As your wedding day approaches, you are probably starting to freak out about a number of things. There are so many things to prepare, and do, that it can start piling on top of you! So let’s clear the air about the vows, and get those sorted as soon as possible.

Towards the wedding day, as the weeks pass and the big day gets closer, you may be focusing a lot on the actual wedding ceremony. Where do I stand? What should I say? What if I say the wrong thing? Don’t worry about all that, you will know on the day. 

But, we can help you prepare your vows, and tell you who traditionally goes first, so that everything runs smoothly on your wedding day! 

Does the Bride or Groom say vows first?

Well, during the wedding ceremony, either person can go first. It is your day, and you can decide the order of events. Just make sure that the priest or marriage officiant knows who you want to go first so that they can alter the service, and be on the same page as you.

Most clergy people and officiants are pretty easy going and will let you do your marriage your way. However, if it is a restrictive religion, then they may want to complete the ceremony in a traditional manner, and do it the way it has been done for centuries.

Who traditionally reads vows first?

Although you can choose who reads the vows first, traditionally, it is the groom who normally reads the vows first. Weddings have been around for hundreds of years, and were initially for the exchange of women from one male to another; from the father to the groom.

Marriages were more intended for combining two families for social status, or financial gain rather than love, so the whole process was about presenting the female to the male.

Therefore, the groom would typically say his vows first, as he would be of a higher status than the bride, and the head of the house. Men at this time were the leads of their households, society, tribes and clans.

Women on the other hand were not seen as equals, and were considered to be the possessions of males. This is largely why the groom would be expected to say his vows first.

Nowadays, people marry for love, and women are far more equal to men than ever before. Therefore, either the bride or groom can choose to say their vows first, irrespective of traditions.

In addition to this, nowadays, marriages are far less restrictive, with same sex marriages, and people of all genders or sexuality can get married! So, you can decide yourself who can go first.

How to decide who goes first

In the modern day, we live in a more gender neutral society, and the wedding ceremony now reflects this rather than exchanging property. Therefore, you can change the traditional order of the marriage ceremony. You can recite your vows in any order you see fit.

So, how do you decide who goes first? Well, for many heterosexual couples, who want a traditional wedding, the groom still goes first. However, this could be down to culture or familiar expectations.

If getting married in a church, or as part of a religion specific ceremony, then the order of the vows may not be altered. If that is the case, then just go with the traditional order of events. 

Other couples may have a different dynamic, and one person may really want to go first, or vice versa! See what works best for you as a couple, and work it out between you! It’s best not to force someone to go first if they are not comfortable, the decision should be mutual and made with respect. 

If you really cannot decide, then you could just let fate decide for you! Why not flip a coin and see who wins. Roll a dice, play rock paper scissors and see what happens. This can make the decision a fun one rather than a daunting one! 

Finally, if you both want the other to go first, and just cannot make your minds up, then say your vows together! If you have not prepared different vows for each other, then just do the I do, or the Repeat After Me vows as instructed by your officiant. Problem solved! 

Top tips for wedding vows

If you do decide to write your own vows, then you should keep a few of these tips in mind. For instance, it can be wonderful to include some personal stories, or funny anecdotes. This can put your partner at ease, and let them know how much you love and adore them. 

You can also use some romantic language, or include some cute sayings or inside jokes that you have together!

However, sweet saying and gushy sweet nothings are not for everyone, so leave out the over the top romance, and don’t make it too cringey. Just let your partner know that they mean the world to you, and how excited you are to live the rest of your lives together. 

Finally, it is always a good idea to add a little bit of humor. This is perfect for lightening the tone, and making it a bit more lighthearted than nerve wracking. Include some funny moments from your relationship, or unforgettable laughs and jokes that you have shared together.

Not only will this make your partner happy, but can make it more fun for the guests, and make the whole day that little bit more memorable!