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who says I do first

Who Reads Their Vows First During a Wedding Ceremony?

There are so many important things to keep in mind when planning a wedding, from the dress, to the music, to the cake. However, the most important aspect sometimes gets overlooked by people– the ceremony where you actually get married!

Writing a ceremony script can be a difficult or scary undertaking– how much should we share about our relationship? Who should our officiant be? What order do things go in?– but try to relax. These are all valid questions, and there are few hard-set answers for them. However, in this article, we’re going to help you figure out who reads their wedding vows and says “I do!” first.

So, Who Says “I Do” First?

The groom traditionally says “I do” first, and reads his vows first. Ultimately, however, it is up to you who reads their vows first. Read on to learn more about the traditional ceremony order, modern alternatives, and more!


Traditional Ceremony Scripts

wedding ceremony

There are several elements to a traditional wedding ceremony. The officiant gives a small speech or welcome to the people attending, there are readings by family and friends, the vows, the declaration of intent and exchange of wedding rings, and then the bride and groom kiss and go on their way with their marriage. For more detail, you can see this schedule.

However, these summaries don’t give a very specific view into what you’re actually supposed to say and do! If you really want to stick to tradition, stay on the search for templates and scripts that other people have used, and keep reading for a more detailed breakdown of the vow exchange.


Unconventional Ceremony Scripts

wedding ceremony

Obviously not everyone wants to do the same ceremony as everyone else, or certain aspects of a traditional ceremony may not seem applicable to every couple. And that’s totally okay! It’s important that you do whatever you’d like to do for your marriage ceremony.

You may take pieces out of the typical ceremony list, or you may add in your own things, like extra readings or a unique unity ritual.

As we get more into the logistics of the wedding vows, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s your wedding and you can do whatever you’d like with it! There aren’t any rules that must be followed.


Order of Wedding Vows

wedding ceremony length

Long story short, the groom typically says his wedding vows first in the vow exchange. As is customary, the officiant will give him the floor to speak his piece before giving it to the bride. It’s a custom that’s carried over from older times in which the husband was more of a focus.

As I said, no rules for your wedding ceremony are necessary, and you should feel free to do whatever you want with your vows, especially in more modern times.

If you read further, we’ll get into the reasons for the traditional order, how to change it, and any other questions about writing and planning your marriage vows that people tend to have.


Groom’s Vows

writing on paper

As stated above, the groom says his wedding vows first most times. This is an old-fashioned tradition that has made its way into standard wedding etiquette. As a result, most traditional or religious vows are written with the groom’s vows first, and your officiant will likely lead the ceremony with that in mind.

However, there are other reasons to keep the groom’s vows first other than tradition. Even if you don’t particularly care for tradition, it is technically etiquette. Further, it might be good for the groom to go first if he is especially nervous about speaking. By having the groom go first, it may relieve some nerves.


Bride’s Vows

bride reading wedding vows

The bride generally goes second. For many brides, this may seem great, because they might feel like it puts more attention on them, which is one of the best parts of being a bride. It also is an opportunity to pour your heart out to your partner, and you might want to hear what they say about marriage first.

That being said, there are plenty of reasons why the bride may choose to go second. Based on what you write, it might make the most sense for the bride to speak first. Further, she may be more nervous, and going first might help. 


Switching the Order

engagement photo ideas

As stated above, you have every reason to switch the order. If it makes sense for the bride to speak her wedding vows first, she should! Just be sure to tell your officiant and to write the rest of your ceremony script with that in mind.

Some couples will even say their vows in unison, totally eliminating the question or concern of an order. By speaking your vows together, the importance and unity of your commitment is only more prevalent.

But beware– speaking in unison will likely make your vows longer! However, if you have the extra time, it’s a great way to represent the beauty of your new relationship.


Vow Order for Same-Sex Couples

small wedding

You may be wondering– what about same-sex couples? Well, when there’s two brides or two grooms, there’s no expectation, meaning you can do whatever you want! As stated above, anyone can do what they want, but for a bride and groom there is a prescribed etiquette that same-sex couples are free from.

Deciding who goes first may depend on a couple of factors. For one, how do your speeches play off of each other? Is there one that describes an earlier part of your relationship, or one that describes a later one?

It’s also just about who wants to speak first, if one of you is less comfortable with public speaking, going first may help you get it out of the way, or going second may make you more comfortable. It’s all up to you!


Finishing Off the Ceremony

wedding ceremony exit

After you say your vows, you will exchange rings and declare your intent to marry. This also goes in an order, with the groom typically first, but it’s recommended to write it so that it echoes the order of the vows. After that, the officiant will declare you officially wed, and you can kiss and go!

There are nice things you can do to remember your vows forever. You can get them printed as an art piece to hang in your home, or you can frame them handwritten.

You will also likely have a wedding video that shows the entire ceremony. No matter what you say or what order you say them in, the vows will surely be something you remember forever, as will your friends and family.


More About Wedding Ceremonies

Here at Yeah Weddings, we’re here to walk you through every part of your ceremony. From the length of a ceremony, to the order of a wedding processional, we’re here to help you have a magical ceremony.

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Katie Sheets

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