Where did the traditional wedding vows come from?
That’s a good question. I would have thought the vows came out of the Bible. But, after a lengthy search I find the vows themselves do not stem from religious beliefs. See the article on ChannelOklahoma.com entitled The Wedding Planner. In particular see the sections: Wedding History, “Let’s Tie the Knot” and Handfasting.
The ceremonial marriage vows are the product of a very long evolution and mixing of cultural heritages. This culminated in the Church of England, which continues to this day to maintain the vows which most people in modern America would likely identify with as being the “traditional” wedding vows. From the 15th Century “York Manual”: The man says: I take the N. to my wedded wyf, to have and to holde, fro this day forwarde, for bettere for wors, for richere for pourer [one manuscript adds ‘for fayrere for fowlere’], in sycknesse and in hele, tyl dethe us depart, if holy chyrche it woll ordeyne, and therto y plight the my trouthe. And the woman promises: I take the N to my wedded housbonde, to have and to holde, fro this day forwarde, for better for wors, for richer for pourer, in syckness and in hele, to be bonere and boxsom* , in bedde and atte bord, tyll dethe us departe, if holy chyrche it wol ordeyne, and therto I plight the my trouthe. The above is already highly remeniscent of the