Celtic Wedding Vows

Examples of traditional Celtic wedding vows to incorporate into your wedding ceremony.

celtic cross
Some couples may choose to go beyond Irish heritage in their exchange of vows and explore that of the Celts, a distinct ethnic group which across Ireland and Scotland is steeped in rich tradition all its own. Here is a sampling of traditional Celtic wedding vows for your Celtic wedding.

Traditional Celtic Wedding Vows

"I vow to you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine, from this day on it shall be only your name I cry out in the night and into your eyes that I smile each morning; I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine, no shall a grievous word be spoken about us, for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance. Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life and into the next."

"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done."

"You cannot possess me for I belong to myself But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give. You cannot command me for I am a free person But I shall serve you in those ways you require And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand."

The Ceremony of Handfasting

Handfasting is a type of Celtic wedding ceremony dating back to the middle ages which is often incorporated into the exchange of vows in contemporary Irish weddings. At the time of its origin, small villages in remote areas did not have a local priest or minister to perform official marriages, so the couple would perform a temporary ceremony considered to last a year and a day, sufficient time for a clergy officiant to pass through town.

The hands of the couple are bound together in a tartan cloth or cord during the exchange of Celtic wedding vows to signify that the two are bound in unity. Following the ceremony, the groom often pins the tartan cloth to the bride's shoulder to signify that she is now a member of his family.

Written by: Marial Smith