There are few speeches that hold as much weight as the wedding vow. Whether drafted and redrafted at length in the weeks leading up to the big day, or drawn up impromptu on the spot, wedding vows are meant to be a celebration of what makes a couple uniquely them, while also, inevitably, speaking to grand themes of love, commitment, and companionship.
Historically, wedding vows have been an integral part of the ceremony as far back as the Roman Empire, while the oldest traditional wedding vows — the familiar promise to “love and cherish until death do us part” can be traced back to the manuals of the medieval church. Today, couples often take the opportunity to praise their partner, speak to the difficulties and joys they have gone through together, and even give little anecdotes about their lives and loved ones. What hasn’t changed, however, is the significance of those promises, and the tendency for the vows to make not just the couple, but the attendees, a bit misty-eyed. These six wedding vows from TV and movies pull on our heart strings time and again: Read ‘em and (prepare to) weep.
MONICA AND CHANDLER IN FRIENDS
For so long I wondered if I would ever find my prince, my soulmate. Then three years ago, at another wedding, I turned to a friend for comfort. And instead, I found everything that I’d ever been looking for my whole life. And now here we are, with our future before us, and I only want to spend it with you, my prince, my soulmate, my friend. Unless you don’t want to. You go!
— Monica (Courteney Cox)
I thought this was going to be the most difficult thing I ever had to do. But when I saw you walking down the aisle, I realized how simple it was. I love you. You are the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.
— Chandler (Matthew Perry)
PRESTON AND CHRISTINA IN GREY’S ANATOMY
Cristina, I could promise to hold you and to cherish you. I could promise to be in sickness and in health. I could say, til death do us part. But I won’t. Those vows are for optimistic couples, the ones full of hope. And I do not stand here, on my wedding day, optimistic or full of hope. I am not optimistic, I am not hopeful, I am sure.
— Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) to Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh)
RACHEL AND SIDNEY IN RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
You are just so full of grace, and I promise before God and these beautiful people that I will love you fiercely and sweetly. And I look forward to sharing this great life with you. Thank you for marrying me.
— Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt)
All that I ever wanted was to just hear music, and when I met you, I heard you. And, Rachel, you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you for marrying me.
— Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe)
TOPANGA AND CORY IN BOY MEETS WORLD
I wasn’t sure this day would ever come, but you were. I wasn’t sure love could survive everything we put it through, but you were. You were always strong and always sure. And now I know I want you to stand beside me for the rest of my life. That’s what I’m sure of.
— Topanga (Danielle Fishel)
Ever since I was young I never really understood anything about the world, and I never understood anything that happened in my life. The only thing that ever made sense to me was you, and how I felt about you. That’s all I’ve ever known, and that’s enough, that’s enough for me, for the rest of my life, Topanga.
— Cory (Ben Savage)
PAIGE AND LEO IN THE VOW
I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.
— Paige (Rachel McAdams)
I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.
— Leo (Channing Tatum)
VANESSA AND FRANKIE IN MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION
I never thought that I could meet someone like you. You are my friend. You are my smile. You are my everything. You are a breathtaking reflection of God’s heart for me … of how he pursued me and loved me even when I didn’t love myself. You held my hand in the darkness, and you pulled me out into the light. I love you.
— Vanessa (Lisa Arrendell)
You are my light. And it doesn’t matter what happens in this life as long as you’re with me. When I look at you, I know that there’s a God, and that he loved me so much that he took the time to create you just for me. I love you… past my mind… beyond my heart… I love you for my soul.
— Frankie (Boris Kodjoe)