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'We do' vs 'I do' - A Modern Twist on the Declaration of Intent and Joint Wedding Vows

Published Tuesday, Nov. 9th, 2021

Not sure if 'We do' or 'I do' vows will work best for your ceremony? We can help!  



“Do you, Jada, take William to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death parts you?”


“I do.” 


The lines above probably sound very familiar. They’ve been repeated in countless wedding ceremonies over the years, without much changing except for the names. 


But as an increasing number of couples feel empowered to put their own creative spin on their wedding ceremony, these traditional ‘I do’s are frequently being replaced with a modern, shared ‘We do.’ 


It usually goes something like this: 



“Do you, Jada and Willam, take each other in loving partnership, to share the burdens and joys of life as equals, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, from this day forward and as long as you both live?


Jada and William: 
“We do.”


Feel the difference? 

Do you like the impact on the shared response, or do you miss the independence of answering alone? This simple shift in language and format can easily change the overall tone of a ceremony, and the effect may or may not be what you’re looking for. 


This is why great wedding officiants, including those ordained online with AMM, spend so much of their time carefully revising and editing their wedding scripts, and pay so much attention to vibe and flow during the ceremony!


Small changes can make a big difference.


To help you decide whether a traditional set of ‘I do’s or a modern ‘We do’ will work best for your ceremony, we'll look at the role and benefits of each approach, and why some couples are trying something new. 



A man and woman exchange marriage vows during a wedding ceremony inside a church



Why we say “I do” at weddings


The ‘I do’ part of the wedding ceremony is referred to as the ‘Declaration of Intent,’ and it's very important. It’s the verbal representation of signing a marriage license and is legally required in some states, such as California. 


Through this meaningful public declaration, a couple confirms to the wedding officiant and their guests that they know what they’re doing, and are entering into the marriage willingly.


In some ceremonies, this declaration also serves as a simple but elegant approach to the wedding vows. 


Traditional 'I do' wedding vows take the pressure off a couple by limiting the number of lines they have to say and remember. This makes them a perfect choice for nervous couples and short sign-and-go ceremonies (when a wedding officiant signs a marriage license without performing a full ceremony), as well as couples who want a traditional ceremony experience.  


It's straightforward and sweet approach. We love the classics! 




“We do” -- a modern twist on tradition


The ‘We do’ approach puts a modern, romantic spin on things while still covering all the legal bases as a Declaration of Intent. That’s why so many modern couples choose these vows! 


As you likely noticed in the example above, answering in unison instead of one at a time creates a sense of intimacy, equality, and partnership during the ceremony. It shows everyone present that you’re completely in sync. 


It symbolizes that neither of you will come before the other in your marriage. 


And it shows that you’re stepping into marriage as a team. Two people, with two distinct voices, starting on a shared path together as you accept the profound bond of marriage.


You and your guests will feel all of this positive energy as you exclaim, “We do!” 




A young man and woman stand facing each other dressed in wedding clothes. The man lifts the woman's white veil as they smile at each other




A few of our favorite ‘We do’ vow examples

Short and sweet 


“Do you, Elena and Marco, promise to honor and cherish each other as wife and husband, to support each other through good times and bad, and to remain faithful friends and lovers from this day forward, for as long as you live?"


Elena and Marco:
“We do!”



We are and we do


“Kendra and Ona, you’re here today to pledge your commitment and lasting love to each other in marriage. Are you both here freely, of your own heart and mind?” 


Kendra and Ona: 
“We are.” 


“Do you promise to treat each other with kindness and respect, no matter what difficulties and challenges arise?”


Kendra and Ona: 
“We do.” 


“Do you promise to love and support each other with every new success and discovery, as you continue to grow and explore the world as partners and as individuals?”


Kendra and Ona: 
“We do.”


“And do you promise to provide for each other as wife and wife, sharing the daily responsibilities of a happy home, as constant companions for as long as you both live?” 


Kendra and Ona: 
“We do!” 


A group effort


Note: Here, a fantastic alternative to ‘giving away the bride’ or groom leads right into a couple’s joint vows. This example contains religious wording, but can be easily modified for a non religious secular or humanist ceremony. 



Officiant (to the reception): 
“Who here supports these two people as they enter into the covenant of Holy Matrimony?” 


“We do!” 


Officiant (to the couple): 
“Tom and Camile, with this support of your friends and family, and in the loving presence of God, do you take each other as lawful husband and wife, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and honor each other from this day forward, in this world and the next?”


Tom and Camile: 
“We do!”



Need more help writing your own vows? 


See all our articles tagged for Vows. 



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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