Who Should Say “I Do” First?

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who says i do first

According to tradition, the groom typically recites the wedding vows first, followed by the bride. This also applies to the exchange of “I do” at the conclusion of the ceremony.

This is one of the most standard ways in which to proceed with the wedding ceremony and most ceremonies usually follow this tradition while the officiant leads the bride and groom through the motions.

This does not always need to be the case, however, and tradition need not dictate whether the groom or bride says “I do” first. If the couple wants a ceremony that is somewhat less traditional then they should talk to their registrar or celebrant in advance to arrange this.

An example of doing something less traditional would be for the bride and groom to say their vows together in unison.

Alright, so let’s put some things into perspective, The Declaration of Consent traditionally known as the part where the groom and bride say “I do” is a legal agreement given by both parties to enter into marriage together.

The difference between the wedding vows and the declaration is that the vows are made of promises that the bride and groom make to each other. The declaration, however, is a legal requirement and is needed to officially pronounce that the bride and groom have legally been married.

A couple can, however, say the declaration of consent in unison in front of their registrar facing each other and joining their hands together.

Here is an example of what a registrar would say before the couple says “We do” in unison:

“Having acknowledged the deep value of marriage, and recognizing marriage as the convergence of your individual and joint destinies as well as the greatest support for them, do you both choose to marry, to speak the words that will bind you as husband and wife, allowing you to become most fully yourself in each other’s presence for the rest of your days?” (source)

“We do.”

The Ring Exchange

The groom is usually the first one to put the ring on the bride’s finger. This will happen just after the saying of the vows. Couples can write personalized vows or if they are having a more religious ceremony will follow the traditions that go with this type of wedding.

This being said, if the bride would like to say her vows before the groom and then put the ring on the groom’s finger first then this is totally acceptable, and you can speak to your officiant about the changes that you would like to make to the reading of the vows as well as the ring exchange.

The Timeline: What Comes First?

1. The Vows

When it comes to the vows at a wedding ceremony there are three methods that the bride and groom can choose from. They can say their own vows, repeat their vows after the officiant, or simply say I do every time the officiant asks a question.

2. The Ring Exchange

The ring exchange is a symbol of the bride and groom’s everlasting love and devotion to each other and is used to seal and solidify the bride and groom’s vows to each other.

The ring exchange takes place after the bride and groom have read or repeated their wedding vows in front of their officiant.

Once the rings have been placed on both the bride and groom’s fingers then the wedding pronouncement is officially made.

A typical example of this is “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Take Away

Whichever way the bride and groom decide to conduct their wedding ceremony is up to them and they can do what suits them best as a couple. The only thing to take note of is that the declaration of consent has to be said, whether it be by the bride or groom or in unison.