Saying Personal Vows in Marriage Ceremony

We are a recently engaged couple residing in Tanzania. As we begin preparations for our wedding, we were wondering if is it permissible to say our own vows during a wedding ceremony under Tanzanian law?
D&E, Dar es Salaam

Matters of marriage are governed by the Law of Marriage Act [CAP.29 R.E. 2019] (LMA). The LMA provides the manner of contracting marriages which also includes the marriage/wedding ceremony.  Section 25 of the LMA states that marriage may be contracted in Tanzania in a civil form; where both parties belong to a specified religion according to the rites of that religion; in Islamic form; or according to customary rites in case both parties belong to a community or communities which follow customary law.

In that regard, saying personal vows depends on the manner in which the marriage is contracted. For religious weddings, the rules surrounding personal vows may vary depending on the specific religious traditions. Some religions may strongly encourage or even mandate the recital of traditional religious vows while others may allow couples to incorporate their personal vows. For civil marriages, couples may choose to say their own vows during the wedding ceremony after the official portion of the ceremony.

According to Section 29 of the LMA, marriages in civil form may be contracted in the following manner: (a) the intended husband shall say to the intended wife words to the following effect either in English or Kiswahili— “I (giving his name) take you (giving her name) to be my wife ” and the intended wife shall say to the intended husband words to the following effect either in English or Kiswahili: “I (giving her name) take you (giving his name) to be my husband.” The marriage shall thereupon be complete but the parties shall be at liberty to add any additional rite.

Our answers are based on the details you have provided. However we encourage you to consult with the officiant or religious authority to determine the guidelines and requirements regarding vows for your specific type of wedding. Congratulations and all the best in your upcoming nuptials.