Isn’t that what a wedding is all about — connecting with the people you’ve invited? Why use language that is safe, familiar or politically correct but quickly forgotten by both you and your guests?
Here’s what David & Derek say. This moment is, maybe more than any other moment of the day, intimate and heartfelt — there just happen to be a whole bunch of people around. Of course you can choose to leave these words to others, to your faith, to an earlier generation, but do so intentionally. Writing your own vows is not for everyone and it does add to “the list”. This can be, however, an authentically personal exchange that is memorable in part because you took the emotional risk of sharing a part of yourselves with friends and family.
You can scour the internet endlessly for samples and snippets to piece together. A few of my favorite sources are: Offbeat Bride, A Practical Wedding, and the wedding vows section of Pinterest.
Sources of inspiration: music, family, literature, nature, stillness, even video/TV. The last episode of Season 1 of Grace & Frankie included the following lines that were simple and beautiful, written by Robert for Sol:
I love you for who you are and who I am when I am with you.
From this day forth, I freely and joyfully join my life with yours.
Wherever you go, I will go.
Whatever you face, I will face.
I will care for you should you become ill.
I will comfort you would you feel sad.
I will bathe in your joy.
I am yours completely and forever.
I take you as my partner for life, and I will give myself…to no other.
I often am inspired by listening to Terry Gross interviews on Fresh Air. Recently, she interviewed Nadia Bolz-Weber, an awesomely unconventional pastor and founder of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. This interview was one of those National Public Radio “driveway moments” for me. Her perspective and observations resonate. Recent sermons and an excerpt from her book are on her website.
Other things to consider…
1. Check with your officiant.
2. Do you want your vows to match in terms of tone and length?
3. Length is not indicative of importance.
5. Share beforehand?
6. Emotional impact and when is it TMI.
The words you choose will never be perfect, and this is not the point. As Nadia says in her book, Accidental Saints, “Human love is never pure or perfect. We just aren’t that kind of species. There are cracks in everything and even the most shining aspects of our lives — even love, or perhaps especially love — come with imperfection.”
Damn, wish I’d written that.
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