“And will you be writing your own vows?” the wedding officiant asked.
“Yes,” Michael said, immediately and definitively.
I looked over at him. “We are?”
Hmph. News to me. It’s not that I didn’t want to write them. Or did want to write them. Honestly, whether or not to do so had not yet crossed my mind.
A few days later, I asked Michael about it. “You’re the writer in the family,” he reminded me. No matter how many times I try to explain to Michael about the different types of writers, it never sticks. Copy writers. Travel Writers. Novel Writers. I am none of those (yet). Blog writer. Yes. That I am. I write stories. Not promises.
A few days before the wedding, I learned Michael had finished writing his vows. Which meant I should probably get started. So I did what any modern bride does: I googled, “How to write wedding vows.” I can’t imagine getting married pre-Google.
That night, I said to Michael, “So we don’t really write our own vows. We just google them, and copy what we like, right?”
“And personalize it,” he responded. Crap. “Some humor, some seriousness, a few promises . . . ”
The next night I said to Michael, “We should probably hear each other’s vows before the wedding.”
“We can’t do that! It’s supposed to be a surprise!”
“But what if I only have four lines written and you have four hundred?” I asked.
“You’re not going to have just four lines.” Silence. Waiting. “How about this,” he offered. “I’ll tell you how many words I have.”
“Oh, good. That’ll help.”
“You’ve written them, right?” he asked.
“Uh. Well. I’ve copied a bunch of things I like. I just haven’t edited them yet into something good.”
Luckily, on her wedding day, a bride has lots of time to wait. The hairdresser and make up artist both told me they’d arrive at 11. “For a 5:30 wedding?” I asked.
“Well, when does the photographer come?” the hairdresser asked me during my trial appointment.
“So everybody needs to be ready by then. I like to have an hour for each person,” she said. “Just in case they don’t like it, we have time to redo it all. And for your nieces, they’ll take probably thirty minutes each.” I added it up in my head. Yep. She did the math correctly.
So after getting my hair and make up done, and eating lunch, I sat on an upholstered chair in the bridal suite, pulled out my computer, and finished revising (395 words to Michael’s 370 — perfect). I handed the computer to my maid-of-honor who read them and cried. Mission accomplished. At 2:39 p.m., I emailed them off to the wedding planner to print. And ultimately, I’m happy we wrote our own vows.
At my dream wedding, I’d have invited every single person I know, and had time to talk to each of them for hours. But, sadly, I’m not an Indian bride (their weddings have thousands of attendees and last for days!). So I was not able to invite all of you. And some of you I invited were unable to come, so I present to you, dear friends, our vows.
If you’d like to hear us saying some of them (which I recommend), my dear friend Tara recorded some of them:
If you’d prefer to read them, Michael went first at the wedding, so here are his, followed by mine:
Rebecca, my darling. For over 4 years now, we have embarked on an incredible journey together. You are my my dream come true.
I look forward to loving the smallest moments, like the treasure that happens when watching you belly laugh to the point where you are out of breath. Or watching you stare at the wall when you first wake up. And I know it’s not quite staring at a wall (it’s just you thinking about the upcoming day), but oh does it make me smile.
Let’s make bad choices, eat the wrong things, take wrong turns, and then let’s tell great stories, the same ones-for ever and ever until no one can stand us but each other.
I promise that when you wake up in the morning, I will continue to show interest in hearing about your dreams, as mundane as they sometimes are.
I promise that I will join you on a Camino walk and share in one of your passions and to be there to help support your own dreams.
I promise to hold you when holding is needed. Not talking or giving advice, just holding. Because sometimes you just need to be held.
I promise to have food available for you on short and long trips as it is quite a sight to see the hangry that appears. I must admit though this is mainly for selfish reasons.
I promise to be there for you, to help support you in times of need and to laugh with you, belly laugh, silly little laughs, and all types of shared laughter. I truly believe that our collective smiles and laughter will bring us through many uncertain or trying times.
However much you love me, I love you more.
I am so excited that you entered my life over 4 years ago and that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. Our journey began a short time ago and my only regret is that it didn’t start sooner.
And with that my darling, let’s us move towards our next stage and continue to laugh and love together. I’m beyond joy with what lies ahead. I love you.
My dearest Michael —
I’ve heard that the things you love most about your partner are the things will drive you crazy in later years. So, in front of all these witnesses, I thought I’d say a few of the many things I love about you, so these wonderful people can remind me of them later in life.
Michael — I love that you are happy from the moment you wake up in the morning til the moment you go to sleep. I love that you make me laugh. A lot. With you. At you. At myself.
I love how you watch 58 YouTube videos before you take on any task that’s new to you.
I love that when I start to get angry about something you pull me into a hug and push my face into your chest, so that you can’t hear my protesting, and you won’t let me go til I’m laughing.
I love how, when we disagree about the small stuff, you quickly come over to my side — not necessarily because I’m right, but because it really is small stuff. And then I realize how much of that stuff doesn’t matter.
But I also love all the small stuff that you do that makes such a difference. Like when I come home to find you’ve unloaded the dishwasher, folded my laundry, or cleaned the kitchen. Or done all of the above.
So for these things, and all the other things I love about you,
Today, surrounded by people who love us
I, Rebecca, choose you, Michael,
to be no one other than yourself.
Loving what I know of you,
trusting what things I will discover,
I marry you with no hesitation or doubt.
I love you not only for who you are,
but for who I am when I’m with you.
I promise to choose you every day, to love you in word and deed,
To laugh with you, cry with you, grow with you, and create with you,
even as time and life change us both.
I promise to love you, support you, respect you, and above all else, make sure I’m not just yelling at you because I’m hungry.
I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.
(thanks to George Urciuoli for this pic!)