The marriage vows are truly the heart of any marriage ceremony. They are the high point, the climax of the dramatic arc that is the story of the ceremony. The couples I work with come to the vow section in many different ways. Some are very clear from the start – they want to write and speak their own personal vows. Others are hesitant, worried about their ability to speak such emotional material in front of friends and family. Through the process of working together, and through the process of writing their own reflections on what it means to be getting married, many couples decide that they can do it, and take on the writing and speaking of their own vows as we work together. Others are equally clear from the start – they want something traditional and simple, and they want to be able to say, “I do”, while holding hands with their partner.

In a custom ceremony, anything is possible, and the process of creating the ceremony together is part of the wedding magic. Each couple has the opportunity to talk about what makes sense, what resonates, and what will make both of them  comfortable. Which is why I often remind couples, the wedding vows do not have to match. Each of the partners can be free to approach the vows in a way that suits them, that makes them feel at ease.  Comfort and meaning go hand in hand. Being comfortable at your own wedding ceremony should be high on your wish list, if you ask me!

This photo is from a recent wedding, where the personalized vows were placed in their “marriage box” in the ceremony. Here is a snippet from the introduction to the vows:

“This box contains the words you will speak to each other today. Your vows, which are your heart’s longing, and your mind’s attention. They are the promises that will not be fulfilled this day, but will unfold, day in and day out, as you live fully and deeply into them.

Speak them now, to each other, in our presence.”

Wedding season is fast approaching. I look forward to bearing witness to the many and varied promises that will be spoken this summer.

As Sharon Olds says in a poem called The Wedding Vow,  “Do I bear this pleasure? I do. ”