Wedding Vows That Wow Focus on Couple’s Unity
Why would a couple want to customize their wedding vows with so many other considerations needing attention as they move toward their special day? Isn’t it enough to plan the reception, purchase the dress, and orchestrate their cast of friends and relatives as a bridal party? After all, the vows spoken in traditional religious institutions carry little – if any – flexibility in how the ceremony is expressed. And some find this pre-planned arrangement to be satisfying. One less thing to consider and all.
Indeed, that was the case with my then-fiance as he and I prepared for our wedding in 1986. I was a Roman Catholic marrying a Dutch Reformed Protestant. We learned early in our marriage preparation meetings with the monsignor that we would have a ceremony and not a wedding mass. Why? Both parties were not Catholic. To serve communion to only half of the guests would show a strong division of our marriage from the day it was consecrated. This we understood and agreed about with the monsignor. At the time he was the head of the annulment board of the diocese where we took our vows. He knew a thing or two about preserving marriage. Moreover, he knew how to keep it from fraying on Day 1 by reviewing the unraveling of others’ vows. We were allowed to choose from a few options of the readings from the bible, but were limited in our music selections. The secular music had to be restrained to the pre-ceremonial portion of the afternoon’s events. Only sacred music found inside of the hymnal could be chosen for the ceremony. In the end, everything went as planned. And while some of my elderly relatives were unenthusiastic about the lack of eucharist, everyone seemed to be happy for our nuptial.
Fast-forward 29 years. We attended the wedding of our youngest daughter’s best friend from grade school. Our daughter was one of the bridesmaids. The ceremony was set in a campus chapel at a public university. A marriage official used customized vows, which included references to her Catholic upbringing and to his own spirituality. They were woven together with readings from such works as Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet”. The recessional hymn was a throw back to their parent’s generation with Queen’s “Your My Best Friend”. And as I sat their I came to understand the power of personalized wedding vows. They captured the essence of the relationship between these two young adults and diffused their happiness among us all.
In five months my husband and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage on a long-awaited trip to Belize. And perhaps part of the festivities of celebrating the journey we started in ’86 will include custom wedding vows of our own. Read on a silky Caribbean beach. At sunset instead of noon. And maybe, just maybe, there will be an IPod docked nearby playing a song from Queen.
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