Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grow with me

Torsten and I wrote our wedding ceremony over the weekend. Well, we didn't really write it. It is not comprised of original content. It's comprised of a hodgepodge of elements from the packet our officiant gave us, as well as a few things found online. It's a secular ceremony, and I think it's beautiful. I feel very, very happy and comfortable with the finished product.

The packet also included a suggested outline of ceremony elements, including many that we are not going to include. Most of those were obvious exclusions for us (elements designed to include the couple's children, for example, as well as prayers), but there was one in particular that we were both torn about, and wound up deciding not to include: the affirmation of the bride and groom. This is the part where the officiant says something along the lines of, "Who presents this woman to be married to this man?" and the father of the bride says something like, "Her mother and I do."

I definitely did not feel comfortable with that, but at first we thought maybe we could find a version of the statement that was designed to make the family and friends feel included in the ceremony, rather than implying that the bride was a material good being handed from one owner to another. Torsten and I went through all the options in the book, including several that were much more about equality and inclusion, like the one that asks the families of the bride AND the groom to pledge their ongoing love and support to the couple. But nothing felt right. The whole thing felt strange. So we decided to scrap it, especially given that we have other stuff in the ceremony about the importance of family and friends in our relationship.

We had also thought about writing our own vows, which is something that Torsten was more a proponent of than I was. For me, the thing about the vows is that the traditional, timeless ones really say it all. I want to be up there, saying the words that millions and millions of loving couples have said before us, the ones that encompass everything that we want to promise to each other in a few short phrases. I want to promise that I will love Torsten in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. And after discussion, he felt the same way. So we went with those.

But we also added a part before the vows where we speak to each other with words that we've written, words that the other one won't hear or read until the ceremony. We haven't written those words yet, but when we do, we will each send our piece to our officiant to compare to make sure they fit with each other and with the ceremony. That way the ceremony is personalized and emotional and about us, but it still allows for the traditional vows.

And we did make one tweak to the opening part of the vows, not the "to have and to hold" part, but the part before that where we answer "I do." The text called for something about "to honor and to keep him/her," and both of us prickled a bit at the word "keep." But then we realized that this was the perfect place to include the one thing that we felt is lacking from the traditional vows--the idea of growing together. So we replaced "keep" with "grow with."

Because that's a major thing in a marriage--the recognition that we are young, and that while our core personalities are set, we as people will continue to change and evolve over the course of our lives and our marriage. And that's okay. That's something we understand, and embrace, and look forward to. Because that's something we'll do together. We will grow as people, individually, and we will cherish and nurture that growth in the other. That's a big part of what marriage is about. So I'm glad it will be reflected in our vows.

39 comments:

Jessica said...

Replacing "keep" with "grow with" is an absolutely wonderful idea. The last paragraph of your post is something that all couples should read and understand!

playintherain said...

that sounds like it is going to be very beautiful. personal, yet traditional.

ccr in MA said...

Wow, well done! You guys are such a good match (if you don't mind my saying so). And young may be true, but certainly not immature. A good weekend accomplishment!

pessimisticredhead said...

Wowzers. That is so exciting! I bet it's really unique and beautiful, just like the bride.

lspoon said...

At my wedding the affirmation was asked 3 times. Once of me and my husband, once of my family, and once of the congregation. All in succession. When my husband was asked his response instead of "I do" was "Absolutely" :)

Ashley D said...

Beautiful! I love the idea of growing together.

Laurel said...

Aww. I can't wait to be there and hear it! I will cry, you can almost count on that.

fairydogmother said...

I love the adaptation that you made to the vows. I think you found a much lovelier way of expressing the sentiment that that section of the vows is getting at already, but "keep" is kind of clunky and awkward (even to the ear, I think) and it makes that portion of the traditional vows fall short. Your ceremony sounds so beautiful!

Nic said...

I really like the change to "grow with". I don't know that there's any substitution for the giving away of the bride other than eliminating it. (I once had a bride who freaked at the last minute about being given away and wanted to appear strong and independent so as she was waiting with her parents to walk down the aisle she demanded that the walk behind her instead. Since they had rehearsed walking together and up until that moment planned on it, her parents walked down the aisle behind her looking STUNNED. It was so incredibly awkward.)

I think the traditional vows are perfect because they really do sum the whole thing up quite well. I LOVE when the bride and groom talk to each other. I have friends who recently did that and it was really lovely. They didn't write their own statements, they took a a reading from somewhere and altered it. It was very similar to this: "I will take you in my arms when you need to be held. I will listen when you need to talk. I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sadness. I will love you for who you are, and help you to become all that you can be. I will age gracefully with you/grow old with you." It was such a sweet and tender moment. I saw another couple do the hand ceremony but the minister wasn't involved in it so they repeated the words to each other. Obviously brides and grooms speaking to each other in love gets me all sappy and dorky.

cady said...

i love the "grow with" part you added to the vows. i think your wedding is going to be a wonderful mix of traditional and personal.

Smilf said...

I love your idea about "grow with". I think that is extremely appropriate as well as romantic! :)

Non Sequitur Chica said...

The "grow with" addition is a great idea.

Is your officiant a religious figure at all or more like a judge? My boyfriend and I are not religious at all and I have always wondered what our ceremony would be like because I don't think that we would have a minister. Actually, we have a friend that got ordained over the internet so it might be fun to have him do our ceremony!

maggie said...

Your post reminded me of all the people who were shocked- shocked!- that Phillip didn't ask my dad if he could marry me. "Just a formality!" "It's sweet!" "Didn't you WANT that?" And while we are religious and traditional and did the whole Catholic Mass thing, NO WAY did I want him ASKING MY DAD. Ugh. Also, we both walked down the aisle with our parents and our parents "gave" us both away.

d e v a n said...

Sounds nice. :)

Erin said...

Oooh. I like that a lot. It sounds perfect that way, and it's honest & real.

d e v a n said...

Also, D asked my parents for my "hand" so to speak, and I appreciated it. I thought it was nice.
And my Dad "gave me away" and it was actually one of the sweetest parts of the ceremony - I still remember the tears in his eyes. It was a special moment for me.
All of your posts are making me remember my own wedding!

the cubicle's backporch said...

I like the 'grow with' idea too. But all those decisions would drive me mad!!

-R- said...

I am glad you figured out ways to make the ceremony exactly the way you want it!

Nilsa S. said...

I love this post. Again. You summarize how I feel brilliantly. And you give me good fodder to discuss with Sweets. We have an appointment with his minister in a couple weeks. And I'm trying to make an appointment with my Rabbi. So, we're getting started with this soon. Very soon.

Christina said...

Your day is going to be so special!

Sandy said...

All I ever get out of your wedding posts is how absolutely and completely on the same page you and Torsten are.
I love this :)
I'm so happy for you guys, and I think you came up with a great substitution, while still keeping it traditional.

Fine For Now said...

That's beautiful, what a great idea to change it to 'grow'. Love it!

Alice said...

i love what you've done here... because while i adore traditional weddings, there are definitely some parts that always rub me the wrong way. basically all the parts that harken back to the days when women were traded away in marriage and had to honor men. :-) so replacing "keep" with "grow with" i REALLY REALLY like. awesome mod :-)

Pickles and Dimes said...

So perfect! I love that you guys are taking bits and pieces and combining them to make your ceremony YOU.

Katelin said...

aw sounds lovely. i can only imagine how difficult writing the ceremony and vows and everything must be. but sounds like you guys have it set beautifully. woo!

Vanessa said...

It's amazing how changing a few words really conveys a much deeper, lasting meaning. Beautifully done.

Katie said...

Sounds like it will end up being a perfect fit for you. Congrats!

Julie said...

I really like that personl touch within the traditional. Nice.

SLynnRo said...

I AGONIZED over writing the ceremony. Congrats on getting that done.

Christine said...

Jess, everything sounds like it is coming along wonderfully! It sounds like you're on your way to a really fantastic wedding!

If I weren't so wedding-ed out I would totally try to get an invite. ;)

Maxie said...

I really like how you are personalizing everything-- it will make it memorable for you guys and the people who share the day with you.

getdone said...

awww jess, replacing "keep" with "grow with" is such an awesome idea. i also think that it is great that you are keeping some elements of your vows traditional.

ms. mindless said...

you rock. this post reaffirmed why you are one of my fave bloggers!

heidikins said...

This is so sweet, I love it.

xox

Alex said...

Everything sounds like it's going to be just beautiful and amazing.

Penny said...

Oooh, I like that word replacement. We didn't have any mention of "keeps" in our vows either, that seems to hark back to the days of women-as-property or something.

bren j. said...

There's such a timeless beauty in those 'traditional' vows....we're still looking forward to the "for richer" part. ;)

Lexiloo said...

sounds so lovely! I'm not sure that I'd want to write my own vows...maybe just add something to the traditionals?

nicoleantoinette said...

Your wedding is going to be so beautiful!