Monday—Honest Wedding Vows

I do...


From Cliff's mouth to my ears.  

The only thing that I remember about my wedding vows was the last word...forever.  And, they weren't even my wedding vows.  I didn't write them.  The judge showed up and read them from a little notebook.  But, I—Miss Don't-Sign-Anything-Until-I've Read it—mindlessly agreed to everything that came before the word, FOREVER.  Love is blind, especially when it comes to wedding vows.

So, let's get to it. 

my wedding cover (a PS lesson)

Wedding Statistics 
  • According to the latest stats from the CDC, there are over 2.1 million marriages in the U.S. every year.  That's 6.8 per 1,000  total population (2000-2012).  

From a 2014 survey of 13,000 brides by the media & technology group, xo group:  

  • Average wedding cost = $29,858 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most expensive place to get married:  Manhattan ($89,916 average cost)
  • Least expensive place to get married:  Idaho ($16,159 average cost)
  • Average spent on a wedding dress = $1,281
  • Average marrying age = bride (29), groom (31)
  • Average number of guests = 138
  • Most popular month to get married:  June & September (15 percent each)

Good Vows, Bad Vows

Avoid insufferably cute.  Avoid funny.  Attempts at humor usually come off as awkward and tense.  Do not include the parents.  Seriously, give them a break.  They just want to watch their son or daughter get married.  

Avoid long, drawn-out speeches, especially about how your love exceeds the other 2.1 million couples who will also be married this year.  Your guests are basically held hostage until the ceremony ends and everyone heads over to the reception where they can celebrate with the happy couple.  

Keep it simple and honest.  

Quaker wedding vows:

In the presence of God and these our friends, I take thee, ______, to be my husband /wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto thee, a loving and faithful wife/ husband so long as we both shall live.     
Humanist wedding vows:

I, ______, choose you, ______, to be my wife/ husband.  I will respect you, care for you and grow with you, through good times and hard times, as your friend, companion and partner, giving the best that I can to fulfill our lives together. 

Traditional wedding vows:

I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wedded wife/ husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health; to love, cherish and honor as long as we both shall live.

Apache wedding vows:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.  

Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.

May happiness be our companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Hindu wedding vows (Seven Steps):

The bride and the groom make this promise to each other:

1.  Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.

2.  Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.

3.  Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use.

4.  Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust.

5.  Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.

6.  Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.

7.  Let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock. 

Avoid these cringeworthy words:  
  • lover
  • worthy of your love
  • I will try to...(#1 BS vow of all time)
  • patience that love demands
  • obey (#1 groanworthy)
  • best day of my life (that one tends to come back & bite you in the ass)
  • mischief
  • comrade
  • ally
  • equal in all things
  • acknowledging and accepting your faults, as you do mine
  • walk with you, hand in hand...(cue the 70s music)
  • my whole heart
  • priority
  • best friend
  • playmate
  • soulmate
  • sidekick
  • buddy
  • any sports team
  • can't believe my luck
  • laugh and cry with you
  • love you all the more for your failures
  • life's adventure
  • you are my light
  • you are my sanctuary of warmth and peace
  • share in silence
  • perfect love, perfect trust (marriage is far from perfect)
  • not possessing you, but working with you
  • shining soul
  • You are my person
  • You are my sweet sweet baby
  • communicate (the hardest of all wedding vows)
  • one lifetime with you could never be enough

Wedding Vow Etiquette & Good Style
  • 1 to 2 minutes max.  Why, you gasp?!  Because it's boring, that's why, and your guests don't want to hear you recite the three volumes of Artamène.  Keep it short.
  • Practice saying your vows out loud.  Stand up straight, look at your fiancé, and take his/ her hands in yours.  I've seen grown men break out in a flop sweat trying to stammer through their vows, so practice saying them before the ceremony.  Taking wedding vows is like the scariest shit ever.  Well, I shouldn't say that...okay, pretend I didn't say that.  No, it is.  I take it all back.  Seriously, practice.
  • Have a legible cheat sheet in your pocket, in case you forget who you are or why you're listening to Rowan Atkinson deliver the Holy Goat marriage ceremony.

  May you rest in peace.

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