Bride-to-be Blogger Stephanie: Writing My Vows
So I’ve left one of the difficult tasks for last: my wedding vows. With just over one week to go to the wedding, what the heck was I thinking waiting until the very end to craft the most important words of the day?
As I said in my blog two weeks ago, you would think I’ve been lazily procrastinating. That would be the obvious conclusion based on the last-minute hysteria currently in progress to complete a slew of final to-dos. But I feel like I’ve been unremittingly attending to every single facet of the wedding since the day we got engaged nearly a year and a half ago, and there simply hasn’t been enough time to get everything done—which I acknowledge sounds absurd. But that’s the feeling that’s overwhelming me right now.
One way to look at the vow issue, however, is that regardless of whether I started them yesterday or four months ago, it would still be extremely challenging. But I’ve compounded it with the time element, which takes it to whole new level of anxiety.
While driving home from DC earlier this week, after making settlement on our first-ever house and moving in (extremely exciting but similarly, what the heck were we thinking combining these incredibly significant, life-changing events all at one time?!), the panic really started to set in. I’ve of course been thinking about my vows, but hadn’t yet put anything down on paper; and the fact that we’re only a little more than a week away from the ceremony in which I will say them hit me with a vengeance on that car ride home.
So after taking a few deep breaths, I began the research. I started with looking at sample vows for inspiration, and perused several, very helpful articles with question prompts. (This one in particular got the creative juices starting to flow.)
I next began my mission to collect inspiration from other sources. I actually went to my Instagram and Facebook pages to look at photos to remind me of certain events and the things we’ve done together over the last decade-plus. Surprisingly, it was effective in helping me flesh out some of my favorite traits of Pat, answer the question of what makes our relationship work, and determine what I’m most looking forward to in our marriage.
But what proved to be the most advantageous and the most fun was looking through a box of letters I keep beside my bed. I’ve kept every letter and card Pat has ever given to me over the last 12 years.
In the early stages of our relationship, when we were too painfully shy to talk to each other in the 7th grade, letters became our form of communication. While we couldn’t get up the courage to even say hi to each other in the hallway and I blushed uncontrollably when within 10 feet of him, we exchanged gifts on our birthdays and holidays—and with them came a letter, a portal into us. It’s how we came to know each other and ultimately, fall in love—and it’s what I think truly propelled our relationship from merely “I like you, you like me, let’s agree to be boyfriend and girlfriend,” to something much, much deeper.
It was remarkable to see the evolution in the letters and to literally experience us growing up on paper. By the end of high school, the letters had gotten longer and were teeming with a noticeable intensity. Like had grown to love. And by the end of our first year in college, the idea and dream of marriage started to come into play.
To think back to that time and the moment when I started hoping and dreaming of Pat as my husband, and to now think that that dream will come to life in just a week incites an overwhelming, all-consuming, tear-inducing joy that is so unbelievably difficult to articulate.
And therein lies the challenge with my vows: how to accurately and effectively express such profound, immense emotions. I’m majorly feeling the pressure. You would think with me leaving this task to the end that it is low on my list of priorities, yet I believe it is one of the most integral moments of the day that I hope I will remember for the rest of my life.
I want to make sure I do it justice. I want to ensure that the words capture the depth of my feelings. I want it to be perfect for Pat. I want it to be an unforgettable foundation in a string of letters I hope we continue to write each other for the rest of our lives.
So, you know, low ambitions. Keeping it simple. No pressure.
The good news is I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. The sample vows, the article prompts, and most importantly, the letters yielded three pages of ideas, phrases, and the start of paragraphs. Now, it’s just time to take it to the next level. Concepts are floating through my brain on overdrive constantly. I’m working on getting them down on paper and starting to craft each sentence. And then comes the quest for perfection.
While I’m rather terrified about getting my vows written in such a short period of time, I’m also extremely excited and satisfied that we agreed to write our own. I think they’re going to be so utterly meaningful and memorable. And I think it’s very fitting that we find ourselves writing each other letters, using the medium yet again to convey our most essential feelings and thoughts, on the most important day of our lives.
Are you writing your own vows? Where are you finding the inspiration to get them just right?
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