Since starting this blog I’ve done an awful lot of writing… to be honest when we set out to produce new and original wedding related content on a daily basis I’m not sure we really thought through what it meant to produce a post EVERY day! I pretty much write something every night and occasionally it comes easily… more often than not when I’m writing some sort of ridiculous Monday Musing or sharing another tale of wedding planning trauma! Other times it’s hard work…usually when Dom asks me to write a “serious and informative article” (they don’t call me a gormless groom for nothing!) but either way I’ve found that writing comes pretty naturally now. I write all kinds of stuff about weddings (a topic I knew pretty much nothing about until the day I proposed) and I write a lot of stuff about Dom and I and our (often slightly crazy relationship). So it’s odd that having written so much about my wedding and relationship experiences my reaction to Dom’s suggestion of maybe writing our own marriage vows was “oh no I couldn’t do that.” I’m not going to lie, it led to a little bit of an argument, and as you know on Bride Vs Groom we don’t let our arguments lead to one of us sulking in the corner, gradually working their way through a bottle of single malt whilst muttering to themselves and seeking solace in the arms of a small dog that doesn’t even like me…her… whoever. Never happens! No on this blog we let our readers decide! So here it comes, this week’s hot debate in the Friday Fight-Out:
The Marriage Vows: Writers Vs Readers
In the Red corner, stealing MY iPad (do you hear that Dom… it’s mine… give it back…no really… STOP PLAYING CUT THE ROPE!!!!) ahem, where was I? Ah yes STEALING my iPad with the apparent intention of doing some serious writing, it’s Dom “The Tog” Shaw
In the Blue corner, ready to say whatever the person with an invariably inaudible voice at the front tells him to, the last time he had to repeat a solemn vow in a church was his promise to uphold the Cub Scout Law…which he did not… it’s Matt “The Gormless” Groom.
Matt: But there’s something special about saying those same words that all those Brides and Grooms have said before you. It’s traditional, it’s the key moment of the wedding. It’s not just some generic sentence, it’s language that has been crafted to give the biggest impact for the most important promise you’ll ever make, and it’s stayed in roughly the same structure for so long for a reason!
Dom: There are certain phrases you have to include to make the marriage legal anyway so there’s still an element of tradition in there anyway, but writing the rest yourself gives the words more meaning: the best of both worlds.
Matt: How often do you hear people mess up when trying to repeat the vows? That moment is so emotional that people often can’t even manage to repeat a short sentence, let alone deliver a whole speech. Do you really want to take the risk of forgetting what you wanted to say or having to look down at your notes rather than look into your partner’s eyes as you say your vows?
Dom: As long as you’re speaking from the heart it doesn’t matter if you mess up a bit, if it isn’t quite perfect or you stumble your words. Standing up in front of all of your friends and family and promising someone in your own words that you will spend the rest of your life with them is a perfect moment and unbelievably romantic. And anyway, a little rehearsal can go a long way!
Matt: It may be romantic, but for a lot of people who are a little shy it can turn what should be a joyous, life changing and perfect moment into something traumatic and distracting. You don’t want to be thinking about what you have to say for the whole ceremony, you want to enjoy it… I’m worrying enough about the Groom’s speech as it is!
Dom: Having your own vows can add real character to a wedding. It’s something people will remember, something unique. It gives you the chance to inject your personality on a ceremony that has a fairly rigid structure. Although it should be heartfelt it can also be amusing and reveal something about yourselves and your relationship. It simply makes a beautiful moment even more special and memorable.
Matt: Even for experienced writers trying to put how you feel about someone into words is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it’s not what you’re saying, it’s the way you say it, the body language you give out, the look in your eye that shows the way you really feel and the depth of your feeling about the commitment that you are making.
Dom: Your wedding is a day dedicated to expressing the way you really feel about someone. Your love for your partner is often something that goes unsaid, it becomes something comfortable, something natural, something unspoken. Your wedding day is the chance to really express your feelings without fear of ribbing or embarrassment. Making a promise to spend the rest of your lives with someone should be something personal, something heartfelt, something that really expresses the way you feel.
Matt: If you really believe in them then the promise you make is no less heartfelt just because the words are not your own. They are words that have been spoken by millions of couples as the ultimate dedication to one another. Those words are important, sacred even. They are the words we associate with marriage, they are concise, clear. They detail the full extent of the promise you are making, there is no ambiguity in your commitment. Repeating those words whilst looking into your partner’s eyes is the ultimate symbol of dedication and no words could more significance.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this one! Help us to decide: should we follow the traditional and historical verse or write our own promises, our own personal vows? Let us know via the comments section below or join the debate on Twitter!