Next up in the recap, we come to arguably the most important part of our ceremony: the vows.
The Joker and I really had to think about what we wanted for our vows. Would we go traditional with our vows, or would we write our own? The Joker wanted to stay traditional. He really liked the core of what traditional vows said (“For richer, for poorer. In sickness, and in health…”), and felt it was important we mentioned those parts, since they do describe what marriage is very well. But I couldn’t decide.
On one hand, there really is something to be said about traditional vows. There is something so romantic about a bride and groom saying the same words that have bound couples together for generations. There’s a history there that really is to be admired. Grandma and Grandpa Orchid have been happily married for 62 years, and I have always looked up to their relationship. They are each other’s best friends, their very first and very last thought every single day. When I was a little girl, I started praying God would bless me with a relationship like theirs. And it is so amazing to me to think that one day, so long ago, they were just like Joker and I, standing in front of each other, her wearing a dress and him wearing a suit, saying those same words Joker and I said. I knew if I didn’t say those words, there was a tiny piece of me that wouldn’t feel like we were really married.
But on the other hand, it’s me. And I love my non-traditional wedding. I cherished any opportunity to be creative in our special day, and I loved the idea of getting to stand in front of all of our friends and family and tell the Joker, in my own words, exactly why I wanted to marry him. Plus, there are some people who have taken the write-your-own-vows route and have done it so right. Seriously, do me a favor and go search for “examples of writing your own marriage vows.” If you can read through ten of them without crying at least two, I personally will send you ten dollars. You will also be able to see why the idea of writing my own vows was so appealing to me.
No matter what I did, I knew I was going to shake things up in the vow part a little bit. I saw on an episode of “Four Weddings” where a bride and groom started the vows with “I, Blabitty Blah, ask you, Yakkity Yak, to be my lawfully wedded…” terrible names aside, you get it. I loved the idea of saying “I ask you to be my lawfully wedded” whatever. It was another example of the compromise that comes with marriage. I don’t like the sound of “I take you.” That sounds like your special someone doesn’t have a say in going into this marriage. Like, “You’re marrying me, whether you like it or not. I didn’t ask you, I told you.” But marriage is a choice. And it is a choice to make it work every day. After all, when Mistah J proposed, he didn’t say “Orchid, you’re going to marry me.” He asked me to marry him. So, I wanted us to ask each other again. It was in thinking of this “asking,” and looking at tons of examples of personalized vows, I came up with a compromise.
I suggested to the Joker we start with the traditional vows: “I, Orchid, ask you Joker, to be my lawfully wedded husband…” and do the whole traditional spill. But, when it gets to the end, we each add our own vows, things we promise to do in return. “And in return, I promise to always have a hot supper on the table when you get home, never interrupt you while you’re watching the game, and answer anything you ask of me with “as you wish”.” Soooo kidding. Might I add, he wishes. But on a serious note, the Joker thought this was a great idea. To make it really special, we kept our promises to each other a surprise. We didn’t hear our promises to each other until the very moment we were supposed to in our ceremony. And special it was.
The Joker went first on the big day. He gave the traditonal part “I, Joker, ask you Orchid, to be my lawfully wedded wife. To have and to…” you get it. And at the end, he continued:
And in return, I promise to listen to every story,
Sing along with every song, and
Pick you up every time you fall.
Garden, he lost me at story. Let me explain. Mistah J likes to joke that I’m a terrible story teller. He says I give entirely too many details. The details that I claim are important to a story, and what actually is important are never the same (or so he claims). In his own words: “You’re a great story teller, you just focus on the wrong parts.” (On a side note, I think it’s a little ironic how I’m telling a story about my husband saying I’m bad at telling stories.) So, the fact that the first promise the Joker is making to me as my husband is that he’s going to listen to every story I tell, even if they’re bad stories?? I sobbed. For the first time in the entire ceremony, I completely lost it and just wept. And not just me. A couple of the Avengers saw me crying and started crying just watching me cry! Yes, the boys were crying too! I didn’t even hear what the last two promises were. Sitting here now, typing this, I had to ask him again what he said. His vows to me were completely precious, and I will cherish them forever. Even if I only heard one of them the first time. But next, it was my turn.
I said my vows like normal, and then added my own promises. But a little joke came with this. The Joker didn’t tell me he was going to memorize his vows, if he had, I would have memorized mine as well. But since I didn’t know, I had mine written on a piece of paper that folded up in Princess Rapunzel’s dress pocket. When the time came for me to say mine, I started to turn away from Mistah J to grab the paper from Rapunzel. But the Joker didn’t know what I was doing, so he pulled my hand back to him. I found out later he thought I was done and was moving on to the sand ceremony.
“You need to say your promises now,” he whispered to me. So, to explain what I was doing to him and to inform the audience what was going on, I explained “I didn’t memorize mine!”
Everyone chuckled as I reached back to Repunzel and took my paper from her. Then, I began to read:
And in return, I promise to love you more today than I did yesterday, and even more than that tomorrow.
To defend every movie we see to you when it’s good, and argue against it when it’s bad.
I promise to laugh at your jokes…when they’re funny. (insert a chuckle from the audience here)
And I promise to need you, respect you and walk by your side every day for the rest of our lives.
“I think you had a little more to say than he did, so I see why you didn’t memorize yours.” Said our minister, Father Joker, as he walked back up beside us to finish the ceremony. The congregation let out a laugh again.
I’m thrilled with the way we did our vows. It was the perfect combination of traditonal and unique. It was the same words so many other couples have said to each other, with the opportunity for the Joker and I to say everything we wanted to say about getting married. And I loved it.
What about your vows? Are you going the traditional route, or are you writing your own?