Mr. Coach and I kept things fairly simple when it came to planning the ceremony. Our officiant, Josh, sent me a copy of what he usually says during a ceremony, we tweaked it a bit, and that was that. I did, however, have two things I wanted to add. During our wedding planning journey, I decided I was pro-personalized vows. Although it's been quite a while, some of you might remember my post discussing writing our own vows, and whether not we would be able to incorporate it into an otherwise very traditional ceremony. After seeing it discussed many times here, I also decided closer to the wedding that I would love to have someone other than our officiant read a passage during the ceremony.
With the help of the 'Bee, I was able to accomplish both of those things. Your responses to Miss Sword's post about ceremony readings led me to the one we ultimately picked, "Union" by Robert Fulghum, and Mrs. Jam's guide to writing your own vows was a lifesaver when it came to Mr. C and I writing our own personal, yet cohesive, vows to each other.
|Excerpt from "Writing Your Vows: A Simple Exercise" by our own Mrs. Jam|
For the most part, you'll notice our ceremony was very traditional, and that was exactly what we wanted. What we didn't want, however, was for our ceremony and vow exchange to feel impersonal, and what I really didn't want was for the entire event to last 5 minutes and be gone before we even knew what was going on. I wanted a little more "meat" and the addition of a few personalized touches scattered into our Big Day. If I had to go back and plan it all again, I would 100% choose to write our own vows. The "outline" from Mrs. Jam made the writing so simple, and hearing Mr. C's own words being recited to me was the highlight of the afternoon. After the reading and the exchanging of vows, Officiant Josh flowed effortlessly into the traditional exchanging of rings, and it was the perfect combination.
But, enough chit chat. I've intermingled our full vows with some of my favorite pictures from the day so that you guys can see how well each of our vows fit together, thanks to the outline we followed. There was not a dry eye in the house after Mr. C finished reading, including his. Ladies, if you want to see your groom get choked up and show emotion, GET YOUR MAN TO WRITE HIS OWN VOWS ;)
As the Piazza chapel doors opened, Mr. C and I locked eyes for the first time (well, since our First Look) and it was magic. I could not get down that aisle fast enough. Unfortunately, my rather large dress, high heels, and the fact that I kept telling myself to slow down and take in the moment, were keeping me from a full on sprint to the front of that church.
Edelweiss was being played in the background by our harpist (which I don't remember at all, but I've been told it did in fact happen) and I made my way toward my best friend who was waiting for me at the alter. When my dad and I did finally reach the front, he and I shared a hug, and he handed me over to Mr. C to become his wife.
After Josh had finished his opening words and scripture, he handed the microphone over to Bridesmaid J who began to recite the simple and romantic, "Union"by Robert Fulghum.
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world – This my husband. This is my wife.
As the reading concluded, Mr. C took the notebook that was holding our vows from his Best Man, and began to read. For those of you already planning to write your own vows to one another, or say anything that isn't memorized during the ceremony, I think having it written or printed in a notebook is a great option versus just pulling out a folded piece of paper that the Best Man had in his pocket. The folded piece of paper route was a pet peeve of mine from previous weddings, and I found a solid black notebook for Mr. C and I to each print and glue our vows into. I think it photographed so much better!
Miss Coach, In the last four years of our relationship I have learned so much about myself. I've learned that it's possible to share anything and everything with you. And, I'm not just talking about sharing my time and my goals, my ideas and thoughts with you, I mean that I've learned that it's even possible to share my money, my tv remote, and even my toothbrush with you because I love you so much. I am only able to share those things with you, Miss C. You are my one and only love.The toothbrush thing is a joke between us - please don't let it gross you out too much :)
I love you because of what I have seen in you since the beginning when I look at you. I love your eyes for the trust and innocence they reveal in you. I love your smile which not only is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, but that it shows the joy and love that you have deep in your heart.
I love you because you have always been set on having me and only me all to yourself.
I love you because I know my love is safe with you.
Because I love you, I promise to care for you, both physically and emotionally.
Because I love you, I promise that my hand will only ever hold your hand, my lips will only ever kiss your lips, and my toothbrush will only ever be shared with you, as long as I live.
Because I love you, I vow to be with you through the good times and the bad, and I vow to treat you not only as my equal, but to lift you up and honor you as my lovely bride, my best friend, and my soulmate.
Miss C, my angel, today is without a doubt the most important day of my life and I"m sure that you're pretty excited about it too. I know that we are perfect for each other and I know that you are the perfect girl for me. I love you and this is exactly what I want - to be matched with you forever, and ever, and ever.
Then, it was my turn.
Mr. C, Some of my first memories of you are a little more unusual --- you yelling senseless things at other Club guys down the hallway in your dorm, and the embarrassing noise you made when I took that probably too large bite of coffee cake during one of our first Starbucks trips. However, many others are much more romantic, like that first sweet text message you sent at the perfect time and our first kiss after a wonderful date. With your jokes and your sweet words, you were such a mix of comedy and charm then, and luckily for me, you still are. You were unexpected, and absolutely perfect for me.
I love you because you are a leader in our relationship, but in the most respectful, kind, and gentle of ways.
I love you because your contagious smile and laugh make everyone feel welcome and at ease. Even if I don’t start out laughing with you, I usually end up shaking my head and joining right in.
I love that you stand by my side through difficult times, and you encourage me and support me. You are strong when I need you to be, but tender and sincere when it’s most important.
I love you because you are never afraid to be yourself, and who you are is wonderful. You are an honest, trustworthy, kind and caring man.
Because I love you, I promise to be a constant as things around us change.
I will endure the bad times with you, whenever they may come, and I will celebrate and laugh with you when life is simple and easy, but no matter the circumstances, I will be there.
I promise to show you the respect you deserve, as a man and as my husband, and I promise to be the best wife and partner that I can be for you. I will pay attention and give you quality time. I will be faithful to you, and maintain your trust through my words and my actions.
I promise to love you – when it’s easy, when it’s not, when you’re stubborn, when I’m stubborn- I will love you, today and every day.
Mr. C, today is the happiest day of my life, because I get to stand here facing you and become your wife. You are my best friend and the one I cannot imagine living life without. With our friends and family as witnesses, I voice my commitment to you. I choose you, for as long as we both shall live.Once we had both finished reading our vows, it was time to exchange rings and make things official! We each got our respective rings from our MOH and BM, and proceeded to repeat after Josh:
With this ring, I thee wed. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness. I pledge this love to you and you alone, as long as we both shall live.
Now that the rings were on, and we were officially Mr. and Mrs, there was only one thing left to do and we were extremely pleased about it ;)
Miss a recap?
First, I shared some of my favorite guest photos from the big day!
Next, Mr. C and I spent some quality time with family, rehearsed for the big day, and then enjoyed our tasty rehearsal dinner.
My girls and I spent some quality time together and got our hair and makeup done in our hotel suite.
We headed over to the Piazza, where I slipped into my dress.
I showed off my wedding gown in my pre-wedding Bridal Portraits.
You got a sneak peek into the Groom’s Suite while the guys got ready.
I got a little misty during our First Look.
Mr. Coach and I took a few couple’s portraits with our photographers.
It was almost time for the ceremony to begin, so our parents and grandparents made their entrances.