For Better or Worse...

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For Better or Worse...

Post  AustenFan on Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:07 pm

When marriage vows become creative.

I've never actually had a couple request to write their own vows. I am a Christian minister so I will only do a Christian service or a service that incorporates elements of another tradition if one of the partners is Jewish or another faith- ([I've never done an interfaith wedding, actually) People haven't wanted to do their own vows because they thought they would too nervous just saying what they had to from the traditional service. I have been to a few weddings that had people write their vows. As a person on another site commented, they usually sounded rather "smarmy, soupy, trite" or otherwise unappealing-to me no matter how much I loved the couple.

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I've been to a couple of weddings that were actually painful to watch

Post  VicarJoe on Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:04 am

The one was a Buddhist/Episcopalian ceremony in a grand old Episcopalian church, where it just felt as if the Christian faith was being treated as an ornament and backdrop, but nothing to be taken seriously.

The other was an outdoor wedding with purportedly native american vows.

Happily, I've never had occasion to see self-written vows. What occurs to me is something Chesterton says in defending the church: people complain about the repetition of stock prayers, he notes, but actually people NEED to have set pieces that express what they feel at moments like weddings and funerals. People aren't very articulate on their own--rituals and repeated prayers allow us access to a space we could never create on our own.

And plus, either marriage is a social institution to which individuals sacrifice some of their autonomy to join or it is merely an individualistic public display of affection totally defined by the two members who make it. If the former, stock vows are best; if the latter, heaven help us.

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