My husband and I had our legal wedding ceremony in the summer of 2018 (with only four close friends present) in a field near Grand Teton National Park. Our ceremony was pretty informal.
We then decided to have a big party to celebrate with a large group of friends and family in the fall of 2019. This ceremony was even more untraditional, but very well received, so I wanted to share it with other people planning their weddings, in case they’re looking for something like it.
Since we were already legally married, we decided not to have any sort of officiant. My husband and I did most of the talking and introducing of people. This made sense to me, since we were the only people who everyone knew, they should be most comfortable hearing from us.
We also chose to have our ceremony heavily story-based. I always love hearing other couples’ stories, and we wanted to share ones from different parts in our relationship that everyone may not have heard.
And finally, the kicker: we wrote each other’s vows! To us, a marriage is a partnership. So it made sense for me to write vows for my husband that I wanted from him, and for him to write vows for me, voicing what he wanted from me.
My sister did read the vows beforehand to verify that they weren’t mismatched, and she also found some common points that we ended up reading in unison.
So here goes:
Our Storytelling Ceremony:
Bride: Thank you all for coming to join us this weekend we’re very excited to have you here. As most of you know, we got married in July 2018 in a small ceremony outside Grand Teton National Park and we wanted you all to gather, not to celebrate our joining, but to share our happiness with you and to celebrate life together.
Groom: As many of you know we lost someone very dear to us last July. My father was killed by a family member. He was a mentor, friend, and family to tons of people here. In his honor, instead of taking a moment of silence for him, on the count of three, I want everyone to let out a noise of their choosing. It can be big or small but make it for him and you because he was one of the most giving people I have ever met. [Crowd makes lots of noises!] Thanks dad, we will never forget you. Now happy things. Since Stacy and I are already married and we’re not very religious, this ceremony will be mostly storytelling.
Bride: Ian and I first met in a conference room during the first materials engineering student society board meeting of the 2009 school year. I can vividly remember him walking into the room with his excited grin on his face, ready to participate with as much enthusiasm as possible.
Groom: And I remember Stacy sitting at the table looking quite bored with the whole proceeding, but wow was she gorgeous. She gave me a small smile which started a 10 year adventure between us. Little did I know I had to steal her from the guy sitting just to her left.
Bride: And Ian made such an impression on me, that after the meeting, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “he’s going to be a problem”. And he was, as you’ll soon find out.
[Insert story from my sister and childhood best friend about how we first met]
Groom: Once we’re together, all hell broke loose:
[Insert story from one of our college friends about our relationship]
Groom: Last year, for our wedding ceremony Stacy and I wrote the vows for each other.
Bride: To us, marriage is a partnership, and in a partnership communication is key. In order to strengthen this communication, we wrote each other’s vows to politely let our partner know the aspects of our relationship we would like them to focus on in the years ahead.
Groom: Letting someone know what you love about them is easy, working through the hardships together is what can truly form a bond. So, here are the vows we wrote for each other to work on through our marriage, read by the person who’s still working on them…
Our vows, that he wrote for me, and I wrote for him:
Groom: I will try to eat before I’m hungry and take the food you offer me
Bride: I promise to try to express my feelings while thinking of how they will impact you.
Groom: I will be the keeper of the past, but will try to sometimes think about the future.
Bride: If I’m hungry, I should eat something
Groom: I promise to try to listen to what you are actually saying rather than what I think you’re going to say.
Bride: I promise to try to be there when you need it most
Groom: I promise to try to follow when you are the designated leader
Bride: I will love you to the best of my ability and if something isn’t working, I will try to communicate with you openly about it.
Groom: I promise to try and ask for help when it would be helpful
Bride: For our many adventures, I will attempt to bring emergency snacks for when you get hungry.
Bride/Groom Together: I promise to support you through your questionable decisions and constantly reaffirm that they are incorrect.
Groom: Since we’re already married, we don’t need to exchange rings, however I am going to kiss the crap out of her and then share our joy with all of you.