Feminist Weddings Redux: The Vows

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wedding rings2There’s a possibility that there may be another wedding in my family this year, so I’m thinking about weddings again. The last wedding was a year and a half ago and if you do a search for “weddings” on this blog you’ll find the posts I wrote around that time about how to put together a feminist wedding. The one component I forgot then was the vows.  I don’t know how I forgot them because one of the first things people think about when they think of feminist weddings is how the vows have to be changed to reflect a feminist viewpoint. No more pledges to obey, for instance. And a rejection of traditional religious language in favor of words straight from the heart.

I don’t really know, however, how many brides and grooms write their own vows. I’ve had four weddings (actually five ceremonies), and if I remember rightly (hey, it’s been 38 years since the first one!), I never wrote vows for any of them. It was just easier to go with the words that the minister normally used. As for the word “obey,” I don’t even think it’s even used much any more–unless you’re a fundamentalist Christian who firmly believes that the man is the head of the house.

Vow-writing isn’t easy, I’ve heard. And I believe it, because when I try to think of how I’d sum up what getting married means to me, I don’t know where I’d start. Besides, I think one reason why people don’t like to write their own vows is because they’re afraid they’ll forget them when called upon to say them. With all the rest that’s going on to get a wedding to come together, who wants to be worrying about their vows?

There’s a way around that, of course. Give a copy of your vows to the officiant and repeat after him/her as he/she reads them aloud. That way you can’t forget them.

When my daughter got married in 2008, the minister had several vows for her and her fiance to pick from which gave them a sense of personalization without having to start from scratch. She even had some templates with words and phrases left blank for them to fill in. The thing is, I don’t have the slightest idea what they did say, even though I was there and could hear every word.

That’s why one suggestion I came across made sense: print the vows in the program. What better part to remember than what the bride and groom vowed to one another? This is also a great suggestion in case there are people from the deaf community in the congregation. (The bride and groom might even want to provide an interpreter as well.)

If you still want customized vows but don’t know where to start, there are vow-writing services which you can find on the Internet. Or you can have a writer friend write them. Or advertise on craigslist.

Or you can borrow these vows I found translated into LolCat Speak:

O hai. We here before all dese ppl and Ceiling Cat sos cat 1 and cat 2 can has marriage.

cat 1 and cat 2, marriage iz commitment and all about luv, so if u marry wifout thinkin hard about it, ur doin it wrong.

Anyone has visible reason they shud no marry? No? Gud.

cat 1 and cat 2, LOLCat Bible sez, “Luv is pashient an kind and stuff, luv no has jelusy and no shows off. It not rude, it not say UR DOIN IT WRONG. It no aligned wif basement cat but only ceiling cat. Luv protectz, trusts in all teh stuff, hopes in all teh stuff, sticks wif u in all teh stuff. FAIL? Not luv.” Dis what luv shud be for u.

cat 1, what u here for? (cat 2’s paw for marryin)

What u promis for cat 2? (I can has u, cat 2, for bein all wedded an stuff. I can has, I can hold. We can has riches, we can has no riches, we can has helf, we can has no helf, I still all luv u until ded.)

cat 2, what u here for? (cat 1’s paw for marryin)

What u promis for cat 1? (I can has u, cat 1, for bein all wedded an stuff. I can has, I can hold. We can has riches, we can has no riches, we can has helf, we can has no helf, I still all luv u until ded.)

Marriage no jus two cats, it needz other cats for supports and luv. Srsly, all u be there for them? (Yes.)
I can has bukkit wif rings?

Rings are all round, they has no end jus like your luv. cat 1, place ring on cat 2’s paw and say: I maed u a ring and I no pawn it. Wif this ring, I are wedding u. cat 2, u do same and say: I maed u a ring and I no pawn it. Wif this ring, I are wedding u.

U both now all married. Ceiling cat will now watch u kiss.

Here is cat 1 and cat 2 all married. Kthxbai.

plz 2 note: this lesson is by Stephen, plz to be giving credit n link wear deserved.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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