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Dearly Beloved: I Borrowed My Wedding Vows

True confession: I’m sticking with”borrowed” my wedding vows instead of plagiarized because I never actually tried to hide it. Oh, the things that haunt you when you are a blogger.

JetSet Hubs and I were married ten years ago today at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. We planned our wedding reception for the Saturday of Labor Day weekend so that all of our friends and family could enjoy the long weekend with us. We were living alone in California and we both knew it would be the first, and (probably) the last time everyone we cared about would be under the same roof. We were pretty much right. 

File this under: How [not] to write wedding vows

What many don’t know, is only days away from our trip and I had nothing. Those vows haunted me. We acted like Monica and Chandler regarding writing our wedding vows. He was silently freaking out, and little did he know, I was too. I had zero idea where to start. I wanted to be creative, and I was not sure I even wanted traditional wedding vows. The doodles in my notebook margins resembled more Banksy and less Shakespeare. I knew there would be no chance of tears and handkerchiefs. Two days before take-off and I still didn’t have vows. Did he? I really didn’t want to even find out.

What do you mean you haven’t written your vows?

So the night before Vegas, I quickly recalled celebrity couples that have been married a long time. There are like five. Combine that with the ones I admire, and there are two! But then I remembered, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. And like a that huge neon Welcome to Vegas sign, I noticed they were married in that exact city almost 50 years earlier.  

Paul Newman Joanna Woodward wedding vows

JetSet Hubs loved the idea. Of course he did! He was ready to “borrow” someone else’s wedding vows quicker than you can say, “I do.” Part of me was miffed he was being let off the hook so easily, but SO WAS I suckahs! So. Was. I. 

His halo and my wings

So as my grandfather walked me down the aisle at sunset, a flamenco guitarist played The Beatles Here, There and Everywhere, and I cracked a little wink and smile to my long time friend and photographer. Not for the reasons you’d think though. It was more of a “I hope you’re capturing all this because I am about to be so BUSTED,” kinda smile. Busted for wedding vow theft! I was officially a fraud. 

I remember breathing a sigh of relief as the guitarist played U2’s Everlasting Love because in my mind that was the getaway car and I could walk down the aisle with my new husband before REO Speedwagon began soundcheck, but that’s a whole other story for another post.

Can I go to The Knot jail for this?

Even if I could, I know Earline would have bailed me out. Since our moms couldn’t be with us on this special day, we’re pretty sure they joined heavenly forces and sent us the amazing Earline Torres in their place. What an incredible woman. xo

Years later, and I am just rereading these beautiful words now. Partly cracking up and partly tearing up. It’s amazing how after all this time, without even thinking much about them until now, they have become the commandments of our marriage. Ob

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage: The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day […]  

It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner” – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 1958


Written by Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley curates her favorite trends in luxury travel, fine-dining, style + pop culture for The JetSet Family, CBS Los Angeles, Huffington Post and Hilton Hotels. In 2015, she was named Top Family Travel Blogger by both Trip Advisor + Red Tricycle. Instagram: nicoledstandley

Review overview
  • Jenn September 4, 2014

    First Happy Anniversary! We never wrote our own wedding vows, we just repeated what our Pastor said bc I was to afraid I couldnt come up with something amazing. I think it is a great idea to borrow someone else’s if it’s how you feel.

  • Heather September 4, 2014

    This is so well written and I completely agree with what makes up a marriage. You have to accept your partner in all facets of life, through the good and the bad and doing it with a sense of humor and not a sense of sacrifice so much better. Congrats on your anniversary!

  • Scott September 4, 2014

    We weren’t very creative. We just used the vows given to us by the church instead of writing our own.

  • Hanan September 4, 2014

    I’m not sorry, but that is even more beautiful then “typical vows”. That I’m ashamed to say, we said. I’ll blame it on the courthouse wedding we had though. I wish we would have at least tried to write our own though…

  • Chelley @ A is For Adelaide September 4, 2014

    Happy anniversary! We didn’t write our own vowa because mine would have been 500 words that all meant the same thing: I’m in this for life. But I envy those who do!

  • Mama to 5 BLessings September 4, 2014

    What a sweet post! Happy Anniversary! I got married in Vegas too with my husband we have been married for over 12 years/

  • Lisa September 4, 2014

    This was really beautiful. I should have thought about it more…..

  • Stacey - Seattle Mom Blog September 4, 2014

    Happy anniversary! Love the post. It was wonderful.

  • valmg @ Mom Knows It All September 4, 2014

    Happy anniversary! We also just used the vows that the Church gave us.

  • Stacey @ Newlywed Survival September 5, 2014

    There’s nothing wrong with not making your own vows. The classic vows cover everything already!

  • Mistee Dawn September 5, 2014

    What a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it.

  • Alison McFadden September 5, 2014

    This article was great. Thanks for sharing.

  • lisa jones September 5, 2014

    What A Beautiful Story Happy Anniversary & To Many More So What If You Borrowed The Words They Were Perfect!! lOL!

  • katrina g September 5, 2014

    we did the traditional vows. we are talking about renewing them soon. I think for that we will write them ourselves.

  • LaVonne September 5, 2014

    My hubby and I did traditional vows. We didn’t write our own. But I loved reading the Newman’s ceremony. Thank you for sharing that. So sweet.

    And Happy 10th Anniversary!

  • Kelly Hutchinson September 6, 2014

    I love hearing you even did something remotely like having your own vows. I wish I would have done this. Happy anniversary!