Home / Living  / Dearly Beloved: I Borrowed My Wedding Vows

Dearly Beloved: I Borrowed My Wedding Vows

How (Not) To Write Wedding Vows

Owning It

True confession:  I “borrowed” my wedding vows. 


Jamie and I were married ten 11, 12, 13 14, 15 years ago today at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. We specifically planned our wedding reception for Saturday night because it was over Labor Day weekend. Having our wedding on a Holiday meant all of our friends and family from out of town 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 right.


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


What many don’t know, is we were single digit days away from our wedding day and I had nothing. I love words. I had waited my entire life to tell my husband to be exactly what he meant to me. What “US” meant to me. I was at a complete loss. Those vows haunted me day and night for months. We were and still are so Monica and Chandler. Especially when it came to writing our wedding vows. He was silently freaking out because he thought I had this nailed, and little did he know, I hadn’t even put a pen to paper. I had zero ideas about where to start. I knew exactly how I felt, and I wanted to be creative, but the last thing this Monica wanted was traditional wedding vows. The doodles in my notebook margins resembled more Banksy and less Rumi. There went my daydreams of teary eyes, and lumps in throats. Two days before take-off and I had squat. Then again, did he? Forget it, I didn’t want to know.


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


So the night before, I was fastly approaching DEFCON 1. I started to think of celebrity couples that have been married a long time. Let’s be honest, there are like five and ever year that number dwindles even more. Combine that with the ones I admire, and now we’re really pushing it. But then I remembered Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman were married in that exact city almost 50 years earlier.  And man, were they in love.


Paul Newman Joanna Woodward wedding vows


So I casually ran the idea by Jamie. OF COURSE HE LOVED IT! He was in the same boat and 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


As my grandfather walked me down the aisle at sunset, a flamenco guitarist played my favorite song by The Beatles Here, There and Everywhere, I couldn’t help but crack a little wink and smile to my best friend who was officiated our wedding because I was about to be busted for wedding vow theft! There I was, officially a fraud.


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


Can I go to Wedding jail for this?


Even if I could, I know our beloved, Earline, would have bailed me out. Since our moms weren’t with us on this special day, we’re convinced they joined heavenly forces and sent us our very own angel, Earline Torres, in their place. Still to this day, she is a big part of our hearts and one of the most special loved ones in our lives.


So cut to the chase…What were the vows?


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. All these years later my life can be divided in two parts: Before and After Jamie.


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


This is us. I love you, Jamie.


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!

  • Michaele Hall September 11, 2017

    That was beautiful. I am sure the Newman’s would be thrilled that you “borrowed” their vows. Now you only have 37 more years to catch up with them!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.