I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy. I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!
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Our Love Story
Writing your own vows is one of the best ways to personalize your wedding day! But writing your own vows is more difficult than it sounds. Where do I start? What should I say? How should I say it? How do I say it without crying? Well, I can help you with the first 3 questions. You’re on your own for the last one. We failed at #4.
There are two ways to go about writing your vows. If you and your spouse-to-be are open to reading/knowing them beforehand, you can decide together how you’d like your vows to sound. Choose a length! Anywhere from 10 sentences to 6 paragraphs. Choose a style – do you want to start with a story? Do you want all 10 sentences to begin with “I vow” or “I promise?” Do you want your promises to be free-form, but only two paragraphs in length?
The other alternative is keeping your vows private from your partner before the ceremony. My husband and I chose to hear one other’s vows for the first time at our wedding. We loved this option but still chose a structure to aid in our writing. We decided upon 250-300 words and chose four sentences we wanted to both include in the final section of our vows.
I, ______, take you, ______, to be my husband/wife and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife. I will be by your side to share in your happiness and success, and to comfort you in sorrow and disappointment. As your husband/wife, I will seek to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s promises, For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, I devote my love and my life to you from this day forward.
Every wedding has a ceremony, every wedding has “Do you take this woman, do you take this man?” and every wedding has the exchange of rings. If you’ve chosen to write your own vows, you’re well on your way to personalizing your day. So use the opportunity to write from a heartfelt place. Ideas for small details to include in your vows:
– Your first impression of your partner
– Your favourite date and why it was your favourite
– The moment you knew you were in love
– The emotions you felt after the proposal
– Your partner’s favourite character traits
– What makes you excited about the future with your partner
– Why you are choosing your partner today
– Unique promises that are funny to you as a couple
To my husband, I vowed. “When I fail to keep these vows and hurt you and make mistakes, I promise to hold your hand and tell you I’m sorry. And I am sorry in advance for the times I make extreme statements and think in black and white rather than grey and speak too loudly.”
Writing beautiful vows is one thing – but if you’re tripping over words and sentences feel too “full” you’ll be uncomfortable reading them in front of a hundred guests. Print out your words and read them at least a couple of times. Do any sentences feel “too much?” You can probably cut out an adjective or two. Time them. Your vows shouldn’t be longer than 3-5 minutes, max. (Ours were on the longer side, but we loved them.)
Another helpful tip. If you’re keeping your vows a secret, have a trusted friend read both of them. If they aren’t a secret, well, just read them together. Ask her/him if the vows “flow” and are around the same length/structure.
Lastly, enjoy writing your own vows. If you aren’t enjoying it and it’s causing you both extra wedding planning stress, it’s worth reconsidering. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to traditional vows. Your wedding day is about you. Not “what’s cool” or “what’s expected.” Be sure to have fun. When Randy and I wrote our vows, we set aside a date night. We went to a coffee shop, ordered lattes and sat across from one another with our laptops for a couple of hours. If you don’t set a time, it won’t happen. And vows are worth your time.
(to read more about our wedding ceremony, visit this link.)
Randy, when I met you 896 days ago in the lobby of a restaurant in Courtenay, I had no idea you’d become my future. It was a quick “hello,” a handshake, dinner with friends and a goodbye, without another thought. Six months later, you moved to Langley and your servant heart, work ethic, genuine effort to connect with and love people caught my eye. You first told me you liked me on an evening in April, not even one year ago today. What a year it has been. I could not have predicted the fun, laughter and conversations we’d have, the challenges, growth and sunsets we’d share, the miles we’d walk hand in hand with coffee or tea, but most of all, the love the last eleven and a half months would hold for us.
The most beautiful adventure started when I fell in love with you – and today, our adventure as husband and wife is only just beginning. When looking back on our relationship, I’ve tried to pinpoint a moment, a turning point, a “Yes, I’m in love!” but it wasn’t a moment. It was you and me, me and you, building conversation upon conversation, trust upon trust, tears upon laughter. It all led to this, to us, to love, to commitment. When you said “I love you” on that park bench in Victoria, only a few weeks into dating, I thought you were crazy. How could you be in love so soon? But looking back, it’s so simple. Randy, when you commit to loving someone, you’re all in. Your “all in” commitment won me over – slowly and steadily, you wholly captured my heart. I said “I love you” through snotty tears for the first time in July and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gift of the love you’ve given me – and that we’ve been given from God ever since.
Today, I choose you, Randy. Your love, patience and commitment encourage me to be a better woman and a more devoted follower of Jesus. You set an example of generosity with your life – giving of both your time and money and watching you inspires me to give even more. Every day, you make me feel beautiful and every week, you steadfastly pursue my heart. I feel blessed beyond anything I could ask or imagine to call you mine.
I, Jamie, take you, Randy, to be my husband and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife. I vow to be your biggest encourager and your closest friend. I will be by your side to share in your happiness and success, and to comfort you in sorrow and disappointment. I promise to come alongside your dreams and to dream even crazier things together As your wife, I will seek to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s promises. I promise to make our home a restful, inviting place for you after a long day’s work – and a loving, hospitable gathering place for others. I vow to celebrate our similarities and respect our differences, recognizing the individual personalities God has given us for the purpose of being stronger together. I vow to make praying for you and praying together as a couple a daily priority. When I fail to keep these vows and hurt you and make mistakes, I promise to hold your hand and tell you I’m sorry. And I am sorry in advance for the times I make extreme statements and think in black and white rather than grey and speak too loudly. I vow to try to change those habits too. Randy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, I devote my love and my life to you from this day forward.
(Oh look! It’s us!!)
Jamie. You are gorgeous. It is incredible to be here today and see your ideas come to life. I am so thankful for the journey that has brought us to today. 42 weeks ago we sat on a bench in Bellingham and after that conversation I had no idea where you stood. I got home and wrote down these 8 words. Humility, Patience, Honesty, Affirmation, Protection, Prayer, Knowledge & Love. I knew these things needed to be at the foundation of our relationship. I made it my goal to daily practice as many of these as I could.
Today, I know that you outdo me in all of these ares. It has been an exciting adventure together from day one. I know we have begun to forge something strong. You have proven to be the most encouraging and steadfast woman I have ever met. I am confident in who you are. You have become my best friend. From coffee dates to travelling together, exciting times to challenging ones, from random laughter to tears you have shown consistent, constant support and selfless love. You make effort in every aspect of our relationship and I am so thankful that regardless of circumstance we laugh together. You have helped me to understand people better, to further value people and to appreciate different perspectives.
Your smile has always captivated me. I love your laugh, and that it changes your entire composition. I am excited to dream together, to challenge one another, to support and encourage you. You inspire me with your passion for Jesus, your generosity, your wisdom and insight. And the humility you bring to every situation. you are a remarkable woman. I am excited and so thankful that I get to take this next step in life with you
Today, I take you, Jamie, to be my wife, and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband. To put you before myself and give you my best. To honour you with my actions, to affirm and protect you. To pray for you and contend for what’s best for you. I will be by your side to share in your happiness and success, and to comfort you in upset and disappointment. I promise to be patient and treat you with care. I promise to make you laugh, and laugh with you often. As your husband, I determine to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s promises. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, I devote my love and my full life to you from this day forward.