Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So you want to write your own vows?

So you want to write your own vows?

One request I get from couples in the Pretty and Planned, twenty-five minute ceremonies is to write their own vows.

Something I pinned on my Pinterest may be of reflection in this discussion.. I found this item just a few days ago from "these are some of the best wedding vows I've ever heard of: his pledge to her: I will kill the spiders. I will share my fries with you when you've finished all yours and are still hungry. I won't ever pop my collar. I will never be rude to your tummy-when I har it growl and gurge, I promise to bend down and reply respectfully. I will eat the mushrooms when we order the supreme pizza. I will kiss the papercuts. and the door-slammed finger. and the counter-bumped hip. I'll try my hardest no.... (Punctuation, spelling and lack of capitalization credited to

Done correctly writing your own vows to each other gives you the opportunity to tailor your vows to you as a couple, to what is really important to the two of you.

Now while these vows are cute and sure to bring a smile or two in the guests, I have trouble believing that these are the things that are really important to the couple.

Definition of VOW: a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition . See vow defined for English-language

I've got no problem with having some fun with the vows but my feeling is the nature of vows, especially wedding vows should be a real reflection of what you are promising each other.

How often does it happen? I've been marrying folks since I first became a minister 20 years ago. In that time I've had perhaps 120 couples say they wanted to write their own vows. Perhaps 15 couples actually ended up writing their own vows, and maybe six couples did it well.

My advice to those who want to write their own vows?  First each of you give a little thought about the things that are 1) important in your relationships 2) important to relationships over all.  Don't think too hard here, this is just a starting point.

93.7 The Bull Shotgun Wedding
Next get on the net and do a search for wedding vows and read through them together. Find vows that express the important things you outlined in step one.  Pick a little from here and a little from there if you need to.

The step after that is just putting them all together in a style that seems congruent from start to end.

Then if you are inclined to humor, you can mix some "fun" vows that express who you are and/or get a chuckle from the guests.

Last thing I recommend is once you've got them all polished go to an office supply and get two small journal notebooks about 3" x 4" in size, with lined pages.

Write each vow on a separate page and put your signature on the last page. At the service you have an easy way to reference each vow as you declare them to each other.

Once each of you have said your vows you exchange journals as the physical symbol of the vows exchanged. Then you hand them to me and I put them on the wedding altar until the ceremony is completed.

Your personal vows written to each other in the journals really do make a keepsake memory of your wedding to be kept and even read on your anniversaries from time to time. It's a lot of work but a beautiful way to make your wedding more truly "all about the two of you." 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Set the Tone for your ceremony

Up front I need to clarify that most of the topics in the WedNewsDay blog are things that are important in planning the type of wedding we call "Pretty and Planned." These generally are 25-30 minute weddings that allow enough time to make the wedding personal to the couple. This wedding is often accompanied by bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests. Choices in this type of ceremony are almost endless but don't worry, we have 20 years experience as the Premier St. Louis Wedding Officiants helping you make your ceremony "just what you want."

Personally I think everyone deserves a 25 minute wedding, but I have learned that a fair number of folks really do want a wedding that is "short and sweet." so we gladly provide them.

Remembrance Weddings also does weddings we refer to as "Short and Sweet," or our WedXpress services. These weddings are 7-10 minutes long, not enough time to do much more than cover the basics. We do this with beautiful words but there isn't enough time or frankly enough fee involved for a lot of customization. These weddings are often just the couple and a few witnesses. Our short and sweet weddings are not "courthouse weddings." Our words are pretty and meaningful. Your choices in this service are limited 1. non religious or religious  2. With an exchange of rings or without an exchange of rings.

This week I want to talk about setting the tone you want your wedding to have. Again we are talking about the Pretty and Planned" type ceremony.

Tone? What is he talking about tone? 

Most weddings have pretty much the same tone.  In the past most weddings were religious and governed by the policies of whichever church was celebrating. The tone was SERIOUS. Today most wedding ceremonies are pretty traditional and serious.

Before I go further let me say I'm a big believer that a wedding and marriage is one of life's significant events, and that  your ceremony should reflect that.

But a wedding can still be significant and have a tone other than traditional. Weddings can also be very pretty, and memorable, even filled with humor. We do them all the time.

So think about the tone that represents who the two of you are as a couple. And we will gladly make it happen for you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Use Music to Set Your Wedding Apart

Use Music to
Set Your Wedding Apart
I'll admit I'm prejudiced.... I've been involved in music most all of my life.

For those who are interested in making your wedding stand out. Music can represent who you are as individuals and as a couple.

Most folks go with pretty traditional music. Same tunes at the same times. Those who add a little more include a singer or some strings. Same songs ....bigger budget.

For most of us (again I'm prejudiced,) music is the soundtrack of our lives. We identify with some tunes as a couple and many as individuals.

Using your own soundtrack you can customize your wedding music in a lot of different ways.  Add a mix of traditional and the music that reflects the mood you want to create, the jubilation that you feel, "your songs" as a couple or however you want. Use your dj, musicians or a capella singers to perform your music plan.

This doesn't have to be expensive. Most folks know some singers and musicians that could be pressed into service.

Listen to the words of modern songs just to make sure they reflect what you are looking for not just the feel. Need an example?  I had a couple who used traditional music throughout the ceremony. After I pronounced them husband and wife I introduced them to the attendees. Quietly building as they stood for the applause, " I thought love was only true in fairy tales, for someone else but not for me. Love was out to get me (heh, heh, heh, heh....that's the way it seemed. Disappointment haunted All my dreams.

And then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her
If I tried

I thought love was

More or less a given thing
The more I gave the less
I got, oh yeah
What's the use in trying
All you get is pain
When I wanted sunshine
I got rain

And then I saw her face

Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her
If I tried

Surprise then smiles....and a memory everyone at the wedding will remember every time they hear the song.

Want your wedding to stand out? Have a music plan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ecology Friendly Wedding Favors

Here is an earth friendly wedding practice I'd like to encourage and spread to others. I think it is definitely an idea that should be promoted.

I recently officiated a wedding (I also was a guest) where the couple was environmentally conscious. As the centerpiece on all the reception tables amongst the ribbons, flowers, and baubles were glass containers with tiny evergreen trees. There was a tree for each guest that sat at the table. The centerpieces were gorgeous, befitting the beauty of the wedding itself.  

There was a card at each place at the table. "Thank you for being part of our wedding. We will remember this special day as long as we live, and we would like you to be able to remember our day too.  Please accept as our wedding gift to you one of the trees in the glass containers which are part of your table centerpiece. 

Please take it home and plant it in an appropriate spot, give it water as it settles in, then watch it grow. Five, ten, fifty years from now you can look at the giant tree it has become and remember that you got it at our wedding. 

We hope you will enjoy our gift to you. We know the earth will benefit from the planting."

There were Yugo Pines, cypress, white pines, fir trees, junipers and more, a very nice selection. Each guest could select which tree they wanted to take home and plant.    

If the tree type you wanted had already been selected you could trade with others or pick one that was left on another table.

What a nice wedding guest gift. Ten, fifteen and twenty years from that special day guests who took home a tree and planted it will still remember where it came from.

I checked on line (Googled live tree wedding favors) and came up with some sources.

Prices start at $1.25 and go up.

Sources of Trees:


If we could do this at every wedding we could reforest the earth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Fight Fair

How to Fight Fair . Courtesy, Compromise and  Common Sense in Conflict
It's so logical....why is it so hard to do
Because nobody taught you how. Not just you....really, who do you know that has taken conflict training. Almost nobody has. That compounds the problem. Not only has nobody taught you....guess what? Your spouse hasn't been trained either.

This topic that has been written about many times and will many times more. The trick is to disagree (argue, fight) to resolve the quarrel without damaging the relationship. This week's blog is a compilation of principles taken from a seminar I did with Dr. Harry Bradley, psychologist and new material I have pulled from articles found in my additional research.

When you don't fight fair you add to the baggage that you carry around with you about your partner and how you feel about the relationship. And as I am fond of saying....eventually there is too much baggage to be made into matched luggage. When you don't end up with matched luggage it leads to separation and divorce.

Anger is our enemy.

Terrible words spew out of our mouths and our "winner takes all" attitude takes over. Often it causes us to be our relationships own worst enemy. Remember you can win the argument and over time lose the war (marriage.) Terrible words once said, may be forgiven because of your love....but it will never be forgotten.

Every Fight Has A Goal

If it's worth fighting about have a goal on what will happen at the end. Think about what you want to gain with the argument. Know where you want the conversation to go. Get an idea what you are willing to comprise. Focus on what will make the issue not an issue or solve the problem. Concentrate on a win approach for both of you.

State the issue.

 No "You " statements.

Be clear as to exactly what the fight is about.  Stop. Let's look at that again. Be clear as to exactly what the fight is about.  Stop. Again avoid "You did this." Express the problem in terms of how the actions made you feel. You are on firm ground when you talk about how you feel. You only make them defensive when you talk about what "they did."

Watch Your Language

Avoid following with character assassination, your amateur psychology insights, your psychic knowledge of what they were thinking have no place in fighting fair. Those types of statements are controlling, presumptuous and very damaging to your relationship's future.

Keep the argument on topic

The problems that define the fight are best not put out there as you did this" statements Put things in terms of how whatever happened....How does it make you feel?

I can't say this enough. Keep talking about what the fight is about. Avoid tearing down your partner personally

Listen don't plan

Listen carefully to what your partner is saying without interrupting or thinking about what you are going to say. Show the other person you are paying attention.  One word notes only if you are taking notes.

At the conclusion of their statement, repeat back to them what they said as you heard it. Use their words when you can to make them understand you heard them. "If I heard you correctly, you said ."

Keep Down the Volume and Speed

When we're angry we tend to get louder and faster in our communication. Our heart rate gets up and so does our's an automatic reaction.  Screaming at each other almost unintelligibly isn't a relationship building activity. Honest. No matter what you saw your parents do.

When you find yourself or your partner being too loud....stop and slow the pace and volume down they will follow. It's almost as automatic.

Don't keep going back to old issues and old hurts.

Most everybody has a tough time staying with the current fight. If you manage to avoid attacking your partner with character assassinations on them personality it's half the battle?

The other half that trips most couples up is bringing up old issues and old hurts and inserting them into the current argument. You really can't fix what happened before that didn't get fixed. Concentrate on the here and now. Something you can get fixed.

Everybody Gets Equal Time

Just like the Presidential Debates, everybody gets a turn to speak without interruption.   Very important. Without Interruption. See Listen Not Plan above.... Now we have Listen Not Plan or Interrupt.

Save the Anger for Big Stuff

Not every issue deserves equal anger. Lots of things can be confronted and resolved without being in Maximum Anger Mode.
Lose the desire to deliver ultimatums and vent your anger.

No physical or emotional abuse

I shouldn't have to include's just not permissible and obvious,  but will be critiqued if I don't.

Sometimes its good to take a break

Sometimes things get heated and nobody is budging and bad habits of arguing are begining to take over the argument. Take a break.

Give your mind AND your body a chance to slow down.

Take the time to think about the other person's viewpoint and think of possible ways including compromise to solve the issue.

How long. If you have to take a break then break for at least a half hour. It's best though if you don't wait too long. I think 24 hours more or less is as long as I would put off trying to come to a solution.