NOTE: This archive only contains Carolyn Hax columns through March 2011. Her more recent columns are located here.

Carolyn Hax: Couple is troubled that minister shared their wedding vows

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By Carolyn Hax
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

Dear Carolyn:

We were married in April. Our minister gave us a stack of old vows, photocopied from books, from which to draft our own vows. None of them was usable. We did the usual love, honor and cherish -- but we added a part about being friends and partners, and we agonized for a ridiculous amount of time over which word should go where, editing until we both agreed the vows were perfect.

Last month we went to another wedding at our church and they used the vows we wrote -- verbatim. I was in shock. I am PO'd at the minister for giving our personal vows to another couple. He didn't give us any vows that had been used this century, so I guess it's a compliment, and I don't know what I want. An acknowledgement? A promise not to give "our" vows to anyone else? Should I let it go? I don't know why I felt so violated. I haven't gone back to church since.

Vows

I get why you feel violated, I do -- but this is kind of like when you introduce your best friend to your brother, and they go on to spend much less time with you now that they're spending their time together. You feel kind of robbed and angry, right? But, at the same time, you've brought real joy to people.

Your words, emotions, beliefs are being embraced by people on one of the most significant days of their lives. There is something cool about that. I suppose I could make an argument for your having your names on the handouts, so you get proper credit -- but there's something even cooler about being the unnamed agent behind all of these loving pronouncements.

If none of this is persuasive, then just go back to the minister and ask to have your vows removed from the stack of handouts.

Dear Carolyn:

I am anti-big/expensive weddings. I had a small wedding, borrowed my dress, let my sister choose what she wanted to wear as my maid of honor. Reception was at my parents' house, catered by family and friends.


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