Mr. C and I had a non-religious ceremony full of personal touches and, of course, lots of love. After our vows I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, me and Mr. C included! We had so many guests tell us that it was one of the most emotional and touching ceremonies they had ever witnessed, which is always a great thing to hear when you have some unconventionally written vows and no mention of God.
You’ll notice that there are a lot of images of people smiling and laughing. I love this about our ceremony. It wasn’t all serious, and I think that’s an accurate reflection of the relationship that Mr. C and I share. We are silly, we joke around a lot—maybe too much! We don’t like to keep things formal, so I am so happy and proud to see that our personalities were so perfectly incorporated into our ceremony.
It was a brilliant spring evening in May. The sun shining through the pecan tree leaves, dappling the ground around us in dancing shadows. There was a serene, magical quality to this evening—warm and joyous. The love and support of our guests was palpable. I glanced out past Mr. C to catch the gaze of my brother who gave me a reassuring wink. I looked out over our guests, I saw smiles, I saw couples holding hands. I had to compose myself and remind myself to remain in the moment. It was time for the ceremony to resume after our reading from The Little Prince.
Todd (our officiant):
Eight years ago I met a shaggy haired guy who had many of the same interests as me. As a result, we quickly became fast friends and professional colleagues. We taught together, went to watch bands play, and mountain biked countless miles of trails in the beautiful woods of the Southeast.
As much fun as we had together, there was always something missing from Gavin’s life—a female companion, a better half. It’s not that Gavin didn’t date or that girls weren’t interested in him. The problem always seemed to be that none of them “completed” him.
Of course, that’s where Erin enters the picture. I can’t claim that I know Erin as well as I do Gavin, but I do know that she understands Gavin, appreciates him for all that he is, and shares even more of the same interests with Gavin than any of his other friends share. And of all the things they share, it is their love that brings us all here together today.
Erin and Gavin, this is the time you have chosen to become husband and wife; to proclaim your love for one another in the presence of family and friends.
The gift of love you share and receive today surrounds you, supports you, and makes you whole. This is as it should be. Real love is not total absorption in each other; it is looking outward in the same direction—together. It’s the confirmation you see in each other’s eyes.
It’s deciding to be best friends forever and each other’s greatest companions. It’s knowing that your greatest confidant and provider of security, peace, contentment, and true unconditional love is the one standing in front of you now.
Erin and Gavin, love can be one of the highest experiences that comes to humankind. It reduces our selfishness, enriches our personalities, and makes our lives far more meaningful. By its very nature it makes one want to give to another, and to feel joy in the joy of that other. Such love can call forth the best qualities in each of you.
Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them. It makes joys more intense because you share them. It transforms a road trip to Tennessee into the lifelong story of companionship and family. It makes you stronger, so you can become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.
Over the years you will learn that what defines your love today will change. You too will change. Thus, this ceremony is the celebration of a single stage in a much larger process that is the love between husband and wife. It is an outward sign of a sacred commitment to love each other through the happy times and the sad, the smooth times and the rough.
The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union. As the years pass the ties will be tried. Call back upon this day and remember the love that you declared to one another. In this way you will re-marry one another each and every day by making a mutual commitment to love each other, and to work towards creating an atmosphere of care, consideration, and respect for one another.
Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s faults, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope. It is always ready to endure whatever comes. True love does not come to an end.
And now for the big moment, that moment that you work and toil towards as you plan your wedding, as you reflect on your relationship and all of the amazing (and not so amazing) things that have happened in your life to bring you to this place. That moment where you try to package all of your experiences and emotions into words that, no matter how hard you try, never seem to adequately reflect how you really feel.
Having already declared your love for one another privately, it is now time for you to proclaim your love for all to hear.
Gavin, will you please share the vows you wrote for Erin?
Erin, I can still remember the first time I saw you and the way my heart fluttered when I noticed you walking down the hallway. I remember trying to think of something to say to you. Unfortunately, I was speechless. When I proposed to you I sobbed out the words through tears of joy. Luckily, today I get another chance to say the words that have been on my mind since the day I first saw you.
I love you for your beauty, your sense of humor, and your kindness.
I cannot even begin to count the ways in which you make me a better person or the ways in which the two of us make a better team than either of us would be on our own.
Though I’m not always perfect and our life will not be without its trials and tribulations, on this day I vow to give you my heart for always and forever.
I pledge my eternal love and faithfulness.
I promise to be supportive of all your dreams and aspirations, because they have become mine too.
You make me feel special and unique, so above all of my other vows, I promise to never forget how lucky I am to have someone like you who makes me feel this way. Most of all I promise to make you feel as special as you make me feel.
Wherever life’s roads take us I know that I only want to travel them at your side.
I love you, Erin. Always and forever.
At this point, I was so glad I have that vintage handkerchief wrapped around my bouquet—because I needed it!
Erin, will you please respond with the vows you wrote for Gavin?
Friends and family, I think you should know a few things about Gavin. I knew Gavin was handsome the moment I first saw him in the social studies hallway four years ago. I knew I had a crush on him a few days after we started working together. I knew I had a BIG crush on him when he drooled on himself as he laughed uncontrollably while trying to explain an internet joke to me in the teacher workroom. But most importantly, I knew Gavin and I would get married only two days into our relationship. It was a calm and certain knowing, as if the chaos of life had suddenly settled peacefully into place. Being together was easy as breathing (and it still is). When you find something that unique in this world, you don’t let it go.
Gavin, you are the kindest, most compassionate and hardworking person I know. You are a friend to everyone you meet. Your big heart knows no bounds, and the fact you wear your heart on your sleeve only makes you more endearing. You have the patience of a saint, the gentleness of an elementary school teacher. For all of these reasons and more, you encourage me to be a better version of myself each and every day. You magnify my inherent playfulness. You extinguish my frustrations. You are always interested in my many schemes. You encourage me when I feel defeated by the world. You lift me up out of the darkness. You nourish and embrace my soul. You make any place feel like home. And somehow, you still manage to love me for exactly who I am, which I know is no easy feat. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, thank you for staying by my side, thank you for always finding the good in everything. You are undeniably my better half.
Gavin, from now until our last days, I vow to be your best friend. I vow to love you, even when times are tough. I vow to use my inappropriate sense of humor to wash away your sorrow. I vow to stay up late making DragonCon costumes with you. I vow to tolerate your Gollum impressions. I vow to wake you up at 1:00 AM with quotes from The NeverEnding Story. I vow to quell your worries. I vow to always encourage you, to support you, to be the place you can rest your heart. Every hour, every week, and every year of my wait to meet you has been worth it for this adventure that we are about to start. I love you with all my heart and soul.
And just like that, this intensely personal moment that we shared with our friends and family was over. It was then time to exchange rings and share our first kiss as husband and wife!
Previously on the Camel Wedding Recaps:
- Getting Dressed & Exchanging Gifts
- Putting on the White Dress
- Our First Look
- The Ceremony Begins
- The Reading