I hesitated to share our vows at first, hoping to keep them as something sacred and special among our friends and family. Recently, though, I realized that to share our wedding without sharing the most magical of moments isn't really sharing it at all. (And, okay, I've also been hearing from some of our friends and family who would like to see them in print.) And so, the heart of our ceremony:
* * * * *
My best friend,
My brightest light,
My husband from this day forward:
You are the greatest, most magnificent man I've ever known.
You've taught me peace and charity, strength and integrity,
the beautiful bliss of life's most simple joys.
You've shown me what it means to be good and true,
what it's like to wake up each day with faith and hope and a fearless, grateful spirit.
I love you for so many reasons, but I love you most for your heart—
Your true and kind and open, compassionate heart.
Our love has always felt both incredible and inevitable—a miracle that's meant to be—
And my most cherished blessing is to know that I'm yours.
Today, surrounded by the ones we love,
I vow to honor, inspire, and respect you for the rest of our days.
I'm yours, Radley, forever and always:
All that I am now and all that I'll ever be.
* * * * *
As soon as I finished, there were a few tears and a few whispered I-love-yous, then Radley turned to the crowd and said, "This isn't fair — she's a writer!" Everyone died — including me — and it broke the heavy, sentimental air in the most easy, perfect way. (You can see it at 4:44 of the video that Ben put together for us.) Honestly, though, leave it to Radley to make everyone feel so comfortable and make everything between us feel so real. Next, he shared his vows:
* * * * *
Since the day we met, I knew I'd be up here next to you. I've never wanted to fight for something more in my entire life. Now that we're here today, almost five years later, I couldn't be happier or more excited about our future together. I'm looking forward to every morning waking up next to you, every night going to sleep by your side, every foggy morning run, and every meal shared. I truly can't wait to start this new adventure with you.
There are a lot of things I can't promise, but these things I can:
I promise to be the best husband I can possibly be. I promise to stand next to you through every victory and accomplishment, as well as every defeat and setback. I promise to love you, support you, and encourage you. I promise to laugh with you, be there when you cry, and be your number one fan. I promise to be the best father I can possibly be, and most importantly, I promise to always find time for our love. You truly are my best friend, the smartest person I know, and my soulmate.
Today, in front of all our loved ones, I pledge my love to you for every day of our lives.
* * * * *
When Radley finished, there were lots of tears. He genuinely blew everyone away, both in what he said and the fact that he'd actually memorized it all. (Seriously, though, that's a lot to remember during one of the most emotional, incredible moments of your life!) The best part? When we turned back to our friends and family, all 175 of them, everything felt so intimate. As strange as it seems, it felt as if there were just ten of us there in the grove. I looked around at all the faces — everyone I've ever loved, everyone he's ever loved — and I felt overwhelmed, buoyed by all the joy.
(Photo by Cooper Carras)