Monday, May 02, 2005

Do-It-Yourself Wedding Vows

In the '70's and '80's it was all the rage for couples to write their own wedding vows. While I've never personally been subjected to it, some of you out there have no doubt witnessed couples getting up in front of their wedding guests and embarrassing themselves with this kind of drivel:
You are the sunshine of my life, the star around which my world turns. I wake each morning with your name on my lips. I want to make you complete, to actualize your potential. I want to energize you the way you energize me. I love you just the way you are. I promise to always give you space to be yourself. I promise to be your equal, your partner. We will walk side by side, as co-discoverers in our journey. I promise to keep on truckin' with you down the road of life. I will give you the best of me, all of my positive energy, and I will always be open to receive your positive energy. We will be Peace for each other.

Well, if your wedding vows consisted of this kind of maundering, and you were permitted to do so by Fr. Feelgood at an allegedly Catholic wedding, guess what? You're probably not married, after all.

That's right. Using vows of your own composition, rather than those prescribed by the Church, potentially invalidates the wedding. Acccording to the canon lawyers I have spoken to, unless the self-composed vows are a fairly close approximation of those provided in the Ritual (in which case, why bother with writing your own?), they are quite possibly defective, thereby rendering the marriage invalid.

So, if you, or someone you know, got married in a ceremony which featured such "groovy" vows, it might be a good idea to talk to your parish priest and see if you need a convalidation.