Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wedding Vows

This weekend I photographed a beautiful wedding. Usually the ceremony moves so quickly I only have time to think about shutter speeds and f-stops, but this was a Catholic ceremony and they are very long so I had a little time to think. I watched as family and friends gathered around to support the commitment of two beautiful souls to one another. I listened as the priest talked about love and honor. I was nearly moved to tears as they exchanged vows and rings.

Once the ceremony was over and the photos were taken we headed to the reception. As I followed the trail of cars I thought more about the ceremony and what it means to join with another human being for the rest of your life. I thought about a small outdoor ceremony that took place ten years ago this November and about the words that were spoken then. We repeated the sacred words "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health till death do we part." without having a clue what life would throw at us.

I thought about the couple we were then. Like most couples we entered marriage with high hopes and big dreams. I won't say that we were blind to the possibility of worse, poorer, and sickness, but who really gives that much thought on their wedding day? When you are young you imagine yourself to be invincible. We understood the weight of our words, but they were not reality. They were hypothetical.

Then I thought about the couple we are now and how the last ten years have changed us. I thought about what those vows would mean if we were to say them today. We've lived through the worse, poorer, sickness, and a few other things those vows don't even mention.

I once read the words of a dad who said that when his children were born he knew it was supposed to be one of the greatest days of his life, but he wasn't really able to understand exactly why until he was able to look back through the years and see what having children really meant. I think that marriage is like that. You can appreciate a marriage, but you don't really respect it until you've lived it. Vows can mean something to you when you say them, but they become much more full once you're able to look back and know exactly what it takes to remain true to them.


Unknown said...

One of the reasons I love wedding photography so much is remembering back when Craig and I were married.

I also love the transformation of 'woman' into the mythical creature 'bride'

I love weddings.

Sandra said...

My favorite moment to capture is when they walk back down the isle as husband and wife. The look on their faces is so genuine.

aola said...

beautiful post, Sandra.
Mark and I will have been together 27 years in July, we have been thru so much together. I can't imagine having gone thru life without him.