The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

345 – Writing wedding vows

345 Writing Wedding Vows - The Adelaide Show Podcast

I choose you: Writing wedding vows with Tim and Jade

Weddings have been disrupted during Covid, but despite the hurdles, many couples have still been tying the knot in South Australia, including Tim and Jade, our special guests in this episode of The Adelaide Show.

They got married last year in an outdoor ceremony and their vows were so different from the ones usually heard, that we asked them to join us to share their thinking and writing process – and to check on their marriage progress, to date.

In the feature photo, you see Steve on the right, with David Olney next to him (from Blind Insights with David Olney – the podcast Tim features in and edits), then Tim, and then Andy and Liam from the Auscast Network, which hosts this podcast.

Tim and Jade are both vegan, so for the SA Drink Of The Week this week we chose one of their go-to wines. It’s made by Yalumba.

And in the Musical Pilgrimage, we finish off with a live performance of a song by Siberian Tiger, from the radionotes podcast with John Murch (a superb, South Australian podcast).

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Running Sheet: Writing wedding vows

00:00:00 Intro

Introduction to the show.

00:02:53 SA Drink Of The Week

This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is a 2019 Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache from the Barossa Valley. We chose it because it’s one of Tim and Jade’s go-to red wines, fitting in with their vegan lifestyle.

00:09:23 Writing wedding vows

One of the great writers and wits, Oscar Wilde, references marriage in many books and plays and two of these quotes seem to be contradictory: The proper basis for marriage is a mutual misunderstanding. The other: Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. Back in October last year, 2021, a friend of mine, Tim Whiffen, married Jade Schulz, down on the outskirts of McLaren Vale at McCarthy’s Orchard. What struck me about this wedding more than any others I had attended, was the quality of the writing in the service and in the vows. Of course, when you have two philosophers getting married, I guess one’s expectations should be high. Jade and Tim, welcome to The Adelaide Show podcast.

Let’s deal with a few Oscar Wilde quotes. Tim, if you had to choose, which would be the better basis for marriage: mutual misunderstanding, or conversation?

Jade, your thoughts?

Another great writer in the world of romance, is Jane Austen, and perhaps Pride and Prejudice is considered one of the great romance novels of all time. One of the themes running throughout is the desperate and calculating nature of marriage and how Elizabeth keeps getting marriage proposals from Mr Collins. So much so, that at one point the story goes like this:
“Really, Mr. Collins,’ cried Elizabeth with some warmth, ‘you puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one.”
Who asked who to marry?

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran is listed everywhere online as the number one bridal waltz (what did you use). I would like to interrogate the lyrics briefly.

And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

How did you two meet and strike up a romantic interest?

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

Is love something can be “found”?

We are going to look at your vows now. And as a prelude, I found these writing wedding vows tips from Let’s see what you think about them.

  1. Say “I love you.”
  2. Tell your partner you’ll be there through thick and thin.
  3. Share personal stories.
  4. Actually make promises.
  5. Acknowledge the support you’ll need from others.

They also offered tips about writing them.

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute. Plan to have your vows written three weeks before your wedding.
  2. Make a list of all your thoughts.
  3. Write up to three drafts.
  4. Don’t try to include everything.
  5. Avoid words like “always” and “never.”
  6. Embrace sentimentality.
  7. Go after laughter.
  8. Get inspired by books, songs, movies, and poems.
  9. Practice reading out loud.
  10. Indicate pauses and intonation.
  11. Ask a trusted friend to listen.
  12. Make a fresh copy of your vows for the ceremony.
  13. Keep the vows a secret from your partner until the ceremony.

In fact, let’s listen to them. Jade, you read yours first, so let’s listen first:

Tim, you are truly my best friend, the person I want to share every important moment with, good or bad. You are the person I want to share ridiculous jokes with and to do weird dances in the kitchen with for no reason. I feel so incredibly lucky to have found someone who is so genuinely kind, caring and thoughtful. You don’t hesitate to go out of your way to make the important people around you feel loved and valued, and I think that is such a beautiful quality. I love how passionate you are about the things you care about, and how much you love to learn and grow as a person. I am so unbelievably proud of you and I promise to make you proud too. We both know that I am absolutely terrible at making decisions, indecisive is an understatement, but one decision I am so confident in, is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

I don’t believe in fairy tales, but I do know that when I am with you I feel a sense of stability, comfort, acceptance and love that I never knew existed before I met you. I know that special moments in our life have been made so much better by sharing them together, and that we are both prepared to work on and grow our relationship for the rest of our lives, and honestly I can’t imagine anything better.

I feel so fortunate to be able to love someone who enriches my life in so many ways, and cannot express how excited I am to marry you. Tim, I promise to always support and encourage you, to care for you and celebrate with you. I promise to value our differences as much as our common ground. And I promise to always be grateful that you eat all the yucky flavours of skittles and save the green ones for me.

Today I stand in front of the people who mean the most to us and say, I choose you. I choose you over all others, I choose you to laugh with, to cry with and to grow with. I choose you to love, and I will choose to love you every single day for the rest of my life.

There are three things, in particular, that struck me about your vows, Jade.

Tim’s nature of going out of his way to make people around him feel loved and valued. How did that crystallise as a quality to include in your vows?

Tim eating the yucky Skittles for you. What are the bad colours?

You finished by saying “I choose you”. Describe the nature of that verb. Is it once off thing, or is choosing an on-going aspect of your relationship?

Now let’s listen to Tim’s vows:

It is without doubt that we have flourished together, Jade, we are more than the sum of our parts, and today I stand here committing to this relationship, considering myself beyond lucky to have found that.

I have had many wonderful opportunities in my life, fortunately I was wise enough to recognise the greatest opportunity in asking for your hand in marriage. For all the knowledge and skill, I could seek to gain, I value this, what we have together, above it all. With all the beautiful and shiny things available in life, I am most drawn to your beauty, your nourishment, and your madness, because you are just mad enough to make things interesting. So, I won’t avert my gaze to the stars when what I’m most proud of is in front of me today.

My heart chooses you, Jade, and this life we have. When I wake every day, I do so with you in mind, when I dream a dream, I put you right beside me because what would any of it be worth without you? I could achieve many things alone, but I have achieved true greatness in love. My head can only kneel before my heart in its choice, and so I promise, beyond rationality, to continue to choose you, in sickness and in health, through absence and presence, peril and joy.

I will love you after every board game where you target me and win, I will love you through every late arrival to everything without fail, and I will love you after every time I have to give you directions to your own home. I trust that you’ll accept my love hand poured into every terrible or lazy meal I ever make, or the love I’m expressing through every annoying song I sing, and with the strength provided by our dearest friends here today I’m sure you’ll be able to accept my love and apologies after facing my many imperfections.

As philosophers, you and I don’t deal in the absolutes of forever, but any fears I have are vanquished by trusting you. Your patience in the face of my flaws tempers my insecurities and your graceful love enriches my very being. Just knowing I don’t have to face trials alone is halfway to deliverance, so it is you and I against the world, dear Jade, I love you, and I’m elated to be married to you.

Tim, some things I wanted to explore.

What did you mean by, I have achieved true greatness in love?

You say you will love Jade after she targets you in board games and wins. What is this a reference to?

You reference “graceful love” and not having to “face trials alone”. Is this a key point for you?

Questions from listeners about vows.

Craig Mitchell, a friend and a Uniting Church minister.

My question is about to whom the vow is given/addressed. There are family and friends as witnesses. Some of doing this publicly is that we are in a sense making ourselves accountable to others to uphold our promises, but also acknowledging that requires a supportive community. For some, this ‘accountability’ also has a religious dimension. ie being accountable to a deity, but also recognising the need for the deity’s strength. So my question is how this wider sense of marriage as a social and even religious contract/covenant with both accountabilities and the need for ‘a village’ shapes both the words and the intent? How would the vows be different in private? What are we expected to say or need to say because this is a public declaration?

My second question similar to above is how social expectations might negatively shape such vows (including seeing them as irrevocably eternal or even lifelong when that is largely the exception)? How do you take something seriously without requiring the impossible?

Third question: When do celebrants draw the line and say “I don’t think you should say that?”

Michael Mills, actor and writer.

Q: How is it okay that in some wedding vows in 2022, part of a woman’s vow is still sometimes “to honour and obey.” While the man doesn’t have such a vow? How is this still a thing? And yes… I’ve witnessed it recently.

A question from Colin Richard:

Do people still say things like ‘forever’ and ‘always’ and things like that? They’re lovely ideas, but we should probably throw in the words ‘I will try…’ rather than promising something so many can’t achieve (because we’re all human, things change, and we can’t always deliver on the original promise).

Your thoughts?

Let’s start drawing this to a close now. Perhaps a little more Jane Austen, this time from Sense and Sensibility:

“Lady Middleton resigned herself… Contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subject, five or six times every day.”

I think that’s a reference to nagging. Are either of you nagging each other yet? Have you learned strategies for dealing with such things?

And in Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick says to Leonato, “Thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife!”

Tim, is that good advice?

Thank you, both. Oh, and this podcast interview is me fulfilling my pledge made at your ceremony, to keep you two in check and accountable.

01:26:56 Musical Pilgrimage

In the musical pilgrimage, we have a live version of Call On Me by Siberian Tiger, recorded during their intriguing conversation with John Murch on the radionotes podcast.

The episode featuring Bree Tranter and Chris Panousakis, is available here: Siberian Tiger, radionotes podcast.

In the chat with John, Bree and Chris explain the rationale behind their choice of the Henley Sailing Club as the location for the video for Call On Me.

For The Adelaide Show podcast regulars, you’ll note that former guest, Glynn Nicholas, is one of the tango dancers who features in the video clip.

Here’s this week’s preview video

This week’s preview video is actually a snippet of the vows being delivered by Tim and Jade at their wedding; a delivery that prompted Steve to book them for the podcast.

This week, we are sharing the full interview recording, made via zoom. The sound quality is not as good as in the published podcast, but it is offered here if you prefer to watch interviews, rather than just listen to them.

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.

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