Mark and I knew early on in the planning process that we would write our own wedding vows. But as the date approached, the main point of discussion became whether or not we would share our vows with each other before reciting them in front of our friends and family. We went back and forth on the issue several times during the weeks leading up to the big day, but ultimately decided to let them be a surprise. I can see how for some couples reciting handwritten vows might be a personal moment best shared between the bride and groom alone, but waiting until the ceremony was a wonderful decision for the two of us. The candor and the anticipation made for really a beautiful moment, and we still ended up making jokes about the same silly things.
I shared our best man Danny Langa’s moving speech a couple of weeks ago, and today I wanted to share the wedding vows that Mark and I wrote for each other…
My Wedding Vows to Mark
When I first fell in love with you, Mark, I didn’t know how to drive a car.
I had not yet earned a college degree, or received my high school diploma.
I hadn’t marked my 25th year, or celebrated my sweet 16.
I hadn’t gone to a high school prom, lived outside of my parents’ home, or tasted the glory that is a pack of Gushers fruit snacks, since my mother didn’t believe in such things.
I had never traveled beyond the great blue Pacific Ocean, or crossed the cold and briny Atlantic.
I had never strolled around the Silver Lake reservoir at sunset, ridden bikes by the beach on a brisk day, or had a Facebook page, because the social network didn’t yet exist.
I hadn’t had my first byline or lived my proudest moment or sipped my first (legal) drink.
But I knew I loved you with everything in me.
Now we have a home together. We have two cats. We have a yard. We have a view that makes you remember how marvelous life is. And I am standing here today, promising to love you with everything in me for the rest of my life.
To love that you are my best friend, and that I can tell you things that I didn’t think I could even say aloud.
To love you for being the most creative person I have ever met, and for constantly inspiring my own creative instincts.
To love that when you empty your pockets at the end of each night, without fail there is always a guitar pick on your person, no matter where you were.
To love the sound of your laughter, and to love how nothing makes me laugh more than your multitude of impressions, puns and silly dances.
To love that you will go see Jenny Lewis with me more times than we can count on our four hands, and let me fall asleep in the car on the way home.
To love how we can talk about our future together and that it involves animals and babies, music, art and laughter.
To love how your dreams and my dreams are our dreams.
To love how you make even the mundane and trivial bits of life precious and thrilling.
I promise to love all of these things and more. To love you with the same blind teenage fervor I did at 15 and the same passion that I do today on our wedding day, but also to use our maturity and knowledge to build a life together that we could only have dreamt of at 15 and 17.
We’ve grown up together and we’ll grow old together. You were my first love and you will be my last. There has never been anything more natural, anything easier than this promise we are making to each other today.
Mark’s Wedding Vows to Me
Back in October, your mom was telling me that on our wedding day, I’m going to be in such a state of bliss that it’ll feel like I’m hovering above my own body looking down on myself. But the thing is, that’s not a new experience for me—because I’ve been feeling that way since the day I met you. Since I first saw you in the drama building at El Camino Real High School. Since you dumped that entire bag of Runts into my hand so you could find the pink ones and then left me there with a hand full of candy. Since I got to sign your yearbook at the end of my senior year. And since you let me re-sign your yearbook months later because I wanted it to say how much you really meant to me, so our kids would look at it and not be disappointed at the nonsense I originally wrote. ‘Cause it was bad. I just drew stupid pictures. In my defense, I was 17 and had never been in love before. I didn’t know how to show it, or say it.
It’s still not easy. I can’t summarize everything I feel about you into one little speech. Luckily, I think we have a pretty good idea of what we mean to each other. Because we tell each other every day. The second we think of it. We don’t wait for birthday cards or special occasions to say how we feel. You taught me that. That when there’s something nice you want to say about someone, say it. Don’t wait. And not only do you tell me every day that you love me, you SHOW me everyday that you love me and that you love your life. You take nothing for granted. You work hard for everything you want, but you’re also so grateful for what you have.
And you’re patient. I don’t know anyone who is as patient as you are. I love how we can be driving somewhere, and I’ll miss a turn that sets us back another twenty minutes and you don’t say anything, you don’t get mad, or frustrated. I know it’s sometimes because you’re asleep—because you do fall asleep in my car a lot, so maybe that’s not the best example of your patience—but anyone who knows you knows what I mean. They know that you’re patient. And supportive and helpful.
You’ve helped me through more tough times than you even know. That you’re even aware of. Like my job [as an actor] for example. There’s a lot of rejection and competition. But when I’m sitting there, in the waiting room, I think about how I have something that no other guy has in that room. I have you. Whenever there’s anything I wish I had and can’t quite get no matter how hard I try, all I do is remember that I’m the only one who gets to spend the rest of his life with you. With your smile. And your laugh. And your intelligence, your way with words.
And your beautiful, beautiful face.
I love you, Ilana. You are my world. You are my home. It’s because of you that I forget how old I am. Because with every new step of our relationship, I get that same feeling I had when I was 17 and I first met you.
It’s like I’m hovering over my own body, looking down on myself.
Photos: Love Me Sailor