(Cory & Tara sharing their vows privately – May 2021)

At weddings, it might be easy to miss for some—but what I love to take time out to listen to are the ways the bride and groom, friends, family, and guests talk about each other. Moments like when vows are shared or the officiant and/or wedding party incorporates meaningful prose in the opening of the ceremony. No matter how small, large, simple or extravagant—the words we use are a way to affirm and send newlyweds off on their journey as a married couple. If you’re about to get married or an officiant looking for something to say at a wedding and don’t know where to begin, here are some words you can incorporate into your ceremony or use as inspiration to craft something on your own.

These are 5 short poems anyone can use on their wedding day. Find the one below that speaks to you the most. If you do end up using one of these, please feel free to reach out and let me know how this helped you.

1. aerial views of emotional terrain

did you know
that tears have different shapes?
each, a microcosm of the collective
human experience.

if you put them under a microscope,
they shatter outward,
spiral around, fragment, meld
in accordance with the one who bears them.

like large-scale landscapes,
the earth and its forms,
and all of the common, yet
shining beings upon it,

they draw maps of the heart.

and love—
deep well of beauty,
as our souls coalesce,
these tears are the ones
most glorious of all.

can you imagine their shape?
crystalline structures,
merging and fusing, detonating
a chain reaction of beauty through
our veins.

as we become one.
as we mingle with glory.

2. agape

the highest form of love, they say:
this steady intention for another’s good.

like the way we know that nature heals—
the moss and the fog, birdsong on a
clear, cold morning.
steam rising hot off the lake.

of course
he lets us walk around in his imagination
to recover. because what better
place would there be
for us?

what kind of compassion
is like honey in burnt coffee,
or like, the deep soaking rain
after a drought?

the kind of love that

to take us by the hand—
despite our darkness,
along with our brilliance


3. constellations

the song we sing is one of communion—
our eyes reflected in another’s,
bread resting in soup
while the flames glow warmly
in the hearth.

to be in one another’s presence
is like holding a jewel, I think,
something like the sun shining
warmly on your cheek
after a winter of darkness and frost.

despite the murky depths
we each have to wade through
in our minds, the cavernous silence
of one’s soul,

there’s something that makes
it all a bit easier to bear:

when I see you trudging through
my shadows, gently
approaching the thin places
with me.

“you do not have
to do this alone,”

you repeat.

and so, we—
like stars massed together,
are meant to form these connections,

like constellations woven
into the sky.

4. i’ll hold a torch

like the sky holds the moon in its arms,
so I hold the shape of us now
and, like moondust in my hand,
the shape of what
we might become.

it has been said:
we will keep a lantern lit
for who we are today.
but i’ll tell you now,
I will keep a torch blazing,
through wind and storm,

like a beacon on a hill,
like a lighthouse—holding space for
darkness, for ships of the night,
through the rain that aches,
past the storm of beauty
and into the land
that lies beyond it.

for the people we’re becoming
and becoming
and becoming.

“it’s all to come.
for now, we’re still young,
just building our kingdom.”

5. something like birdsong

hope is like a clear star
in the purple twilight eve.
cold and silver.
like a gem beyond the stratosphere.

hope is like something
with sunlight trapped inside of it,
quivering and bursting
to break free in your hands and spill
out all over the room.

hope is like something that holds you
by the hand and leads you
through the darkening forest.
a guard against the shapes
that pass by from time to time.

hope is like the ring,
encircling my finger,
a glint of gold that travels
around and around
and has yet to stop.

hope is something i have to turn my face towards,
when i’ve forgotten the way.

hope is like birdsong,
the melody of spring,
a confidence that beauty is coming,
an oath that love won’t forget you.

Written by Lauren Elrick.

For more context about this blog post, read the first in the series “Relationship is a Dance With Tension.”

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