Vows. Four letters, but the biggest part of your wedding day. Whether you’re writing your own vows or saying the traditional ones, these are the promises that start off your marriage. Writing your own vows is stressful and nerve wracking. It can be difficult to know what to say–so we did a little research!
Since we are both English majors, the place that makes most sense to start is in literature. Some of the greatest creative minds have said wonderful things about marriage, love, and experience that you may want to use on your wedding day. These quotes are great for vows or for readings on the big day!
Here are some of our favorites!
“I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom, and carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I know no other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you; so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.”
Tiny Beautiful Things
“My mother’s last word to me clanks inside me like an iron bell that someone beats at dinnertime: love, love, love, love, love. … Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters most to say it, you will.
“We’re all going to die, Johnny. Hit the iron bell like it’s dinnertime.”
“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”
“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”
A History of Love
“Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair.
“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
South of the Border, West of the Sun
“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star.
It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago.
Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”
“Lying under such a myriad of stars. The sea’s black horizon. He rose and walked out and stood barefoot in the sand and watched the pale surf appear all down the shore and roll and crash and darken again. When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different.”
The Princess Bride
“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches…I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids…
“I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. What it backward? You love I.
“I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen. Every time you said, ‘Farm Boy, do this’, you though I was answering, ‘As you wish’, but that’s only because you were hearing wrong. ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard.”
Everything is Illuminated
Jonathan Safran Foer
“I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.”
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
“All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged–after all, what’s good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it’s a lie. The story is about to begin, and everyday will be a new piece of the plot.”
“What is the beginning? Love.
What the course. Love still.
What the goal. The goal is love.
On a happy hill.
“Is there nothing then but love?
Search we sky or earth
There is nothing out of Love
Hath perpetual worth:
All things flag but only Love,
All things fail and flee;
There is nothing left but Love
Worthy you and me.”
And an extra from a movie 🙂
Shall We Dance
“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'”
Let us know what you think? Would you use any of these quotes in your wedding or do you have a different, perfect quote?