Before I got engaged, I did not (you will be shocked to hear) spend any time on wedding websites. I had better things to do, you know? Important things. Things like, oh, I don’t know, pulling out my armpit hairs with a pair of tweezers.
(Um, by the way: I actually did do this once, and ladies, I do not recommend it. Not only is it ridiculously painful – way more painful than tweezing your eyebrows – but you develop a horrible stiff neck, pounding headache, and nauseau-inducing tunnel vision from all that close-focus staring at your armpit. You know, just FYI.)
Of course, now that I am engaged, I have officially popped my wedding website cherry. Yes, guys. I visited a wedding website. Even worse, I have become a member of said website, and even worse than that, it is not just any website, but the worst website. It is the grand poo-bah of wedding planners, the mother of all things taffeta, the all-high psychosis-inducing behemoth of the bridal internets…. yeah, I joined The Knot Dot Com.
(If I could, I would insert that pounding, “terrifying revelation” music here – you know, dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!)
Granted, I only joined because they make you do it. Did you know? You are not allowed to enter the hallowed halls of The Knot Dot Com without providing evidence – in the form of your email address, fiance’s name, and wedding date – that you are a member of the bride-to-be elite. God forbid any nasty, wedding-curious single people infiltrate the sisterhood! But still, join I did, even against my better judgment. Largely, I did it because I was convinced that I needed access to all those planning tools and budget calculators and vendor databases, all the things that one needs to plan a wedding, all created by much more bridally-minded people than myself.
As it turns out, of course, these tools are worthless to me – having been created not just by, but for, people much more bridally-minded than myself. (Really. I quit my bridal budget plan in midstep after finding that it contained a field for “pre-wedding pampering” that I was not allowed to delete. Fuck you, The Knot Dot Com. The only pre-wedding pampering I want is a mid-afternoon appointment with a bottle of bourbon.)
But since I've already sold my soul to the knotty powers-that-be, I now use The Knot Dot Com for entertainment only – namely, cruising its editorial content and chuckling heartily at the slew of guides, galleries, and other ephemera that its writers are hurling at brides-to-be as they plan The Most Important Day In Their Lives Ever For All Time. The ideas range from borderline useful to totally unneccessary to utterly batshit insane. Some are cute. Some are ridiculous. And some are just, y'know, funny.
Like, for instance, The Knot Dot Com Guide to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows.
Just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, I’m not knocking the idea of writing one’s own wedding vows. Variety is the spice of life, and people should be free to express their undying love for each other in their own words, and it’s nice of The Knot Dot Com to provide a useful template for drafting one’s wedding vows. It’s just that The Knot Dot Com Guide to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows isn’t really a guide, per se. A guide would provide jumping-off points, things to ponder, loose guidelines for the verbal expression of love. A guide would provide, in a word, guidance.
This is not a guide.
It’s a puke-worthy Mad Libs exercise from the champagne satin-ensconced bowels of hell.
Don't believe me? Well, here it is, the abridged version: The Knot Dot Com Mad Libs Guide to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows
(with useful examples)***
1. What did you think when you first saw him/her? Start from the beginning -- you didn't want to go out and now you’re grateful your friends dragged you out?
How to use: "When we met at ______, I knew ____."
(ex: "When we met at __the Russian Bath House_, I knew __that your buttocks were the same ones I had seen in my dreams_." )
2. What do you have now that you didn't have before you met? Focus on the heart and head, not material possessions. Has she taught you to appreciate beauty differently? Has he helped you learn to savor creating a home-cooked meal?
How to use: "Before I met you, I ____. Now I ________."
(ex: "Before I met you, I __was a virgin__. Now I __have herpes__.")
3. What do you miss most when you're apart? This will probably be something mundane but powerful; what about his smile first thing in the morning, or the way she puts out your "lucky mug" for your morning coffee?
How to use: "You are such a part of me that when you're gone, I ____."
(ex: "You are such a part of me that when you're gone, I __have horrific anal hemorrhaging__.")
4. What about him/her inspires you? What is it about your fiance that you'd like to improve in yourself? What do you most respect about your partner?
How to use: "Your ___________ has shown me how to be___________."
(ex: "Your __dad__ has shown me how to be __a better kisser_.")
5. What metaphor (or simile) would capture your love? Think of something that describes or defines your love: Is it strong like a castle? Peaceful like a mountain stream?
How to use: "Our love is like a ___________ because it ___________."
(ex: "Our love is like a __bag of tainted spinach__ because it _makes people puke_.")
6. Why are you entering the bond of marriage? Think about why marrying your fiance is so special. You may be surprised how the answer leads you to the perfect words.
How to use: "To me, marriage is ___________. With you, it's ___________."
(ex: "To me, marriage is __just a word__. With you, it's __a fucking experience, man___.")
7. What words do you associate with "love"? Make a list of romantic terms so you can avoid overusing "love" -- too many repetitions dilute its power.
How to use: "My devotion/adoration/ passion is ______."
(ex: "My devotion/adoration/ passion is __burning up my thighs in a most uncomfortable manner__.")
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I’m sorry, The Knot Dot Com, but this little article of yours is like a live sheep in a tiger pit: begging for evisceration.
***Bridal Mad Libs are for everybody! Got your own suggestions? Leave ‘em in the comments.