Tuesday, July 3, 2012

That Which We Promise: Renewing Wedding Vows in Edinburgh, Scotland

Months ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to renew our wedding vows this year for our fifteenth wedding anniversary. I thought, Sure, why not. (Romantic, aren't I?) Where will we have the ceremony? When? Who will preside? Who will we invite? Will I wear my wedding dress? (It still fit if I didn't move my arms too much.) Will my husband rent a tux? Wear his suit? Photographer? Reception? How far are we going to take this thing?

Overwhelmed by lack of decisiveness, as is our way, we pretty much let the idea go, but every now and then would revisit the topic, only we would ask the questions in a different order just to keep things interesting. But still, only squishy resolution to come to some sort of decision would result.

Time goes by and it's now just a few weeks away from our anniversary. By this time, we had reduced the whole plan to just going out to dinner somewhere in town. We felt like cowards, losers. We had to have some sort of inspiration, didn't we? We weren't that burned out, were we?

Then, on a Friday evening, both of us exhausted from our week, I said something like, You know, we really should go somewhere out of town for our anniversary. Carmel? (We'd spent our honeymoon there.) Washington? (We'd been wanting to make a trip north.) My husband said, Scotland? And I said, why not?

We managed to make arrangements ahead of time for a vow renewal ceremony to take place at St. Giles' Cathedral in Old Town Edinburgh, after Sunday services (which also happened to be my husband's birthday),  with one of the church Ministers presiding. We invited no one (how are you going to bring a crowd all the way to Scotland?), wore "regular" clothes, brought our little point-and-shoot camera and had someone snap a few photos. The reception was high tea with a couple we know that lives in Edinburgh that we hadn't seen since our last trip in 2009.

But the ceremony! The ceremony was 15 minutes of tears and high emotions that we were both unable to contain and, I think, a bit surprised by. Speaking for myself, I hadn't realized how much I needed and wanted to hear my husband recommit himself to me and our marriage. Although we have had a great marriage, I found myself thinking, He really does want to stay with me! It's not just because he feels he has to. (Sorry, Honey....)

We sort of floated out of the cathedral when it was over, feeling lighter somehow. I keep going back to that day in my mind, remembering one of the best days of my life, my new touchstone.

st giles' cathedral edinburgh scotland
Our 'little' wedding chapel in Edinburgh: St. Giles' Cathedral

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