our wedding vows

When we first agreed to write our own ceremony, I thought “how hard can it be?“…turns out, it’s harder than it looks. After many months, a shared Google doc, multiple visits to offbeatbride.com, and (more than) a few bottles of wine, we drafted a ceremony that was, in a word (technically 1615 words), perfect. It captured the lightness & love that we have created in this life together….

dan holtz katrina hawaii


Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, of family, and of two people who are in it for forever. We have all gathered here, on this beautiful beach in Hawaii, under the brilliant sun, to bear witness for them as they begin their marriage together. That’s what a wedding ceremony is all about. Austin is going to share about the importance of ceremony.


You don’t need to do a ceremony to have a marriage. And when you think about it, the whole thing is kind of weird, right? You stand in front of your family and friends, looking fancy, wearing flowers, and say a bunch of mushy stuff about each other. So why do people do it?

Because this is a very special moment. Marriage ceremonies have been important in virtually every culture, religion, generation, and society since the beginning of human history. And, while we have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, this one is regarded as one so critical, so important, that we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with the people in our lives. In fancy clothes. Wearing flowers. Saying mushy stuff.


Thank you, Austin.

Despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It’s the great unifier — our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right. That’s why you both are standing here. That’s why you all are here to watch them stand here. In this moment, we’re reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity.

All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing — and others that are exciting and full of adventure. Dan and Katrina want to share how their story together began, and their vision of the unwritten chapters ahead. Dan, go ahead.


It’s inexplicable how sometimes in life you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be, at exactly the right time. And sometimes, that place even happens to be the lobby of the Holiday Inn at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. You walked up and I was struck instantly. The mane of untamable red curls, the snarky sense of humor, and those amazing blue eyes. At dinner, you were sitting across from me, telling stories about your life, and I was just captivated.

It was like I had been in this dark room for so long, I had just stopped trying to find the lights. Then, in an instant, you showed up and threw open the shades, and the sun just blazed into the room. I don’t know that I believe in soul mates, or kismet, or that people are meant to be. But, I know that you can meet someone and be instantly in love with them, because it happened when I met you.

When I think about our marriage, I’m committed to being your rock. Your anchor in the uncertainty of life.  In fairy tales, they always say, “And they lived happily ever after.” That’s not because life didn’t happen. Life will life you every chance it gets. It’s because they created happiness, even when it was dreary. They chose happiness, even when it was dark and stormy. I will be your soft place to fall. To quote your favorite TV show, “I’m your person.”


I will always laugh about the fact that I did.not.want.to.go to dinner that night. And I certainly did NOT want to meet “sales guy Dan,” as Colleen described. And then, when I walked into the lobby, and saw you – dressed in the same gingham shirt that I was wearing, showing off your fresh tattoo, with a smirk on your face, and a twinkle in your eye – my first thought was “oh man, I’m in trouble with this one.” What I said out loud was “I’m not sitting next to this guy”…

But I did sit next to you, of course. We ordered the same drink. We ordered the same meal. We finished each other’s sentences. We fell into a cadence of conversation that urged “tell me more!” As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “they slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”

When I think about our marriage, I’m committed to always showing up. I will always show up for you. Sometimes with chocolate & wine, and sometimes with tears & scotch. I will hold space for joy and pain. I know that we will have adventures, laughter, and magic. And we’ll likely have a little angst, loss, and mess. I’ll show up for all of it.


We’re all here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love isn’t happily ever after, love is the experience of writing your story. It’s not one moment — not even this moment. It’s every moment. Big ones like saying “I love you,” moving in together, getting engaged — but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments. Falling asleep next to one another, meditating together, catching up on TV shows, pouring a glass of wine when you get home from work… These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience.

You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You’re about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You’re going to vow to take care of each other, to stand for one another, and find happiness in the other. There’s a simple premise to each of these promises: you’re vowing to be there. You’re teaming up and saying to the other, “Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of.”


Dan, you are my best friend, my once-in-a-lifetime, and my “who knew??”. Since day one, we have shared an intensity that I had all but given up on experiencing. You are the calm to my crazy, and you definitely add a little crazy to my calm. You’re my favorite. You’re the one that I want to come home to. I choose you for all of my yesterdays, especially for today, the days to come, and past that.

Today, with you, I am creating the possibility of a life filled with fun, travel, adventure, playfulness, indulgence, mutual cheerleading, humor, laughter, lightness, ease, richness, celebration, excitement, and LOVE.

I promise to hold your heart tenderly and protect it fiercely. I promise to love & protect our Littles & our Bigs. I promise to be present for the silly and the serious. I promise to be your biggest fan, and to always be authentic with you. I promise to be yours and yours only.


Herman Hesse, author of my favorite book, Siddhartha, once said, “If I know what love is, it is because of you.” Katrina, you’ve taught me what it means to be loved, and what it means to love someone. You’ve showed me what it looks like, how it feels, and why it makes life worth living.

Today, with you, I am creating the possibility of a life filled with fun, travel, adventure, playfulness, indulgence, mutual cheerleading, humor, laughter, lightness, ease, richness, celebration, excitement, and LOVE.

I promise to hold your heart tenderly and protect it fiercely. I promise to love & protect our Littles & our Bigs. I promise to be your biggest fan, and to always be authentic with you. I promise to be yours and yours only.


Dan & Katrina, will you choose to be each other’s partners from this day forward? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely — for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?


I will.


My Mom & Dan asked the artist who created their rings to share her thoughts. Here’s what Sarah had to say – Katrina’s and Dan’s rings have each other’s fingerprints on them, giving them a texture that, coupled with a bit of faith that not everything is just as it seems, but sometimes can be more, will serve as a talisman to bring them closer when they are apart, to bring them reassurance when their confidence waivers, and to remind them how lucky they are when they are feeling complete and total love for each other. A ring is a ring, but these rings, covered with their unique fingerprints, placed upon their hands, are more than they seem, as is just about every aspect of love and marriage. Let these rings remind you to always look for, and have faith in, the more in your relationship.

Dan & Katrina exchange rings.


“May you always need one another, not to fill an emptiness, but to help each other know your fullness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with each other, and not fail in the little graces. May you have happiness, and may you find it in making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it in loving one another.”


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