Fortunately, Mike (a former priest who is now happily married) was terrific in reassuring us and laying out what the structure usually is while stressing how much flexibility there is. We finally decided with his help that we can do both. Have a non-traditional vow that we read to each other and then roll straight into the traditional vows. Sounds great but now I had to come up with something to say. Aaaaaa.
Fortunately Terri was nice about letting me stress all the while saying that it wasn't supposed to be a super stressful thing and that I could choose anything. I was flipping through various ideas and none seemed right. Then it finally occurred to me that if it didn't sound right then I already knew what I wanted to hear and I should just write it down.
Was that every a "Duh, of course silly" moment. Got a new window on the computer and started typing and had it in just a few minutes. A few more minutes of adding and rearranging and it was done. Maybe I am a writer (or just a good plagiarist).
I see the magic of your smile
and feel power of your gaze
I am awed by the brilliance of your mind
and charmed by your humor
and I know the love I feel for you is also
shared by you to me.
In this and in every setting
I give myself to you whole heartedly
With no regret or hesitation
To be a part of each others lives in marriage.
[traditional vows then follow]