SLOWLY BUT SURELY FINISHING UP THE WEDDING SERIES
Few things are more exciting than the moment you walk down the aisle towards your soon to be husband. And although, let's be honest, the party portion of the evening takes a lot more planning, the ceremony is the most important 30 minutes of the entire day....and it's the part you will remember.
Practicing for my walk down the aisle - in my mom's veil, sometime during the late 80s
I love that wedding ceremonies are usually extremely private and public all at once. In some ways, it felt like Dave and I were alone because the promises and vows were said by us alone and the relationship is exclusive to us. But, in a very obvious way (400 guests watching us), the wedding was very public, for all to see. What a perfect way to begin our marriage - both intimately and publicly. Our marriage is primarily a relationship between the two or us, but in so many ways, it's a relationship so closely related to other relationships. It's a relationship supported and challenged by friends, family and church community. We are truly blessed to have so many people who rejoiced with us and will encourage, challenge and pray with and for us.
The front of our "church"
I always wanted a bouquet of peonies.
When you get married at 29, you've been to enough weddings and been in enough weddings that you know what you want. It's not like I planned for the past decade, but every time I attended a wedding or was a bridesmaid and heard a solo or processional I liked, I mentally noted it. So, when we got engaged, I knew (mostly) how our ceremony would go. Dave and I both wanted two preachers to perform our ceremony - one from his church, one from mine. We wanted traditional vows. We didn't want a unity candle. Although we wanted a religious ceremony, we weren't set on having it a church (thus we had it at the warehouse where the reception was going to be) We wanted conservative music (okay, I wanted conservative music, Dave wanted Journey, but I won that debate......)
And so the ceremony went mostly how I always envisioned it -- and probably not too differently than most other ceremonies. As I have shared earlier, we were very nontraditional about many things, but when it came down to the important stuff, we were pretty traditional - and the ceremony went just I had planned. Piano and Violin. Congregational Hymn. Christian and classical music. Presbyterian vows. The cutest little ring bearer who was promptly escorted out by my sister's in laws. An adorable flower girl carrying a "hear comes the bride" sign. Girls in blue dresses with gorgeous green flowers. A bridal bouquet of peonies like I always wanted.
This pretty lady got married 6 months to the day after our wedding....and
thankfully for her, I did not sing in her wedding.
My friend Madison married this pretty lady several years ago and since I first heard her
play her violin at church, I knew one day I wanted her to play in my wedding.
My niece did her flower girl duties perfectly. She's
been in several weddings now -- she is an expert!
SO SO Excited to walk down the aisle.
This would have been a great pic if my dad had looked!
We had an actual homily, not just a few sentences of advice (although the homily was cut a little shorter than I wanted...due to a certain someone's nerves that day....) It was important to me that our service be a worship service, a presentation of the gospel, so I wanted something meaty, not just a couple quotes and then vows.
I'll never forget Dave's nerves on our wedding day. He was absolutely adorable. I was the opposite -- mostly calm or jittery with excitement, but Dave looked like he was about to pass out at any moment. I asked him if he was nervous or having second thoughts and he said he was certain of me, but anxious because it was such a big step, such a serious moment and we shouldn't take it lightly. I love that he was thinking about our commitment and vows, not just the party, and that he understood the seriousness of the day. (Sidenote: he was also nervous about standing in front of so many people!)
And although we had done a super early first look and then a first look, walking down the aisle was still so incredibly special. So much emotion and gratitude. Seeing my precious groom at the end of the aisle -with his pretty blue eyes and nervous look. Trying to hold back tears each step of the way. Holding tightly to my daddy's arm. Silently repeating "thank you, thank you" over and over as an unavoidable prayer of gratitude to God for this blessing I do not deserve. Catching Dave's eyes during the service, smiling at him and seeing him finally start to relax.
I love this picture. This man makes me so happy.
First married kiss
One of the sweetest parts of the day was when we walked back down the aisle, finished with the ceremony and being showered with confetti, and Dave grabbed me, kissed me and said, "We're married" His demeanor changed for the rest of the evening. Preparing for such a commitment was serious and caused nervousness, but once the commitment was made, he was no longer so nervous. My father in law then found us and gave me a huge hug and welcome to the family -- followed by my mother who hugged me and said "I told you so" (aka, I told you that you would get married one day), followed by, "I've been waiting for years to tell you that." A little motherly commentary, that's all.
Confetti was thrown at us as we left.
Hugging my Father in Law right after the ceremony
Final thoughts on our ceremony: The theme of the ceremony was God's faithfulness, complete with the solo, "He's always been Faithful" and verse: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) As thrilled as I was to marry Dave, I wanted to remember that it was God who had been faithful to us. A wedding is almost always a happy occasion, a time to rejoice, a picture of God's faithfulness and goodness, but for me personally, it was a reminder that the Lord redeems horrible circumstances and "restores what the locusts have eaten." God is faithful to me daily, but walking down the aisle was personally, a very real tangible picture of his faithfulness to restore, heal, redeem!
Before my wedding, a friend who had recently been through some hard circumstances told me she found encouragement is seeing how the Lord was faithful and brought redemption in my life because it meant He could redeem hard things in her life time. That was probably one of the most touching things any one has ever said to me....I want my life to be a testimony for our faithful Lord. And, goodness, sometimes wouldn't we all choose a different testimony, one with fewer tears and painful moments, but the hard things he brings us through can be used to show His goodness and glory. That was what I hoped people saw as I walked down the aisle to my sweet groom: not just a happy bride and nervous groom, but God's faithfulness to me and to Dave. Through heartbreak and brokenness and in many many joyful times, the Lord has remained by my side -- and continues to do so in marriage.