Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our Wedding - The Ceremony

For months leading up to our wedding, I was nervous about the ceremony and whether or not I would do the ugly cry.  Let's face it...crying in front of people has never really been my thing.  Crying is something I typically do in the bathroom at work or behind the privacy of my bedroom door.  But seriously, the older I get, the more of a freakin' basketcase I become at weddings.  I find myself getting emotional at people's weddings I barely know (cut to me on our honeymoon watching an older couple get married on the other side of the beach whilst holding back tears).  So you can only imagine what I was worried about come my wedding day, not just for myself but also for my fiance who seems to have amnesia over the fact that he did indeed shed some tears the night he proposed. 

So, having cried at my bridesmaid luncheon, and cried (a somewhat ugly cry) at the rehearsal dinner, and cried when my sister gave me a card from my her and my brother-in-law before the ceremony, I had almost made peace with the fact that my ugly cry down the aisle and during my vows was imminent.
My brother walking my mom down the aisle

Mother of the Groom

By the time our outdoor ceremony started, it was pushing 106 degrees....the second hottest day on record.  I was secretly thanking the baby Jesus that the boy and I had collectively decided to have a short and sweet ceremony lasting about 20 minutes.  Luckily, the humidity was not in as full of effect as it had been the night before at the rehearsal, or we might not have made it down the aisle.  I could feel my heart beating out of my chest as we all peaked through the door of the welcome center and watched our guests make their way out to the ceremony seating, and I felt it even stronger watching my fiance and all the groomsmen clear out to take their walk up to the front behind our pastor.  After the boys took their leave, me, my Dad, and my bridesmaids hustled our way out to hide behind the shrubbery and listen for our cue in the music.  I stood behind there listening to Miles sing "The Luckiest" so beautifully with Jeanie on the piano and felt chills run up my arms. 

Once the solo was over, my heart jumped as I heard the first few notes of "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri begin to play.  This was the cue for Brian (our pastor) to lead out the groomsmen to the front and begin the bridal processional.  When picking out the wedding music, I knew that I did not want to walk down the aisle to something completely traditional, but rather something that expressed my feelings in that moment.  When I first heard that song over a year ago, it gave me chills and the boy and I both agreed that we would have it in our wedding.  We had timed it out perfectly for the groom and groomsmen to enter followed by each bridesmaid, and me and my Dad at the crescendo at the end. 

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer....

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more...

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this...

One step closer...

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

One step closer...

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more.

As soon as I started walking down the aisle, I didn't cry.  I didn't even have the urge to.  I don't know what, but this weird feeling came over me like this was total normal.  I remember smiling a lot and looking at my future husband as I walked towards him.  When I got to the rows of seats, I remember looking and trying to remember everyone there and making eye contact with a lot of my friends.  It just seemed so crazy to have been to so many weddings and been in weddings and all of a sudden this was my wedding.  It was like I was surprised that all these people turned out for 'lil old us! 

When I got up next to the boy I remember looking at him a lot and trying very hard to concentrate on what Brian was saying so I didn't miss anything.  At one point, I heard him ask "Who presents this Woman..." and heard my Dad reply, "Her mother and I."  He kissed me on the cheek and sat down.  I took my love's hand and he whispered, "You look so beautiful."  That part I vividly remember. 

When we were planning our wedding ceremony, I wanted to have moments that I would remember clearly years from now.  We spoke with our pastor about having an opportunity to turn and face our guests during our ceremony while they all agreed to help lift us up and guide us on our journey of marriage...a moment it will be hard to forget. 

In all the months of planning and pondering on what our ceremony would include, I read through scores of bible verses trying to find the one that would best encompass all the thoughts and feelings and expectations we had regarding our marriage.  For some reason, nothing seemed quite right.  I moved on to love stories and poems and again fell short.  It wasn't until I came across an excerpt from "Union" by Robert Fulghum that we felt we had found exactly what we were looking for.  I asked my bridesmaid and dear friend Miranda to read it for us right before we began our vows.

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

Everytime I read that, it gives me chills....for us, these words so perfectly explained everything we felt during our engagement and everything we wanted to remember about our wedding ceremony.  After the reading, we exchanged the traditional wedding vows, knowing that for us, that was enough. 

 After our vows, we exchanged rings as I clutched my great-grandmother's handkercheif that my mom carried on her wedding day and my sister carried on hers, and I waited to wipe tears that never came.  I just felt really, really happy.  And after we exchanged rings, we held hands, knowing that one day our hands would be old and wrinkled, but we would hold them together just the same. 

And then came the point we had been waiting for...those words that start with "I now pronounce you..." and end with was kiss.  And it's still amazing to me that after a million kisses with this man, it felt like the first kiss.  And it was...our first kiss as husband and wife. 


Rachel said...

No way I'm going to make it down the aisle without an ugly cry. I couldnt even get through this without tearing up! So sweet!
I'm hoping to God I don't ugly cry. Or worse, the girls that are so nervous they laugh uncontrollablely through the entire thing.
Beautifully written and looks like a beautiful ceremony!

Bre said...

I did an ugly cry just reading that passage. It's pretty much the most perfect thing I have ever read and want to turn it into a wall print with our vows framed under it. Hmmmmmmm...

Teri Amerine said...

Loved sharing in your day - it was amazing!

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