anniversary week: our wedding ceremony
Jason and I did what we could to add personal touches to our ceremony – we wrote our own vows and prayers, picked out readings, and added our own fun little twist to the traditional “you may now kiss the bride” bit.
I was so nervous and excited for the ceremony to begin! Before I knew it, the ladies and I met my dad and headed towards the chapel.
My grandparents, our moms, and Jason’s dad made their entrances, escorted by our brothers.
Kevin and Peter escorted Debbie (and Jim) down the isle.
Robby escorted my mom to her seat.
The moms lit the unity candle. And hugged! Because they like each other! Isn’t that awesome?
Jason and his groomsmen/woman entered.
(he looks nervous)
Next, the beautiful bridesmaids and adorable flower girl and ring bearers made their entrances.
Meanwhile, my dad and I were hiding out behind the big wooden doors. I was trying my hardest not to cry all of the makeup off my face. My dad was trying his hardest to keep up his stoic image. I’m not sure either of us were very successful.
But! Then, it was time for our big entrance! Oh! The nerves! I plastered a smile on my face that our friend, Josh, accurately described as “I’m really happy, but I’m really nervous, and I’ve been crying, but this is still exciting.” Thanks, Josh.
My dad told me to just focus on Jason and ignore everyone else as I was walking down the isle, so that’s what I tried to do. Jason looked happy, really happy, but nervous, too.
Our pastor welcomed everyone, and then asked us to turn around to look at all of the people who will be there to support us and our marriage. Jason gave them the thumbs up.
My uncle Jim did the first reading:
“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?
Then, Jason’s uncle Martin did the second reading:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.
But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Our pastor then gave a wonderful and very personal sermon. It was especially wonderful that he shared pictures of the black eye that I gave him during my high school youth group days. (We were playing ultimate frisbee. I am very competitive.) Unfortunately, the message of that sermon was not “Do whatever she says, or this is what will happen.” Instead, the take home message was that we’re now a cord of three strands.
Then, it was time for our vows. I went first (I lost the coin toss. Seriously.). We wrote our own vows:
I promise to love, honor, and cherish you. I promise to trust and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you. I promise to be patient and loving towards you, comfort you in times of distress, and grow with you in mind and spirit. I promise to work by your side to achieve the things we dream of, and to treasure our time together. With these promises, I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward.
Pastor John had asked us to memorize them at the rehearsal. I was so nervous, though, that I forgot a few lines and had to be prompted. I completely blanked on the patience part of the vows, and when prompted, I said, “Oh yeah, I struggle with that.” Which is true. Everyone got a pretty good laugh out of it!
Then, we exchanged rings, and My Aunt Tami gave a wonderful (and emotional) blessing of the hands after we had exchanged our rings.
Blessing of the Hands
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
We lit the unity candle.
Jason’s sister-in-law, Amy, did a wonderful reading of the prayers on behalf of the couple. Especially the part where she prayed that the Phillies would SMITE the Brewers. (Jason snuck in a secret baseball prayer. Sigh. But the Phillies really did some serious smiting last year.)
We said the Lord’s Prayer, and then everyone read the Apache Blessing:
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you.
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one Life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth
And then, Pastor John announced that we were married and we high-fived! And followed it up with an awkward kiss, for those who do not approve of the high-five as a sanctioned marriage sealer. (I’m looking at you, Grandma!)
And, there you have it! We were married!
We rushed out of the church to snag some bride + groom photos…