Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wedding: Ceremony

I don't think anything or anyone could have prepared me for the emotion and accompanying nerves that flooded my heart before walking down the aisle on my wedding day. In an event planning capacity, a wedding is stressful, your own wedding even more so - and so the stresses of getting everything done, just right, were present for weeks ahead of time.

And then you're in the dressing room, and your sister is holding your dress, your mom pins in your veil, Dad is standing by smiling and the magnitude of the day hits hard. I was a blubbering mess before I even made it around to the front of the church.

We started late (as all good shows do?) The guys were burning up at the front of our pre-air-conditioning era church. Loving friends from far and wide filled the pews and the balcony. The organ player was in full swing first with "Simple Gifts" then "Trumpet Voluntary" as the bridesmaids made their way through the church.
AD_Wedding_027 - original
Photo by Robert Hubbard

After the parade of ladies, our ring bearer, Brandon, brought up the rear, with a quick wave to mom on his way down the aisle.

The music shifted, the doors opened, held by my smiling uncles. My dad had to remind me to slow down.

And then there we were, standing in front of everyone we knew, ready to seal the deal.

In planning a secular ceremony it's hard to fill up time and space, to strike the right balance of substance and moments of levity, to honor tradition while making the words personal and important to us. This is something we could not have done without the aid of our dear friend, fire chief, sushi expert and now reverend, Andrew Moschetti.

There on the night that we met and throughout the seven years that followed, he has always been a part of our lives. No matter what distance and time have come between us since our CU days, we pick up where we leave off.  Months earlier as we racked our brains for an appropriate officiant, it was Andrew's  status as renaissance-man that led my dad to suggest him for the post. No sooner did he say his name and we were writing off an email to beg him to accept.

He was awesome and gave us something that we will always treasure.

Readings also came from my dear friend, V., sister and D.'s brother and ranged from dinosaurs to Carl Sandburg. Moo and roomie, Jordan also treated us to a duet of 'Can't Help Falling in Love' that I wish I could share here. It's on Facebook for those of you hoping to watch.

The one passage I felt the most strongly about is not an uncommon one. From 'Union" by Robert Fulghum, it rang true for two people who had spent the better part of their adult lives together, and yet in a world of overly saccharine wedding readings, it still seemed fresh and un-cliched. It added gravity to that moment in time.

"You have known each other for nearly eight years, through the first glance of acquaintance to this moment of commitment. At some moment, you decided to marry.

From that moment of yes until this moment of Yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or on long walks—all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”—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 wedding.

The symbolic vows you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.”

Catch hands now and face one another to make your vows.

Look at one another—remember this moment in time.

Before this moment, you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last seven years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never be quite the same between you. For after these vows you shall say to the world:
This—is my husband. This—is my wife

While the reception and it's ensuing madness was designed entirely for the joy of our guests (and by extension us) I felt like the ceremony was for us, and for our families. I felt like the readings had significance to us and to the people reading them, they were meaningful, but not overly serious. There was plenty of laughter throughout.

D. and I wrote our own vows, something I had planned to do months before, but only really did the night before. What we said was in the moment, from the heart and lovingly flubbed. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

And then my favorite moment - for D. it had to be top hats, for me it had to be a choir singing 'Can't Help Falling in Love' of Elvis fame. Our choir was built of talented friends from across the country, lending their voices for a very big finale. He kissed the bride - their voices swelled and the joy was too much for words.