So Much Love: The meat, part 3.

We said our vows, we cried more tears of joy than we ever thought possible, and we exchanged our rings. We had already included all of our guests with our ring warming, but we really wanted to do something special for just our parents. I attended a wedding a few years ago and right after the bride and groom said their vows, they presented both sets of parents with a bouquet of flowers. There were hugs and tears all around and it was the most beautiful moment I've ever seen in someone else's wedding to date. We wanted to do something like that - flowers weren't really the best choice since I was DIYing our flowers at a minimum and everyone was staying at the lodge the whole weekend (I mean, what would they do with them after getting them?), but we wanted to have that kind of sentiment all the same. So, after Kevin said a beautiful prayer to seal our vows and commitment to one another,

we turned our attention to the people who brought us this far, our parents. David gets the credit for writing this part, which Kevin read:

In days like these; when separations seem as common as the unions that precede them, it is encouraging to see couples that have stayed strong with one another. David and Laura would like to honor and thank their parents, J* and D*, and T* and V*, who have been strength to their children, and to each other. They also ask that you parents will continue to support them with your strength and your wisdom, reassured by your enduring love. Thank you!

and we went over to hug our parents - new and old respectively - one by one.

This photo of me hugging David's mom is the only one we have from this time - probably because it all happened so fast and the photographers literally had no space to move around and get the shot. But, I am glad to have this one.

Then, David and I returned to our spots in front, and Kevin pronounced us husband and wife!

We kissed, and the room was filled with the sounds of the most joyful artist I know - The Rocket Summer's So Much Love (and the title of my re-cap posts). Take a listen - you can't help but love this guy.

And we danced our way back down the aisle - this time together as husband and wife!

* Parents names abbreviated for privacy.
** All Photos by my dear, Sarah Shreves.


So Much Love: The meat, part 2.

So, we were mid-ceremony, our rings had been passed and prayed over by our loved ones, and it was time to seal the deal: it was time to say our vows, and, you know, get married.

Pastor Kevin read Mark 10:6-9:

6"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 7'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

And then it was time to say our vows. We had written personal vows for one another and hed kept them secret from the other until this very moment. David went first.

He read: "I vow to give you all of my strength, all that I can endure. I vow to do my best to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and as slow to wrath as I can be. I vow to keep you as my one and only, to speak of you fondly, to remember you happily, and to keep you with me.

I vow to seek the Lord my God in all things, to remember the sacrifice of His Son, and to possess the gift of His Holy Spirit. I give my entire heart, mind, and soul to Him, and what He returns to me for my own use, I vow to you.

These are my vows and promises, and in prayer and faith I will seek to keep these all the days of my life.

We decided to include part of the traditional vows as well, so as soon as he was finished reading, Kevin led him through the "I do" part. Then, it was my turn.

This is the ugly cry face at its finest. I could barely choke out the words I had written.

I read: "David, as I stand here today, I’m in awe and so grateful that the man who has a heart to love and serve everyone has chosen me. You are such an honest and selfless servant of God, and I am proud to stand by your side and become your wife.

Like breathing – like my heart beating – loving you is involuntary. It’s something within me that will always remain. I feel like I’ve always loved you. However, love is also a choice – an action, a very voluntary thing. Thus, today – in front of God, our families, and our dear friends, I vow to choose to love you each and every day. I vow to make the choice to put you first, consider your needs, and truly love you - as an action that I will live out for you – no matter what.

I promise to be your wife – your partner in everything, respecting you as the head of our house, and supporting you as we follow God’s awesome plan for our lives together. I will love God more than I love you, so that He can be always teaching me how to love you. I will say I’m sorry when I’m wrong, and really mean it. I will bring you chicken soup when you’re sick, hold your hand when times are hard, laugh like a fool when times are good, and never take our time, health, and love for granted. I will respect you, honor your decisions, and love you more every day so much so that our future children will never doubt our love.

I will stand by your side – your wife – today and forever.

I honestly don't know how I managed to say all of this - of course I had to shoot myself in the foot once more by making our ceremony so entirely perfect that it turned me into a wreck. I remember not being able to recognize my own voice as I choked out the words, and there were certainly more than one pauses to try to contain myself. Then it was my turn to say those legally binding words - "I do", and we were ready to exchange the rings that had been so lovingly warmed and prepared by our friends and family.

You'd think at this point we were done emotionally destroying each other and our guests, but no, we still had a few more things up our sleeves until we could officially be announced husband and wife. To be continued...

*Yep, all photos by Sarah Shreves Photography.


So Much Love: The meat.

In wedding planning we so often get carried away thinking about so many things - the dress, the guests, the reception, the food, the decor - and it becomes easy to forget about the most important detail - the ceremony. After all, it's the wedding part of the wedding. Without it, you're just throwing a big party - not actually getting married. Thus, I consider the ceremony the meat of the wedding plate.

David and I decided that we wanted to write our own ceremony. It meant a lot to us that every word that was said be for us specifically and that we shared ourselves with each other and our guests as much as possible. We spent some time outlining the whole deal together and then wrote out and chose specific passages that we wanted said. Finally, we met with our pastor and compared notes. He showed us what he was planning to say in our ceremony and we filled in the blanks, re-arranged, and shared our written passages with him. I don't have a copy of his own words and notes, but I will be filling in this post with the passages that David and I wrote - imagine some pretty great pastor wedding stuff in-between.

From the moment I came down the aisle, I saw David get teary. Seeing him cry made me come very close to crying myself - little did we know that we had written in the true waterworks to come soon. After Pastor Kevin said a statement about marriage and the Bible and a declaration of our intent, he asked my father to "give me away", and then he prayed for our union. Next came the ring warming ceremony. We wanted to give each guest a chance to hold/pray over/and bless our rings before we exchanged them. Here's what we wrote for Kevin to say:

As members of Laura and David’s friends and family, each of you hold a very important piece to their past. You have helped shape them into the people they are. Today, they ask that you also become a very important part of their future together. There is a reason we have public wedding ceremonies – not only is it a joy to celebrate this union with you all, but Laura and David also ask something very important of you. In addition to asking that you witness their commitment today, they ask that you support them, remind them where they’ve come from and where they are headed together, and continue to help shape their lives – now as a married couple.

Soon, Laura and David will exchange wedding rings. These rings are a visible and symbolic sign of their commitment to one another. But first, they would like to invite you all as family and friends to take part in the warming and blessing of their rings. As the rings are passed, Laura and David ask that each of you hold them for a moment, warm them with your love and make a silent prayer for this couple and their future together. When these rings come back to be exchanged, they will contain, in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is priceless – your love and hope and pledge of support for their union.

and, as the rings were passed from the back to the front (while sitting on the lovely last-minute gifted ring pillow, this song began to play. (Note: I cannot find this song on youtube or anywhere else that might allow me to embed it here. Please click the link in another window to enjoy the song for the remainder of this post.)

These photos of our parents and grandparents praying over our rings are some of my absoute favorites from our ceremony.

Oh boy, including the people we loved in such a way while listening to that song was such. a. bad. idea. The floodgates came pouring open. We were a crying mess. It was beautiful but so very hard to stay composed.

Once the rings were brought to the front and given to David's brother to hold, Kevin read "Union" by Robert Fulghum:

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 promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during 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 a wedding. The symbolic vows that 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.” 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, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.

And it was time for the real meat - the legally binding words that would make us husband and wife and the symbols that followed. To be Continued...

The moral of the story thus far: Writing your own ceremony is great and makes such a wonderful personal memory, but if you don't want to be a puddle of tears by the end, maybe don't include every personal detail.

* Again, all photos are by the lovely Sarah Shreves.


So Much Love: Walk of a lifetime.

Okay, I promise I'm alive. I really am sorry about my blogging hiatus, but it really was a much needed break. I have been pretty down about some real-life junk, and blogging was just starting to feel like work. Now, though, I am super excited to finish off our wedding re-caps, and ready to start blogging about anything and everything that I enjoy - I want to make this a celebration of the good in my days so it's a joy and not a burden. Anyway, re-living our wedding is certainly no burden, so back to the re-caps we go! I sure hope you've stuck with me throughout this break, because we're just getting to the good stuff - the actual wedding. :)

After we took family photos, exchanged gifts, and remembered my veil, David, our wedding party, our families, and I stood around in the pub adjacent to the lodge's lobby (where the ceremony was now taking place) waiting. I peeked out the windows and watched as so many people who are so dear to me arrived. It was surreal to see loved ones from all different aspects of life gathering all the way out in Julian.

My mom checked on the ceremony space (which I still had not seen set up) and on guests as the arrived,

and the men started to line up as my ladies probably continued to fuss over me and fix my veil.

Then, they began to pair up,

and, before I knew it, David and his parents left the room to walk down the aisle with my bridesmaids and his groomsmen in pairs close behind them while an acoustic version of The Beatles' In My Life (very similar to the one in the video below - click to play and set the mood if you'd like) played.

Then, suddenly, the room held only my parents and me.

It was my turn. The music changed (though I assure you, I was unaware of any music at the time) to a loop of the first beautiful minute of Ray LaMontagne's Be Here Now. (The edited loop was created by me very roughly on iMovie sometime during the week of the wedding or so. Again, you can click the video to listen.)

I was suposed to walk with both of my parents, but since the hallway from the pub was too thin, my mom met us when we reached the actual aisle. I'm sure you've noticed that none of these photos are from the actual aisle walk (What? The women's restroom sign and lack of seated guests didn't give it away?), and that's due to the fact that the room was literally jammed full of people. There was absolutely no space for the photographers to get around for good shots. Add the lack of good natural light and I'm impressed and appreciative of every good shot they did get from the ceremony. Anyway, pictures or none, we all made our way to the front, and it was time - for real, this was the moment - for me to marry the man of my dreams.

* Of course, all photos are by the amazing Sarah Shreves Photography.