JD and I didn't want the big fancy affair with ball gowns and a string quartet and waiters in tuxedos. Our goal going into it was first, to get married, and second, to make sure everyone had a good time. Aside from that, we had no lofty plans. Of course, we couldn't control whether our guests had fun, but we did our best to ensure that they did. We hired a musician that we enjoyed and had the event in a small restaurant that had amazing food. The inside of the restaurant was already a pretty space, so we didn't need to spend a lot of money on decorations. In fact, the only decorations that we bought were fresh flowers for our tables. I tied ribbons around mason jars and filled them with roses and hydrangeas and snapdragons and stock, all in pale shades of pink. And we had votives in diamond designed jam jars that cast beautiful shadows on the table clothes.
When it came to the actual ceremony, we wanted it to reflect us and not be canned and artificial. I wanted to walk down the "aisle" to something that had more meaning than the traditional Pachabel's Canon or something instrumental. After lots of searching and talking with JD and LL, we decided on David Gray's "This Year's Love." The words are so perfect and the melody is hauntingly beautiful.
Even now, the song makes me choke up a little
My colleague, Matthew, an ordained minster, presided over our celebration, and we opened with a congregational affirmation. All of our guests remained standing around us during the ceremony, gathered close and supporting us as they had throughout our lives. Each guest read the passage below as we began our life together.
We have come here today to affirm the joining of James and MaryBeth in marriage. It is our fondest hope that their separate lives may together explore new dimensions of love. We desire for them the excitement of new discoveries and new creations, that their lives may be an adventure together wherever they may go. We know that love is not easily achieved. We know that MaryBeth and James will find the courage and the patience to meet the challenge of a marriage pledged to honest struggle, open communication and shared lives. Finally, we recognize that love is not limited, nor can it be contained. Therefore we expect that the love they feel for each other will reach beyond themselves so that their lives will be lived not only for themselves, but for all people. In all that we hope for them we pledge ourselves to help and support them.
We wrote our own vows, and, after Matthew pronounced us husband and wife, every guest raised their glass of champagne to toast our new union. And our musician began playing The Lumineers "Ho Hey."
Finally, everyone was able to enjoy their food and drink and have a good time with family and friends. Eventually, when it was time, JD and I danced to the song he picked out, "Dancing Shoes" by Green River Ordinance.
My dad and I danced to "I Wish You Peace" by the Eagles, a song he picked. We invited all the fathers and daughters to join us about halfway through the song, and then the dance floor was filled with beautiful girls dancing with their loving fathers.
We laughed and toasted and had a wonderful evening. And, as a nervous, Type A bride, I couldn't have asked for everything to go more smoothly. even the one badly behaved guest wasn't my problem; my family took care of it. It was a beautiful day, and, while I'm happy the stress is over, I look back on that night wishing it had lasted forever.