Wedding: The Ceremony

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Now, for my favorite part of the day…the ceremony! Chet and I chose to walk down the aisle together. So, here we are gearing up for the processional. When I saw these pictures I did a serious *face-palm* when I realized I’m holding my bouquet at heart-level when just moments before the ceremony my mom had coached me on their proper positioning down by the belly button. Whoops!

In any case, I loved this moment right before the music cued up. The lighting was exactly how I pictured it and it felt so heart-warming to have so many important people from my life under one roof.

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My talented sister graciously provided all the musical accompaniment for the ceremony. She has a voice like an angel and learned how to play all our music requests on the ukulele! We entered to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.

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Our friend Ben officiated our ceremony. For years, Chet and I have looked up to him as a writer and speaker so it felt like such an honor to have him provide both these talents for our wedding. He walked us through each part of the ceremony with ease. And then gave the most beautiful address, equal parts funny and deeply moving, that still makes me tear up to think about.

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Finding the perfect readings was a challenge I happily welcomed yet hadn’t banked on being so difficult. In the end, we settled on three pieces that I absolutely loved.

First up, Chet’s cousin Maddie read “Mysteries, Yes” by Mary Oliver.

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous

to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say

“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,

and bow their heads.

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Next, our dear friend Adam performed “The Country of Marriage” by Wendell Berry. Spoiler alert: Chet and I both cried.

I.

I Dream of you walking at Night along the streams

of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs

of birds opening around you as you walk.

II.

This comes after silence. A man lost in the woods in the dark,

I stood still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,

like the earth’s empowering brew rising

in root and branch, the words of a Dream of you

I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer

who feels the solace of his native land

under his feet again and moving in his blood.

I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped

my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss

that lay before me, but only the level ground.

III.

Sometimes our life reminds me

of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing

and in that opening a house,

an orchard and garden,

comfortable shades, and flowers

red and yellow in the sun, a pattern

made in the light for the light to return to.

The forest is mostly dark, its ways

to be made anew day after day, the dark

richer than the light and more blessed,

provided we stay brave

enough to keep on going in.

IV.

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,

containing darkness: a Night of rain, an early morning.

I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:

a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,

the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life

that we have planted in the ground. I give you my love–and this poem,

no more mine than any man’s who has loved a woman.

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Then, my brother Andy read from a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son about falling in love. It lightened the mood and set the stage perfectly for our vows!

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so.

parents

Throughout the ceremony I relished sneaking peeks at our loved ones, especially our parents who were sitting right in the front row and appeared to be beaming!

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I was most nervous about our vows. However, once we were in the midst of reciting them, everything else seemed to melt away and I didn’t even notice we were standing in front of an audience.

Chet made a card using one of Corita Kent’s prints (I mentioned her on the blog HERE.) to write his vows inside, and quoted the work within the vows themselves. It was all very moving.

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Finally, we signed our marriage certificate. Our friends Ganer and Katie acted as our witnesses (and also held on to our rings until the big exchange ;). Thanks y’all!

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And then Ben declared that we were “serving marital REALNESS!” 

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And we kissed to seal the deal…

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And I SQUEEEED!

Our recessional song was “Emmylou” by First Aid Kit (which my sister does a beastly version of; seriously, you should hear it!). Afterwards, there was definitely a sense of WE DID IT…now let’s party! And party we did. More tomorrow!

(Photos by Sur La Lune Photography.)

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