Monday, July 20, 2009

Part 2: Mawwiage, Dat Bwessed Awwaingement

Note: I don't have our wedding pictures on the computer I'm using, so I'll just give you the story for now. Pictures will come later.

The wedding was now. My dad rounded the stairs, saw me there in veil and gown, and my hold-it-together, no-nonsense dad promptly burst into tears. He kissed me, told me I looked beautiful, and promised me that Jonny would be stunned. Oh, my sweet dad, that was a hard moment. The bridesmaids ALL started crying and grabbing tissues, and I desperately held off the tears so as not to ruin my makeup. We weren't even downstairs yet.

With a start, we realized that the groomsmen were heading to the beach, and that was bad news for us. We had instructed our high tech sound guy, A.K.A. usher Jesse recruited at rehearsal, to start the processional music as soon as the groomsmen were in place. That meant we women had to be far enough behind the groomsmen that they wouldn't see us walking toward the beach but close enough to the groomsmen that we would be in place behind a sand dune as soon as the music started. The groomsmen were already out the door, meaning we were late, meaning my 10-hour early arrival time was all for naught, meaning the processional would start and there would be no one there to process. Eek!

We rushed downstairs in a flurry of silk and tulle and pressed our noses to the windows to watch the groomsmen. All was saved; they had left the building, but they were standing just outside the house. We would be on time. We grabbed our nearly forgotten bouquets of simple white flowers and watched the groomsmen start their journey to the sea. Then with a deep breath, we too began the trek.

The weather was gorgeous. The storm clouds that had been threatening all afternoon gave way to wispy clouds and sunlight. The temperature was warm but not too hot, and a light breeze had its way with my veil. We found out later that storms had hit thirty miles to the north and south of us, but we remained in the clear.

It wasn't the weather, however, that occupied my thoughts when we left the house. My nerves and panic had mercifully been replaced by a deep calm. All thoughts of preparation and details were swept away when I realized that the moment I had been preparing for had finally arrived. There were no more issues to wrap up, no items to purchase; I had only to take a short walk on my father's arm and then my beloved would take me for his own. That is a sweet thought, ladies and gentlemen. It is the culmination of years of wonder, and it is simultaneously complex and simple. No wonder marriage is so often used as an analogy to our relationship with Christ.

We used two songs at our wedding, one for the processional and one for the recessional. Our processional was Drunkard's Prayer by Over the Rhine that begins, "You're my water. You're my wine. You're my whiskey from time to time." That about sums it up perfectly, both with a spouse and with Christ. We chose it for the dual meaning, and it had the added bonus of being written by a husband and wife who had been through it all and come out victorious. By the by, I recommend the album Drunkard's Prayer to anyone who likes things that are awesome. For more on that, see Elizabeth's account here.

We heard the first few bars of the processional just as we arrived at our hidden spot behind the sand dune. The bridesmaids ordered themselves ahead of my dad and me, and one by one they made their way to the ceremony site. My dad and I were left alone, waiting, and we shared a few words that will remain in daddy/daughter land. Some words are too precious to carelessly strew about the internet.

Audra, my maid of honor, marched down the sandy aisle, and then it was my turn. My dad and I walked slowly, savoring our time together, and I drank in the music and the scene. I saw friends and family, so many who had made the long drive to attend, and then I saw Jonny waiting for me at the front. Dear friends, how can I describe the joy of that moment? My dad whispered, "Keep your eyes on him, Emmy," and I did so with pleasure. Everything else, and I mean everything, melted away, and it was just Jonny and me and a song. Water. Step. Wine. Step. Whiskey. Step. I stood before him, he with tears on his face and hands absentmindedly crammed in his pockets, and then my dad gave me away.

Our dads are both pastors, so they shared in performing the ceremony. What a beautiful job they did! Dr. Fil shared anecdotes, thoughts, and exhortations, and my dad did the vows and rings. I told Jonny just last night that there are a few things about our wedding that I will never forget.
  1. Jonny swayed side to side, shifting his weight from one leg to the other for the first part of the ceremony. When he said his vows he stopped swaying, and I thought he might faint from keeping his knees locked. When the vows were done, I whispered to him to unlock his knees. I credit myself with preventing disaster.
  2. His hands trembled. I've told you before that his hands shake and go numb when he's nervous. I don't think "nervous" is exactly the right word for his state at the wedding. It was more a matter of importance. This was an important occasion, and his body knew it. When it came time for the ring, he asked me to help him put it on my finger because his hands were numb and he was afraid of dropping the ring in the sand.
  3. The sun was directly behind his head when we said our vows. From my perspective, rays of light were shooting from his head, and I thought to myself, "How very theatrical." I had to sway with him to keep his head between my eyes and the sun.
  4. Dr. Fil cried throughout the ceremony as was expected, but at one point, perhaps during the blessing, a single tear perched itself on the edge of the abyss at the end of his nose, directly over the microphone he was holding. I wanted to take a tissue to it, but I thought it might be slightly distracting for the bride to leave the groom's side so she could wipe the minister's nose. Relief flooded when he jerked his head and the tear plunged to its sandy death away from the microphone.
  5. Jonny strongly emphasized "death" in "til death us do part." I believe him.
The blessing was probably the most meaningful part of the ceremony. Our parents stood with us - moms beside and dads before - laid their hands on our heads, and blessed us. I don't need to say much about this part, because I thought and felt exactly what you think I thought and felt. Here is the clip if you care to watch it; keep tissues at the ready.

The vows, rings, and blessings done, we had only the kiss and pronouncement left. A few words about the kiss: things did not go as planned and carefully rehearsed. I have this thing about making out in public in that I don't like doing it. I get self-conscious when I kiss Jonny in front of other people, so I was more worried about the kiss than anything else. In an attempt to quell my nerves earlier that day, I had approached Jonny to practice the kiss. He said, "Hmm, that's the one thing I'm actually not nervous about." I replied, "I am, so pucker up." After a brief argument about the nature of the kiss, we agreed on the pleasant, subdued, not-so-brief-it's-barely-a-peck yet not-so-long-the-people-vomit sort of kiss. We practiced it. I was satisfied.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that is NOT what I got. Jonny swooped in for a celebration MAKE-OUT SESSION in front of God, our parents, and everyone else. It lasted so long that one of our groomsmen remarked to another, "This is getting out of hand." I will not go into detail lest our friends vomit anew, but I'll say that this kiss was neither subdued nor brief. And as it turns out, I didn't mind it so much.

Our fathers together presented us as husband and wife, Queen's You're My Best Friend started up, and we skipped, yes, skipped down the aisle and to the dunes. We were giddy then, and we have remained so ever since.

(To be continued with the reception and send-off)

1 comment:

Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...


I scoffed. I chuckled knowingly.
"Ha!" I thought. "I cried the FIRST time. Bawled. Wept. Sniffed. All delicately and with great dignity, of course."

So I'd never cry AGAIN at that scene...

Drats and curses! Here I am minding my own business and not crying and not sniffing, and then you go and throw a curve ball.

I'm foiled again!