Monday, April 11, 2011

Chasing Cars - The Ceremony

The girls were hidden away in our room, and the boys had finished seating the guests.  Matt's mom was escorted down the aisle by his brothers, with his dad following behind.

My mom was next, escorted by my step-dad, Jeff.

Then David came to tell us that it was time.  We lined up in the hallway.  I was giddy.  Nervous.  Excited.  Kinda had to pee.  My girls kept turning around and smiling at me.  David was giving me reassuring smiles.  My dad just kept holding my hand.  The boys took their places at the front.  The coordinator instructed the girls down the aisle, one by one.  Suddenly, we were ready.  The coordinator fixed my train and sent us on our way.  My groom was waiting for me.

photo from Karen

My dad and I reached the front.  We had decided not to do the whole "giving away" part of the ceremony.  It seems antiquated to me, and I am not a piece of property to be handed off from my father to my husband.  So my dad hugged me, shook Matt's hand, and took his seat.

[Funny story: during rehearsal, my dad sort of kept his hand on my butt when "handing me off."  I warned him not to do it at the ceremony.  He did.  I yelled at him.  When he sat down, leaned over to my mom and said "I can't believe I did that!"  You can hear it on the video.  You can see me laughing about it below]

Pastor Cindy started the ceremony with the greeting and a prayer, then welcomed our guests to the ceremony.  Then Matt and I said our declaration of intention: Erin, will you have Matthew to be your husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage?  Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?  I will.

She then asked our families to declare their intent to help and support us in our marriage: Families, friends, and all those gathered here with Matthew and Erin, will you support and care for them, sustain and pray for them in times of trouble, give thanks with them in times of joy, honor the bonds of their covenant, and affirm the love of God reflected in their life together?  We will.

The readings.  For the first reading, we chose Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.  We asked Matt's cousin's wife, Denita, to read it for us.  Matt is close with this cousin, and I have come to consider Denita to be one of my very good friends. Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overwhelmed, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

My brother-in-law was our next reader.  We asked him to read "Union," by Robert Fulghum.  It's a very popular reading, and it spoke to us about the evolution and development of our relationship: You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of committment.  At some point, you decided to marry.  From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way... 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, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years.  Shortly, you shall say a few words that will you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never be quite the same.  For after today you shall say to the world - This is my husband.  This is my wife.

For the third reading we chose 1 John 4:7-12.  Matt's cousin Beth read this one.  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love...Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Pastor Cindy gave the homily next, speaking to the power of love and importance of God's love in our relationships.

Then it came time for the vows.  If you want to know how I felt during that moment, read this.  Matt got through his fine, but I definitely didn't make it.  I gasped, cried, was hysterical.  And perfect.

Trying to hold it together
Starting to lose it
Lost it.  Tissues from cleavage
I love how you can see the GM reaching for tissues.  Matt told Steve to bring some.  He knew I'd need them.
Pastor Cindy, trying to calm me down
I, Erin, take you, Matthew, to be my husband, my partner in life, and my one true love.  I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before.  I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through the good times and the bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.  I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward, for as long as we both shall live.

We exchanged rings.

Matthew, I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

Pastor Cindy gave the acclamation and pronounced us husband and wife, and it was finally time to kiss!

Pastor Cindy closed the ceremony with the marriage blessing and the Lord's Prayer, a final blessing, and the dismissal.

Matt and I walked back up the aisle together.  Husband and wife.  Newlyweds.  Partners for life.

Followed by our bridal party, we were inundated with hugs and congratulations from all our friends.  Then we rushed back into the sanctuary to dismiss all of our guests.  I'm disappointed that our photographers got no pictures of this, because it would have been a fantastic opportunity to document all of our loved ones who made the trip to celebrate with us.

Once every guest was ushered out the door, we took some formal portraits...

*All photos, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Everlasting Images