Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Ceremony

After ten months of talking, dreaming and planning, the time had finally arrived!! It was time to make our walks down the aisle and leave the church as a Mrs.!

Our guests quickly started piling in and before we knew it, there was a huge line from the front of the  church and all wall the way down a hall! We started a little late so that everyone could be seated.

Once everyone was seated, we began the ceremony. Our grandmothers and mothers were seated first while Adele's version of  "To Make You Feel My Love" played. 

Stephen's mom, bless her heart. She may have shed several tears during all of this. 

The guys made their way down the aisle two by two followed by all of our girls and the kiddos. Everyone walked down to Boyce Avenue's version of Coldplay's song, "Fix You." Haven't heard it? Look it up....the version we's magical. 

I'm glad I didn't see the guys all walking down with their hands stuffed in their pockets or I might've stroked out then and there. But realistically, I guess, what else were they supposed to do?

Then my best friends made their way down the aisle..and my sister apparently saw someone she knew.

Sweet Audrey & Anna were next. Of course they got all the "ooohs and ahhhs"!

The boys were up next with their chalkboards, and Colin decided it was a good time to start pouting.

At 3:19, the doors closed as one song ended and The Temptations song, "My Girl" started playing....

The doors opened, and it took my breath away. I took a sudden death grip on my dad's arm and we started our long together.

I was OVERWHELMED with the amount of people there! I fought back the tears and soaked it all in. This surreal moment was very much real, and very much happening!

The closer we got to the front, the harder it became to fight the tears. I started seeing my aunts and uncles all smiling and crying themselves. The room was filled with such JOY. 

Then, I saw my nephews and in that split second it hit me, Stephen becomes their UNCLE today. And that just about broke me, but somehow I still held it together.

Our high school youth minister, Mike, welcomed everyone and shared some brief words before offering a prayer and asking the all important, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man..."

Mike swapped places with my Dad and he took it from there. Having stood in 14 weddings before this one, and attending MANY others, there were certain aspects I knew I didn't want in our ceremony.

I wanted it to be light-hearted, yet heart-felt. I didn't want the traditional verses 1 Corinthians 13, no Ruth 1: 16-17. We knew those verses; everyone knew those verses. I wanted something special to us. And my Dad was the perfect man for the job.

He shared just a few memories and stories of us and our childhoods which brought laughter from the crowd. And then...he hit his homerun.

Dad's message to us was certainly one-of-a-kind. Two years later, people are still talking about it. I have had so many people tell me at work, church, in town, wherever that they loved his message and have it applied it to their own marriages. TWO YEARS later!

He likened marriage to 4 places.

Marriage is like: Kroger. (a shout out to the Stafford family roll in the Kroger company) You go to Kroger and get the items that you like. Then you get things your spouse likes. You put their preferences sometimes ahead of your own or compromise.

Marriage is like: Walgreens. You go there for's something you need. Go to your marriage for what you need.

Marriage is like: Wal-Mart. One day something will happen and it will cross your mind, "What in the world have I done marrying this idiot." (Everyone died laughing at that line.) ..."but then you go to Wal-Mart (insert more laughter) and you realize, it's not so bad afterall." (MORE laughter) But you go to Wal-Mart for everyday needs. Go to your marriage for your everyday needs.

Marriage is like: Disney World. No one goes to Disney World on a last minute decision. You plan for months and months. Then you get there, it's hot, it's crowded, and you spend every last dime you have. You come back home exhausted, sun burnt and broke. But you'd run right back the next day if you could! Disney World takes planning and does your marriage. Disney World is FUN...let your marriage be FUN...something that you look forward regardless of circumstances.

We wrote our vows together and exchanged them with each other.

Again, straying away from the traditional, I asked my Dad not to liken  our rings to an endless circle, precious metal, etc etc. Instead, he made a joke of my request and said, "I'm not going to say those things...I will say that these rings are.....expensive. You take care of them. Take care of your promises to each other today. Take care of your marriage. When you see your rings, let them remind you to take care of your promises today."

Like I said, he hit it out of the park!

A few moments later, we were pronounced man and wife!

As Dad introduced us to our family and friends, Stephen's brother Evan sneaked his way down to smack Stephen in the rear with an atta boy.

What I left out, was that not once....but TWICE. Stephen's phone went off in his pocket. The first time was early in the ceremony while Dad was talking. The second time was during the last prayer. And both are blatantly obvious in our wedding video. Everyone on the stage and first couple of rows heard it.

Turns out, it was an alarm that he had set for the week before. While it was set for Saturday, he disabled it but hadn't turned it off therefore, the following Saturday....OUR WEDDING DAY....DURING OUR CEREMONY, it went off again. So while he grabbed his pocket and silenced (aka snoozed) the alarm, 9 minutes later it went off again during the prayer.

We figured this all out later, but at the time....

(Side note: Since I shared songs from the beginning, we all walked back out to The Four Tops, "Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and Ben Rector's "White Dress".)

My new husband was CONVINCED that one of the guys had set it as a prank. As each guy came back into the foyer, everyone was being questioned, "Did you do that? Did you put an alarm on my phone to go off!?" No one had and we finally put pieces together later on on how it happened. Moral of the story: if you're the groom, don't have your phone on you.

The guys were instantly taking their coats off as soon as they walked out of the auditorium..they said they were burning up....but I THINK they were all digging the suspenders look.

It was time to make our receiving line with our parents and greet all of our friends and family before heading into the reception. It was SO GOOD to see so many friends we hadn't seen in such a long time. We felt honored that so many had come to share in our day with us!

Tomorrow and Friday, I'm wrapping up our wedding by sharing our Reception! Hope you come back to check it out!!

If you've missed any wedding posts before this one, you can catch up with the links below: 

Nursing Girls Shower - here
Church Family Shower - here
Stafford Family Shower - here
Flatt Family Shower - here
Girls Night - Little Black Dress Party - here
Setting Up - It Takes a Village - here
Rehearsal Night and Dinner - here
Getting Ready- here
It's All in the Details - here
The Bride, Groom and 20 of Our Closest Friends - here
Our Families - here

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