Monday, August 4, 2014

My Wedding.

[This post is part 3 of a multi-part series about my wedding. You can read about the rehearsal here, the  morning of the wedding here, and the honeymoon here.]
Tweet: Showtime.
Above is the last text I sent before my wedding officially began. With my wife-to-be hiding in a shed behind the entrance of the gazebo, my groomsmen and I made our way outside to the wedding space. We were stopped only for a few minutes to give people time to sit down as well as us time to get our boutonni√®res put on. The nerves had finally started to hit me as the realization started to sink in.

Positioning myself behind the closed gate I was to walk through, I awaited the musical cue. Rather than a traditional wedding ceremony song, we had chosen "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. In the days and months leading up to the wedding I had expressed concern that the song would come off sounding silly, since it was composed for and used in one of the Twilight movies. It was my feeling that you shouldn't use a song popularized by a movie, because then everyone is just going to be thinking "they picked that song just because they heard it in that movie" rather than admiring the beautiful lyrics or music.

Whether or not someone was thinking that I cannot know, but I know that Twilight was the furthest thing from my mind when the music kicked in and the gates opened. Upon seeing the beautiful space and all the smiling and eager faces of my friends and family, my eyes almost immediately swelled up with tears of joy. I tried my best to keep a smiling face, but my emotions fought me every step of the way. I even whispered to the judge when I had gotten to the front that "I'm already crying."
Photo of myself walking down the aisle, looking ready to cry.
After the bridesmaids and groomsmen took their positions, Corine emerged from the shed, though she was concealed by the now closed gate. One of the traditions that we had decided to keep for our wedding was that I would not see her wedding dress until the wedding itself. This was much easier said than done, especially since she bought the dress over a year before the wedding. I waited in anticipation; seeing only the white color of the dress through the gate. I couldn't help but wonder what type of dress she had picked, how it looked on her, and if I would be as emotionally impacted by the sight of her as everyone said I would (and should) be.
Photo of my beautiful wife being escorted down the aisle by her father.

Of course, I was emotionally impacted by the sight of her. How could I not be? She could have been wearing a bathrobe and sweatpants and it still would have tug at my heart to see my bride walking toward me. She looked absolutely gorgeous in her wedding dress. I was absolutely in tears by the time the ceremony began.

A Brief Overview of the Ceremony:
  • The ceremony started out with the judge introducing herself and passing around a small bag with the rings inside of it for the guests to hold and wish good luck upon while the ceremony went on.
  • There was then a rose ceremony in which Corine and I each presented a rose to our parents as a symbolic thanks for their unconditional love and support.
  • Corine and I then held hands while the judge performed a hand blessing. The original intent of this particular part was for it to be an Irish hand blessing which involves literally tying a knot around our interlocked hands, but there was some miscommunication and a different hand blessing was performed, though I didn't notice or care.
  • The expression of intent came next, where the judge asked us each if we would take each other as husband and wife, and we (of course) responded "I will."
  • The vows, which we had written ourselves.
  • The rings were then collected from the guests for the ring exchange.
  • We ended with a sand ceremony, in which we mixed two separate vials of colored sand into a single container to represent the blending of our lives together and that as hard as it would be to separate our individual grains of sand, so too would it be that hard for us to break our loving bond.
The vows in particular were tearjerkers for both she and I. Saying something that comes from the heart and is very personal to your relationship is just so much more meaningful than any pre-written vow could ever be. The personal vows were also, in my mind, symbolic of the effort we were trying to make to make the wedding truly our own. Before our wedding day we had some people express worry that we weren't going to have a "traditional" wedding (traditional wedding song, at a church, etc.), but when it was all said and done we had relatives and friends coming up to us and telling us that it was "the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen."
Photo of myself and my wife walking back up the aisle after getting married, and looking happy!
On a slight sidenote, I think people are so wrapped up in what they think a wedding "should" be that they become closed-minded to the idea that anything else can be as beautiful. The truth is that anything unique to your personality is going to be much more beautiful than a carbon copy of something that's been done thousands of times before. I highly suggest to anybody reading this that they go the extra mile to make their wedding unique and personal. It makes a hell of a difference.
After finishing the ceremony and taking some photos, it was time to make our way to the reception space, which was conveniently halfway to the hotel from the gazebo. We'd rented out the detached pavilion (complete with an open bar) on the property of the hotel.

From then on was visiting with the guests, cutting the cake, dinner (the highlight being a cashew crusted chicken with maple cream sauce), and speeches. Each member of the wedding party gave a speech, including my wife (which I wasn't expecting). Even my older brother, who is generally a very quiet person, gave a speech, which was very meaningful to me that he would even consider standing up and speaking in front of a crowd.

After literally everyone gave a speech except me, a table with some of my family members started chanting my name and asking for me to give a speech as well, so of course I improvised something along the lines of "I don't know what to say except thank you".

Even after all of that was said and done, I was extremely nervous. I had been drinking a little bit to calm my nerves, but I was also being careful to maintain a very low level of drunkenness (almost nonexistent, actually). The reason for this is that our first dance was still to come, and we had been taking lessons for a little over a month in preparation. We didn't have a "routine" per se, but we did have a handful of moves that we would then improvise the order of based on the space of the dance floor and the timing of the music.
Photo of my wife and I performing our first dance together as husband and wife.
Luckily everything went very well. Our song "I'll Be (Acoustic Version)" by Edwin McCain proved to be a good choice, and even though I stepped on Corine's dress two or three times (we hadn't practiced with such a long dress) when I look back at the video footage it's impossible to notice; we played it off like pros.

Tweet: First dance went off amazingly!

Immediately after the first dance and father-daughter dance were finished I unbuttoned my vest, went to the bar, and ordered a stronger drink. The rest of the night was an amazing blur of dancing and wild fun with everyone young and old. Even my grandfather, who is in his 80's and was recently in the hospital, got onto the dance floor and had a great time. Honestly when I look back at the photos I can see that everyone had a good time, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.
Photo of my 80-something year-old grandfather getting his dance on!
At the stroke of midnight, my wife and I thanked our DJ (who did an absolutely amazing job playing to the crowd, which was no small feat considering the huge age range) then made our way to our hotel room where we relaxed in the hot tub for half an hour before going to bed, absolutely exhausted from the amazing wedding.
Tweet: Best night ever.
Luckily, the fun didn't stop there. Our week-long honeymoon was yet to come.

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