Thursday, March 7, 2013

about our wedding ceremony

The night before my wedding, we didn't have a rehearsal. We were getting married in a church that was 156 years old and had one outlet and no lights. (My students said that made me extra hipster. Whatevs, kiddies. I just do what I want.) So instead, our very small wedding party went out for sushi and other Japanese deliciousness that evening. I booked a suite for my girls and I to sleep. I stayed up making last-minute things while my bridesmaids slept. I was so excited that sleep just wasn't in the plans. Heath and I had kissed each other goodbye in the parking lot of the restaurant. He was going off with his two best friends while my bridesmaids and I were off to the hotel. I wouldn't see him face-to-face until I made it down the aisle the next afternoon. Of course, in this day and age, we texted one another throughout the night. He couldn't sleep either, and at one point said he was "working on his vows." Imagine my near heart attack reading that because we had kind of talked about writing our own vows right after we got engaged, but we didn't talk about it much after. I just assumed we were going to do the whole "repeat after me" thing. Heath wasn't joking, so since I couldn't sleep, I started writing my own vows. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I wrote, scribbled, threw away, wrote some more, scribbled, and scribbled. By the next morning, I didn't really know what to think about it, honestly. I texted Heath after he had his shower, and he said that he had memorized his and repeated them over and over to himself in the shower. Imagining my big lug of a man carefully rehearsing his wedding vows all while washing his hair was one of the cutest things that has ever entered my mind.

By many standards our wedding was really non-traditional, one tradition we did keep was not seeing each other before the wedding (We only had 2 attendants a piece, so we knew that we could take care of photos after the ceremony quickly). As a photographer, I have always enjoyed the reaction between the bride and groom when they haven't seen one another before the wedding, though I have also enjoyed photographing people who do see one another before the wedding with their "first look." It is so raw and intimate. If they are so enamored with one another, it is downright genuine. Even though we had an afternoon wedding, I craved seeing Heath all day. I really did. I was almost antsy waiting to see him. That building anticipation was one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

The fun part about this whole not seeing each other before the wedding thing was that our church only had one big room, not even a bathroom (what up, 1856? what up my Aunt Kim's camper toilet that she put behind the church? WHAT UP?). My best friend, Laura, drove me to the church, and we actually had to have Heath moved so we could pull in because the church is set in a field and didn't have a parking lot per say. To the right of the church we had a white tent and chairs set up for the reception and to the left of the church is where people parked. Laura parked her Sante Fe behind the reception tent until the ceremony started. Though I saw him...he didn't see me. Watching him smile so big, talk, and look so darn happy made my heart nearly explode (#FEELINGS), even if I didn't know what he was saying. Not to sound overly emotional but it made fall even more in love with him. It really, really did.  With no rehearsal, we totally winged the whole when our wedding party walked in, which I think added to the whimsy and charm of the day. In some ways it was like we had woken up that day and decided to get married. We didn't have every single detail planned to the umpteenth degree, but then again, that isn't really us. We didn't have a parade of our grandparents, mothers, fathers, etc. This was mostly because they asked if they could just go ahead and sit where they wanted to and let us do all the walking. We didn't have a ring bearer or flower girl. We each had our two best friends and each other and that was honestly enough. We told our best men and best gals where(ish) to stand at the front and when to walk in and such. The unknown added to the excitement, I think. Since I was walking myself down the aisle, I was so excited that my stepdaddy ("Pops") officiated our ceremony. It was such a blessing and one of my favorite and most special parts of our wedding. He is one of my favorite people on this Earth, and though I miss my daddy terribly, I cannot imagine a better person alive to lead my family.  Heath walked down the aisle with Pops, then shortly after our attendants followed. They walked in to "All I Want is You" by The Vespers, which happens to be a favorite of mine. I preferred this cover to the original by Barry Louis Polisar because though the lyrics are cute and meaningful, his voice seemed disjointed for what I envisioned for our wedding. The beautiful, upbeat harmony set the tone for our ceremony. Take a listen, if you'd like.

This also was the song I talked about here, the one that would not. stop. playing. The funniest thing that happened at our wedding, hands down. If you are confused by the photo...please read it.

Though my girlish wedding planning was pretty non-existent, I knew from the second I heard "Saeglopur" in 2007 that it would be the one I walked down the aisle to. It is beautiful, dreamy, and haunting, even if I have no idea what is being said. The English translation is "Lost at Sea," which I deemed appropriate since I feel like Heath completely wrecked my life when we fell in love. He wrecked it in that I felt/still feel lost without him, butwith him I feel most like myself and the person I most want to be. Sorry for all my mushy truth but that is what it is...the truth. (#MOREFEELINGS)

This song is extremely long, so I googled how to cut and fade songs and used the first 0:56 of this song. I actually rounded the corner at 0:38 and the song faded at 0:54. It was perfect and was exactly what I wanted it to be. People later told me that I looked like I literally floated down the aisle, and honestly, I believe them. I am pretty sure that is the best way to describe it. Floating. Walking down the aisle was in the top most vulnerable and empowering moments I have ever had. I felt naked and exposed., yet triumphant. I was boldly claiming that my life was not going to be as rich and rewarding without Heath being a part of it. My need for him being that great. But at the same time, I was making a huge life decision, taking part in another person all the while offering myself to them. Being so independent my entire life, it took a lot for me to realize that I didn't need him. I have been my own person, doing my own thing, taking care of myself for a long time. BUT (and that's a big but(t)) I wanted him. And that want and desire had slowly melted into a need. It is such a whirlwind of emotion, but all I know is that when I got to the end of the aisle and was enveloped in Heath's arms, hearing my favorite 3 words, everything made complete sense.

We never took our eyes off one another for a second during the ceremony. It wasn't long. It was pretty much to the point. We didn't have a unity candle or anything like that. First, we couldn't have candles in the church, and second, that part in weddings just seem awkward. So in the spirit of "doing what we want," we forwent all that and cut right to the chase.The best part was the vows. I actually had friends who told me that they had never cried at a wedding until ours because it was so honest and genuine (this was so humbling to hear. What praise!). Heath went first and said the most personal promises I've ever been told, and then almost halfway through, he forgot them. His eyes got huge, and I felt his hand shake a bit while it held mine. It was so cute because he was in mid sentence, then said, "...and I forgot my vows..." Then they came back to him. He spoke to me as though it was just us, and though I did my best not to, I cried. I cried great big tears with every word he spoke. I was feeling such an element of exposure that I thanked God we had a small wedding. That would have been difficult with a huge crowd looking on. He had this assurance in his voice, this confidence. It was so calming, yet overwhelming and was very hard to follow. Though I had words rehearsed in my head, I sort of winged them. I took a breath and in my mindsaid, "Jordan, just tell him the truth." The words just flowed from me. How? I am unaware. Then all of a sudden, I FORGOT MY VOWS, TOO. By this point, I was at "ugly cry" status, so I relied on my fallback that I was sure would be a crowd-pleaser. "I PROMISE I WILL RESPECT YOUR CHOICE TO EAT SPAM!" I exclaimed in a shaky, tearful voice (this is a disagreement we had early on in our relationship over Spam and other kinds of potted/canned meat. I vowed early on not to make it or buy it but leave it up to him should he want it). It was a moodchanger. I followed it up with saying I would love him all of my days and that was that. Pops pronounced us, we kissed, and then we walked out to greet our guests for our reception.

...which I will tell you all about...tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading.
*All photos by Heather Canterbury

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