Thursday, January 01, 2009

My beautiful family and the wedding

Please note, I wrote this post April 18th, 2008 but it was so meaningful I couldn't help but publish it in its current form. Hope you enjoy....

Every time I try to write about the wedding - indeed every time I think about it - I just become overwhelmed with emotion. I like what mom said on her blog - sometimes there really are perfect moments in life that so capture our hearts and minds that they become recorded like a video inside our very soul. That is how I feel, and in all honesty, our entire wedding, our entire day was absolutely the most beautiful and meaningful experience of my life. I am going to post Chris's vows to me and mine to him because they epitomize the evening in a lot of ways. I want to make a big shadow box with our place cards and some flowers and our program and our vows so that we have that reminder of our amazing day always in our sight.

From the very beginning of all the festivities, which began with Jamie and I getting our hair done, the day was filled with joy and peace and good things. It felt like coming home again having Jamie there with me getting my hair done. We were so combative throughout our years when we lived at home, and that carried into our adult years where we got along but just barely. Honestly, I don't really know why. Well, actually I do. It is because I was so judgemental of Jamie. I feel so sad when I think of it because I missed out on such a loving, giving, fun and amazing person and for what? So I could make myself feel a little superior and appease my jealousy. I am so glad I put that behind me. I can say that over the last couple years, God has really changed my heart and now I appreciate the differences Jamie and I have instead of being such a bitch.

When I asked her to be my Maid of Honor, I was hoping that the experience would help bring us closer together, and boy she just amazed me. I can honestly say that without her help, my wedding would not have had the of elegance, class and sophistication that it did. Plus, without her prodding in the early months of planning, who knows what we would have been doing - most likely a quickie service at the Justice of the Peace. She inspired me and helped me get over my "who the hell cares" hang up. Thank you, sister. You were the absolute best Maid of Honor in the whole wide world.

Oh, I can't forget her shining moment of heroism! This is what happened right before I had to appear for the private dinner with the wedding party and our parents. Jamie and I had gotten to the hotel around 3:30 after having our hair done, and the private dinner was due to start at 4:30. We had to be done with dinner by 6:00 so Jamie and I could change into our ceremony gowns and hopefully get some pictures. When we got to the hotel at 3:30, we started helping the girls with their hair. With four girls clamoring for our attention, it was a little overwhelming. Ok, so we are busily but happily working away on the girls' hair when Jamie says, "You should keep an eye on the time." The clock said 4:15! I didn't have my make up done, my gown on, my jewelry on and I had forgotten my vows down in my Bridal clutch purse that was in the Grand Ball Room for some reason. Mental scream!!!! I began running up and down the hallway from our hospitality suite to our private room because I was forgetting things and then once in my room I was shaking and sweating and started to cry because my hair was going to lose it's curl. Ok, I was in a full blown panic attack with large sobs thrown in for good measure. Oh, and some major self-pity. Chris kept saying, "Calm down, honey. It will be ok." He wanted to have Jamie come in and help me get ready, but I kept saying, "What can she do to help? I can get ready by myself." But meanwhile I'm in an absolute puddle of anguish. Finally, after about a half hour of this, Chris says, "That's enough. I'm getting your sister." Jamie came into the room (looking beautiful, by the way) and immediately saw I was in a terrible state. She very gently kneeled down in front of me and put her hands on my knees, and I saw so much love and compassion and caring, it went immediately to my heart. She said, "Laura, it's going to be ok. Everyone is down stairs mingling and enjoying themselves, so you don't have to worry. You don't have to rush. Everything is fine." Those words calmed my nerves and I don't know, it's like something in my soul lifted and my heart opened up and suddenly I felt light and excited and at peace. I will never forget that as long as I live.

Well, once Jamie got me all tussied up, we went down to the Garden Room at Jacks (which looked beautiful and elegant) and began our dinner. Chris and I had bought presents for the bridal party and our parents, so it was a lot of fun to pass those out and say how much we appreciated each of them. I had two glasses of wine, so by the time Jamie and I got back to the room to change into our gowns, I was floating and giggling and just really having fun. Grace and Hailie came into the room, and we all did Satin Hands which was a lot of fun. We kind of goofed around and giggled a lot (and I used Chris's toothbrush to clean under my nails which raised a volley of giggles and an solemn vow to never tell a single soul). Ok, I admit, I was giddy. We were having so much fun, we weren't paying any attention to the time when Melissa, the Banquet Manager, came to tell me that it was 7:15. We had put on the invitations the wedding started at 7, but we really planned on 7:10 because that would give the last-minuters a chance to find a table and get seated. I was late! But I didn't care. I was so excited and my heart was just beating a million miles an hour. I started to get a little nervous. After all, I was about to give my life to the only man who has ever truly known me, truly loved me and truly devoted himself to me. I felt like Cinderella, I kid you not.

So, Aunt Valerie and Marty from her band played "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin which is what we walked to (Chris and I walked together). I am going to post the lyrics here because the more I reflect on the words and the more I remember the way Aunt Valerie's voice sounded, the more incredible it becomes for me:

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you my heart,

Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.

My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,together we shall go until we die.

My, my, my.

An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,

Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.

Happiness, no more be sad, happiness....I'm glad.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

I just cry when I read those words. I can hear Aunt Valerie's voice, so beautiful singing that right to Chris and I. Like I said in my other post, I never believed my life and my love could reflect such deep passion and devotion and togetherness - and to have it brings me to my knees in gratitude. Ooo! I forgot to mention! Chris got me an ipod nano for my wedding present, which hellow! How great is that!?!?! But anyway, I have to play Thank You at least once every day because it means so much to me. I am playing it right now. :)

After the Reverend did the introduction, Chris and I lit a candle in remembrance of those who could not be there. We did that because he just lost his sister, plus there's Kady and my grandma. And there were guests there who had just lost a son and brother. It was something we all felt really strongly we wanted to do. We put the candle in the lantern so it could burn brightly during the whole wedding and reception.

Oh, perhaps I should say a word about how we did the wedding and reception. It was in the Grand Ball Room with all the round tables decorated with a 12x12 mirror, an Eiffel tower vase with one white gladiola and four candles, one on each corner of the mirror. Everyone said it was gorgeous, and with the lights down it added an element of intimacy and coziness that I just loved. Everyone at the tables sat in a crescent so no one had to turn around in their chair and I did placecards for families that needed a full table (so they wouldn't have to split up). It was a dessert reception with the wedding cake and three kinds of these delicious mousse desserts in fluted champagne glasses. We had an open bar, so later in the night, like around 10 pm, we served Artichoke dip and some kind of fancy cheese and meat tray so no one got too drunk or felt sick from dancing and drinking. Anyway, enough of the stats, back to the fun.

Ok, so Chris and I each wrote a devotion statement I guess you could say that we read to each other before we said our traditional vows. Ray has a great little video clip of that on his blog. I tried to make mine a little bit funny because I knew that the whole wedding was going to be a tear-jerker. Anyway, that was cool. Then, when we were pronounced man and wife, the girls (Grace, Emily, Hailie and Brandie) sang "Hero" by Enrique Iglacias. Now that was awesome. Chris got really really choked up listening to the video on Ray's blog. He had to step aside for a moment. But how much better does it get than dancing with your new husband while your children (and neice) sing "I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away your pain. I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away." Oh, the night was full of so many moments I will never forget and that are like treasures in my heart.

After that, we cut the cake and greeted all the guests and after everyone had their dessert, I threw the bouquet and Emily caught it. I spent some time on the dance floor, but most of my night was spent visiting with the guests. I took a lot of pictures toward the end of the reception (when I realized that if I didn't get on the stick, I wouldn't have any pictures of my reception which actually wasn't true. Uncle Yoobee and Ray and Mom all have great pictures on their blogs).

Anyway, there are so many more cool moments to share....the dance off between the kids, Emily break dancing, everyone doing the Cupid Shuffle and the Casper Slide, how happy my grandpa looked and how everyone joyfully welcomed Mai to the family, Chris's best friends' wives who have been so on the outs they wouldn't be in the same room together for 20 years were laughing and giggling and hugging with grins for pictures. It was truly amazing all the wonderful experiences and healing and enjoyment that came out of our wedding. I told Chris, it absolutely changed my life. And it has.


shortensweet said...

How did this post get missed? Good thing I was bored at work and scrolled down.

Your wedding was one of the most meaningful days of my life.

bunnyjo georg said...

Oh, Jamie, that really makes me feel good knowing it meant so much to you too. I said it in my post here and I truly mean it, it just would not have been the same event had it not been for you. It would have been a slapped together affair lacking the elegance and meaning that made it so special. Thank you, sis.

VeeFlower said...

The pastor or priest always says, "Whom God hath joined together...". And yet, too often, it doesn't really feel that way. This time it totally, completely, felt like God was there, smiling, because two people found each other according to God's will. It was in the air. You mentioned the peace, joy, and healing, I felt that, too. Perfect joy...and even though it happened last year, the purpose God has in mind for you is still very much alive and well and taking place. I feel you and your family are elevated according to God's purpose and that He is leading you to ever greater heights. It was a long hard road getting there, but it made you worthy for the life you are leading today. Keep on keeping on...the best is yet to come.

bunnyjo georg said...

Vee: Interesting...I justed texted Chris "Action is the antidote to despair." That is what we do - just keep on keeping on.