When I left off last week, I was just on the verge of walking down the stairs. I made my way down and held up my dress so I would definitely not trip on it. As I got closer to the bottom of the stairs where my Dad was waiting, he started saying, “don’t trip.” I reached the ground without incident, thankfully and my Dad and I continued on out way. We had to stop for one second to pose for a photo, but we walked along the back of the guests and started down the aisle. As I was going down the aisle there was actually quite a bit happening around me. Photographers running around for better angels, people moving, shifting, talking. When I looked up the aisle at Paul he looked back at me with anticipation. He said that he teared up, as there is no photographic evidence at this I call lies! I think he just didn’t want me to turn around and do it again. I constantly told him if he managed not to tear up, I was going to do just that.
As soon as my Father handed me off to Paul, a cold wind ripped through the garden. The minister leaned over to us and asked if we wanted to ‘fast track’ the ceremony. With my teeth already beginning to chatter, I nodded.
There were a few different parts to the ceremony, first up was our ‘loving letters’. The letters we had written for each other prior to the ceremony. Paul did get a little choked up while reading his, which evoked sighs and caused a few more people to start crying. Paul has always been really good at writing really touching things, I don’t know where he gets it but it is a skill I do not possess. I suppose I would write really touching mushy things, but it wouldn’t be me. My humour, and personality in general, is much more sarcastic and dry. Needless to say, I had a bit of trouble writing my loving letter, I needed to balance the line between my personality and what is socially appropriate while not straying too far from either one. I think I did creditably well…
After the letters, we were hand fasted. This was traditionally used as a form of temporary marriage for when people lived too far away from a priest to get married properly. They then had a year and a day to find a priest and have their marriage blessed before God. I really like this tradition and it originated in England or Scotland, later, hand fasting became a part of the marriage right itself. I thought it appropriate to include because my family comes from those areas.
During the ceremony Rev. Tom also explained about my something old, new, borrowed and blue. Something old, was a butterfly pin from my mother. Butterflies are generally a symbol of transformation and next steps in life; it is constantly changing into something more beautiful. It is also know to represent the soul in some cultures and I read a passage of poetry somewhere about how marriage is the joining of two souls into one. My something borrowed was a chimney sweep. Okay, not an actual chimney sweep, but a small plastic one carried with my bouquet. The etymology behind carrying something borrowed, is to borrow the good luck of a happily married couple you know. I carried this token on my wedding day because my mother carried it on hers. As she was waiting to walk down the aisle one of our family members from Britain ran up to her and thrust this plastic chimney sweep at her. She looked at him in confusion, but he forestalled her questions with a quick, ‘later’ and dashed away. As it turns out, chimney sweeps are good luck, if you’ve even seen Mary Poppins you will know what I am talking about.
My something blue was my jewelry. It is made from blue crystal which symbolizes honesty, fidelity, respect, trust and patience. I am really counting on the patience to come through and last. My something new was my wedding dress, I am hoping to make a quilt out of it. I could probably get a few scraps of cloth from my mother-in-law from the alterations on the dresses.
After this it was time for the vows, we didn’t write them ourselves, we just said words that have been said a thousand times by millions of people. Then onto signing the license.
When we met with our officant before the wedding, was a coaching us for licnse signing pictures, he said ‘don’t look like your signing a legal document, be close, be romantic, you’re getting married!’ I will tell you, by that point I was just trying to warm up my hands, they were like ice.
We had a friend do a reading for us at this point. I loved that it was liberally sprinkled with Lord of the Rings Quotes and this is the only point where I almost cried. The exact she was going over at that time was the ‘all who wander are not lost’ part of Tolkein’s poem, ‘All that glitters is not gold.’ With this quote, Tolkien manages to quell the fears of anyone who reads it, who might be worrying that they are adrift in one way or another. So every time you worry that each little part of your life isn’t exactly planned out, think of this quote and take a deep breath. You’re doing fine. When she said ‘ you’re doing fine’ she looked over at me and winked.
Even writing about it now is making me all choked up. I am not a person who cries a lot, not at weddings, not a movies, but I almost lost myself in that moment. Over the past months planning the wedding, I did feel lost sometimes. I wasn’t sure if this is what life was supposed to be like, what if I am doing it wrong? Everyone has these thoughts at some point or another, but when Shauna said that line, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Any lingering darkness in my mind was chased away and I realized that the biggest parts were almost over. Everyone was here and accounted for, anything else that came up, we would handle.
The final part of the ceremony had to do with the gemstones. On their way into the ceremony, everyone had to pick out a gemstone. One they liked, there were difference colours, shapes, sizes, etc and we had the meaning on them on our programs. Everyone was to make a wish with their gemstone and they could either keep it, or give the stone with it’s wish, back to us. After that, there was a kiss and we all skittered into the building before we totally froze to death. I asked someone to get me some of the hot apple cider we had for the outdoor guests. My dress was not conducive to sneaking around in search of hot liquid. I just stood there holding it for a few minutes while people hugged and congratulated me and Paul. Then, very suddenly, everyone was gone. Out into the building to find sustenance.
I stayed put because there were going to be family photos in a matter of minutes. I figured I would be easier to find if I didn’t move. The next couple hours were dedicated totally to photos.
Paul and I got back to the White Oaks and formed something of an assembly line into the hall. Everyone was to go inside and the parents of the bride/groom, wedding party and Paul and I would enter. I actually have a video of that…
After the entrances, we had dinner, there were speaches while everyone ate. We did that on purpose to reduce the chance of hanger. Luckily there were no mobs of hungry people interrupting the lovely speeches. My vietnamese paragraph went off well, one of Paul’s uncles actually stood up and shouted “Paul! Your wife speaks Vietnamese better than you do!!” I would put that one in the win column.
Overall, everything went very well. I think everyone expects a couple things to go wrong here and there, but everything went off perfectly at our wedding. It was an extremely good day that I will treasure forever. I am so thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life and everyone worked so hard to make this day possible. So thank you, to everyone. Especially Paul. A lot of guys take a step back in regards to wedding stuff. They think it is a ‘girl thing’ and want nothing to do with it, or have no real opinion. Paul was completely in, from the very start, both hands…. and feet. Thank you.