In all my planning of a destination wedding in Northern California, we neglected one “small” facet of the wedding itself: the ceremony. In fact, up until THE DAY BEFORE, SVV and I hadn’t a clue what we were going to say or do. Luckily, we had a gem of an officiant, my best friend in the whole wide world Lemon, who is always adequately prepared. She had e-mailed me documents full of readings and vows and other things you’re supposed to say in weddings, so the day before found us skimming through them and hastily copying and pasting text into one master spreadsheet.
We ran through it once speaking, and then again that afternoon in our apartment lobby with all parties present. Katey video taped the whole shebang.
Lemon instructed my dad to “shake the groom’s hand, then kiss the bride” before sitting down, a task that proved difficult for him, as he kept repeating (to Lemon), “now I kiss you, then punch Scott?” My dad, ever the comedian.
We hired a dazzling string trio—cello, violin, guitar—from Starlite Strings, and I had my say in what music would play. Never the traditionalist, I opted for “Over the Rainbow” for the bridal party (all four of them), James Horner’s “Ludlows Theme” from Legends of the Fall as my processional, and “Bittersweet Symphony” as the recessional. Not like I remember any of it; the whole day still seems like a dream that happened to somebody else. And I never even managed to meet said musicians either.
The actual ceremony was about a half an hour delayed. I’m still not sure why—no one keeps the bride in the loop after all—other than that the dudes were having quite the time figuring out the boutonnieres. I didn’t appreciate it much, because again, hello! Freezing out!
One of my best friends from New York, Ryan, and his boyfriend, Anthony, flew out on a red eye after Anthony’s graduation to be my ushers.
I was so touched by this act. Most people would say, “hey, I’m graduating, I’m really sorry I can’t be there.” Not them. They went straight to the airport after to hop a plane out to San Francisco. (Also, they’re extremely dashing and charmed all the ladies they escorted in.)
Moose was our point person who alerted Kari, my maid of honor; Kiva, the flower girl; and Jack, the ring bearer, when to go.
The kids were so brave that day; it couldn’t have been colder out, and they both stood up there beside their dad and Kari throughout the length of the ceremony.
I’m pretty sure that is not a look of disgust but rather an alarmed, “how long until I can put my fleece back on??”
Jack took his role seriously. He was NOT letting those rings fall (even though they were bound in quadruple knots to the pillow my MIL Joan made). Perhaps the funniest part of the whole day, his determined laser vision aside, was when it was his turn. He was supposed to follow Kiva down the middle aisle, but took off to the right of all the chairs. Moose had to chase after him and steer him the right way. We couldn’t have planned that better if we tried; it was precious.
And then, it was my turn. I’m not normally one to get all weepy at occasions such as this, but perhaps someone slipped hormones into my cereal that morning, as I had to think sad thoughts before my dad walked me down the aisle or risk my mascara running something disastrously. I was also shaking like a leaf—and it wasn’t just because of the 50 degree temps either. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, and having grown up a performer, stage fright is not an element with which I am familiar.
Who needs a wind machine when you’ve got coastal California hurricane-like gusts screwing things up working in your favor?
Lemon greeted the guests, then gave her homily, which was perfect.
She spoke for five minutes on what was a perfect mix of eloquence, humor, wit, honesty and emotion. See? Funny.
You’d almost think they were watching Conan live and not at their kids’ wedding.
We had decided a few weeks before that we needed a reading, if nothing else to at least make the ceremony last 15 minutes. (While we didn’t want a long one by any means, we didn’t want a) people to think we weren’t taking the whole point seriously and b) guests to feel like they flew all that way for one big booze fest.)(Which they essentially did. But I digress.) Since SVV had officiated his sister Lisa’s wedding three years prior—and because she’s a fancy-pants lawyer and, thus, a whiz at public speaking—we asked her to do the honor. I didn’t want any cheesy love poem, nor did I want a Biblical reading. So we settled on one of my favorite poems of all time, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” and tweaked it to be directed at a couple and not just one person.
We each said vows, which we extracted from a (non-cheesy) poem, and then did the ceremony of the rings.
Later on, people would tell me that my eyes were darting all over the place. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure where to look: at Scott, at Lemon, at my guests. But they said the cutest part of all was how SVV had laser vision that never once left me. (Sorry, honey; next time we get married, I’ll try to do better!)
And then, it was all over! Just like that, we were official. SVV dipped and kissed me.
And I celebrated.
A year engagement, over, done, finito.
Let the real party begin!