The morning was made up of rushing slowly through the elaborate process of dressing. I admit to having my only bridal freakout when I realised we were going to be late to the ceremony. I wish that I had been more relaxed, but I really do hate being late and knowing that everyone and everything is waiting for my arrival doesn't help! At least it kept me from thinking too seriously on what was about to come, and I trust my friends & family gave me some leeway as my nerves expressed themselves in this way. Then I was at the church, rushing up the stairs, having my veil put on and the music was starting, and I was just praying that the sound would work, and the first lines of The Wedding Song started and other than a vague appreciation for the music my senses started blurring into one predominant emotion--joy.
The whole day is a blur, with bits of events coming into focus. I loved our wedding ceremony—it was so perfectly us, from the blend of music (folk, latin, & hymns) to the long and somewhat controversial homily (which, for the record, we loved). What more can I say? Our ceremony felt very private and personal. To be honest I did not even really notice our guests until communion. I loved that Paul, Tara's husband, went up for a blessing which sparked most of our non-Catholic guests to go as well. I loved teasing the priest under my breath (he gives as good as he gets). Most of all, I loved whispering to David, and loved how I felt like we were alone.
Photos followed the ceremony, and I am so glad we organised this the way we did so that by the end of the photo sessions it was just us alone with our photographer. We didn't say much, but just basked in the glow of pure joy. It gave us both a chance to relax and just enjoy the moment. Meanwhile our hardworking wedding party was able to eat and rest.
I am a bit odd in that I never really wanted a wedding reception. It was more a notion that people coming from far away needed to eat that prompted me to have one. Because we had to move our reception indoors and I had no idea what to expect I was almost dreading going to the church...but our reception was probably the best surprise of our wedding day. Some very dedicated, wonderful people (Gail, Theo, Paul, Jonathan, my dad and probably others I don't even know about) had been working since 8 that morning to transform my parents' church 'hall' into our reception venue. David and I were both speachless at the beautiful job that was done, because with all our plans for an outdoor reception we really didn't leave anyone much to work with! And, considering that until I converted I had always thought I might get married in that church, it was nice to have my reception there. Arrowsmith still feels like a second home, and it was fitting.
So the bride reluctant to have a reception actually enjoyed hers. We did an open-mike for speeches and were both taken away by all the wonderful things people said about us. We had a beautiful woodsy cake decorated by one of my second-moms, and a lovely first dance (to the Princess Bride theme-song) in the same spot my mum always used to yell at me for dancing in. We got to visit with friends we hadn't seen in a long time, and we had so many people participate in our potluck-feast that there was more food than anyone could possibly eat. We both feel that the relaxed familial atmosphere we wanted was present, and in the end it was more like a giant reunion rather than a wedding reception. For me that was perfect. I felt like I was at home.
It's three month's later to the day as I write this up. It was a long road to the ceremony, but looking back that road was only so long because of all the little details we feel are important. In the light of the big day they really didn't matter. I think all the little pieces of planning help more to keep the festive mood alive up to the wedding, because on the day of I hardly noticed anything, and all the thought I had put into little details paled in comparison to the awesomeness of what David and I were doing. This isn't to say that planning isn't important, for those details set the underlaying mood, but I think the levels of stress us brides can push ourselves to are completely unnecessary.
Our wedding was certainly not expensive, nor did we try to create an atmosphere of expense on our limited budget. It was not formal, and it was not planned within an inch of its life. It was what it was—a collection of our family and friends coming together to celebrate and witness the most public declaration of our love & committment that we have ever made.