So, as things quiet down over here for Thanksgiving week, I’m thrilled to bring you Ceri’s wedding graduate post, which has the perfect amount of gratitude and simplicity, and just plain awesomeness. I was struck by Ceri’s description of their ceremony, at how she suddenly realized, “Wow, this is actually happening, right here, right now.” It’s hard to put into words how I felt during our ceremony, but she gets pretty d*mn close. And what she says about details mattering and not mattering all at once? I’d like to sign on that line, and re-emphasize that you need to do what causes you the least stress and the most happiness and let the rest of it go. So with that I give you Ceri’s oddly perfect, totally blissful wedding:
I admit it. I was wrapped up in the planning. I enjoyed scrounging second-hand shops for owl and cat figurines to fit our “The Owl and the Pussy-cat” theme. I was obsessed with last minute DIY nervous-energy projects. I was absorbed in my own head space of pretty. And, as I waited on an earthen balcony overlooking the river at our wedding site, I thought, wow, this is actually happening, right here, right now. All the hours spent fussing over minor and major details dissolved into the flowing water. I peeked through the brush at my family and friends gathering around our ceremony site, and it hit me, they are here for us, this is all real. I was filled with bliss, love, and nervous excitement. I was here to marry my best friend.
Before I met my husband, I wasn’t into marriage. I thought it was a nice idea for some people, but definitely wasn’t in the stars for me. My husband felt the same. Obviously that feeling changed, because he proposed, I said yes without hesitation, and four months later I was standing along a river waiting to be married. Weird. Yet, weird in a very good way. The best kind of weird. What was even stranger was that as I held his hands when we met under our chuppah, I knew that he felt exactly the same way I did, and I hadn’t even considered that this was a possibility. In fact, I hadn’t considered at all what he felt about me. It was a given, I suppose. But then suddenly, as I listened to him pronounce his vows, I thought, huh, he really loves me. I mean he really, really loves me. The kind of love that’s willing to forgo a family history of disappointment and divorce to marry me. The kind of love that overcomes a fear of public display of love and affection to say our vows when it was his preference to go to the courthouse. The kind of love that promises to be here with me…forever. So strange. I hadn’t actually considered that a real possibility until that moment. I mean for me it was indeed a possibility. I had already struggled with my fears of divorce stemming from my own childhood and struggled with what marriage really means, blah, blah, blah, but I hadn’t really figured out that he meant this whole marriage thing. I’m still kind of reeling over that one.
This may sound pretty mushy, and admittedly, it is, but our wedding was perfect. I can’t think of a better adjective. Everything and everyone glowed. Ok, so yes, it was sunny, but it was more than that. I had had this crazy idea that a wedding should be this community thing in which all my family members and closest friends should be personally involved… and miraculously, that’s what happened. Our mutual best friend and incidentally the one who set my husband and I up made our silver wedding bands. My aunt made our wedding cake and cupcakes. My other aunt did all the floral arrangements and made my crazily specific pomander bouquet. All my aunts helped prepare food and set up and grill. Another aunt convinced a man named (literally) Barnacle Bill that local salmon must be caught fresh for dinner. My cousin extraordinaire commanded my wedding army without a single complaint. Family friends built a huppah, took pictures, chopped vegetables, and set up the wedding site. Everyone pitched in. And my mother, my beautiful, insane, wonderful mother who sewed my lovely dress, who foot the bill and loved me all the way through despite a heated argument over cilantro in a parking garage near the farmer’s market where I insisted all our produce come from (in addition to our vegetable gardens).
I felt so blessed that everyone was willing to help…and so guilty. I think I may never get over the guilt, but that’s a deeply ingrained family thing. Each exhausted and broken down family member and friend told me the next day that they were happy to do it, and I would have been too in their situation, but still, I felt my “thank yous” weren’t enough for those that had single-handedly produced the wedding that I had conceptualized and who effortlessly managed to put a blissful glow over the whole event.
But here’s what I learned… I loved all my little details and yes, I would still be married without them, but they made the day “us.” I think it is all good and fine to tell planning brides to not sweat the small stuff, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “sweat it.” Sweat all that small stuff and sweat all the big stuff. Do whatever the h*ll you want. Go nuts. Go crazy. Yeah, sure it doesn’t matter in the end. What matters is that you married your best friend, but I think someone telling you to not stress is the last thing you need to hear. It certainly didn’t make me stress any less. In fact, it made me stress more, because something must have been wrong with me if I was stressing so much about it, right? Stress happens no matter what. I thought this stress would carry over into the day of. I thought it would be difficult to let go and let all these wonderful people take over and put my ideas into reality, but in the end, I shed all of my perfectionist controlling qualities…because…because I really valued and trusted each and every loved one who took over for me. I knew they would make it beautiful, and I knew they loved me and didn’t want to disappoint my vision. And, boy, they sure didn’t disappoint. But honestly, “my vision” didn’t matter in the least the day of…I mean it was cool and everything, but their execution was only icing on the cake…and really things weren’t always “quite” right – but so what! It was still awesomely beautiful.
I just hope that you have a moment like I did by the river where everything is quiet and leaves are gently floating by just as they would do whether or not a wedding was going on, and you can just breathe and think, wow, today I’m doing something special…I’m marrying my best friend.
P.S. I was addicted to APW. As my wedding day approached, I poured over wedding graduate posts anxious to experience my own celebration. It was a serious problem, because what I really wanted to pour over were my own wedding memories. And, now that I have them, I am on constant rewind, because despite the serious mush-factor, it was total bliss, total perfection, total happiness, and it just keeps on going.
P.P.S. I can say with 100% confidence that the music list we stressed over wasn’t worth stressing over. The iPod player died prematurely, and we were left with the more pleasing music of conversation, a crackling fire, and a friend playing solo on his guitar. Much better.
Photos by: Family and Friends (Yay!) but especially Lars Gustafson and Steve Lange.