Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You're My Everything: Vows, Rings, and Relaxation

Once our priest finished his homily, he motioned for us to come forward.  Everyone in the entire building knew what was coming; after almost nine years, we were mere seconds away from becoming husband and wife.  

First, we had to publicly state our intentions.  We were asked three questions, expected to answer them  with emphatic "yes" responses.  Immediately before heading up to the altar for this statement of intentions, I had to covertly remind Mr. Snow Cone that these questions were coming.  He got big eyes and promptly thanked me, because he had apparently forgotten about this part of the ceremony.  See, freaking out during your rehearsal pays off!  Anyhow, our statement of intentions:
Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?
Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?
We then turned to face each other, holding onto each other's hands with all the strength we could muster.

Photo by my brother P

Now, don't forget, we had to memorize our vows.  I was feeling pretty confident heading into the big day.  In the 48 hours immediately before the wedding, Mr. Snow Cone notified me that he really wasn't keen on using our formal first names, and instead, wanted us to call each other by our shortened nickname-y first names that we call each other.  Although I had spent a decent chunk of time memorizing the vows with his formal name, I was really impressed by how strongly he felt about the whole name issue with the vows, so we decided together to make it more casual and comfortable, which in turn made it much more intimate, in my opinion.

First up was Mr. Snow Cone.

Photo by Mr. Snow Cone's Aunt G

I, Billy, take you, Jill, to be my wife.  I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you and honor you for all the days of my life.
Photo by my brother P
Next, it was my turn.

Photo by Mr. Snow Cone's Aunt G
I, Jill, take you, Billy, to be my husband.  I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
 Photo by brother P

Onto the rings!  Our best man handed the rings to the priest, who blessed them before handing my ring to Mr. Snow Cone.  While this rings were being blessed, Mr. Snow Cone and I shared a special moment, relieved our memorized vows were over and in disbelief that the entire wedding was upon us.  It kind of looks like I'm crying in the picture below, but I'm actually projecting a mega-watt smile that only moderately reflected my true happiness at that moment.  I can tell just by Mr. Snow Cone's profile in this picture that he's grinning ear-to-ear, too.

As Mr. Snow Cone slid the ring onto my finger, he proclaimed,
With this ring, I thee wed.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Photo by brother P

Needless to say, I was a little excited.

Then, it was my turn to give Mr. Snow Cone his ring.  I was a little nervous about it fitting, since it had been noticeably snug when he tried it on during the calmest of moments, and I had heard many tales of people having ring difficulties during the stress and heat of the wedding.  Thankfully, it slid right on, as I said,
With this ring, I thee wed.  In the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Vows said, rings given, and we were married.  We still had about half the ceremony to go, but that was just a background detail.  The planning was done.  The memorized vows were behind us.  It was now time to focus on nothing more than enjoying each and every second of the day.

We headed behind the altar to light the unity candle while our cantor sang "One Hand, One Heart" from the musical West Side Story.  Before the wedding, I had heard so many people describe all the people in the church melting away during the walk down the aisle.  For me, that was partially true, but there are a few faces I clearly saw.  Surprisingly, it was during the unity candle ceremony that I felt like I was truly, 100% alone with Mr. Snow Cone.  Maybe it was because we had our backs to the congregation as we approached the candle, so no one could see our faces or read our lips, or maybe it was because we were married.  Either way, it was just the two of us, and it was great.

We each grabbed our individual pillar candles,

used them to light the center candle,

and blew out our individual pillars, becoming one family instead of two individuals.
All color unity candle photos by my brother P

Once the unity candle was lit, we returned to our position in front of the altar, ready to enjoy the remainder of the ceremony.  I can remember looking over at Mr. Snow Cone and incredulously whispering, "We're married!" and him nodding back with a big smile on his face as we departed from the unity candle.  It was such an electric, exciting moment for both of us.

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber unless otherwise noted

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