The priest scooted all pertinent parties to the back of the church to work on the processional. We paired everyone up and set the order of the various grandparents, parents, and bridal party members. Mr. Snow Cone and I had sorted out each honored guest's escort - we aimed to have family walk with family to make it comfortable for all involved individuals. So, it's easy to understand my minor discontent when our carefully crafted processional was met with a bit of hesitancy from the priest. Specifically, when he asked who would be escorting Mr. Snow Cone's mom down the aisle, I responded by saying that Mr. Snow Cone's dad would be (doesn't that make just a lovely image? A married couple, parents of the groom, walking hand-in-hand down the aisle to watch their son say his own vows? There's a method to my madness, I swear). The priest expressed that that isn't the way things are typically done and suggested that Mr. Snow Cone serve as his mom's usher. I politely responded that while I understood that having husband escort wife wasn't typical, it was how we wanted it to be done. The priest pushed back ever so slightly, but ultimately relented. With that victory under my belt, the rehearsal continued.
We spent what felt like an eternity practicing the perfect pace to process; it became clear that the priest wanted us to get a very slow pace into our muscle memory so that when our nerves took over for the big day, even a hastened version of that pace would be acceptable. We watched every single pair walk down the aisle, being instructed to go slower... slower... slower.
Mr. Snow Cone, probably walking too fast
Double-brother-usher duty with my mom, once again, probably walking too fast.
Finally, it was my turn to take that majestic little stroll with my dad.
I think my dad could tell I was a little on edge, so he did his best to lighten the mood.
We finally made our way up to the altar and got to the actual meat and potatoes of the ceremony.
We went over where and when to stand, sit, and kneel. I paid extra attention to the parts of the ceremony that required Mr. Snow Cone and me to say or do something specific, because each special direction to us was followed by Mr. Snow Cone leaning over to whisper, "There's no way I'm going to remember all this." I wasn't willing to surrender to the difficulties of remembering what to do during a Catholic wedding ceremony, and I most certainly wasn't interested in having a ceremony with (gasp!) mistakes on our part, so I burned every instruction into my memory for the following day.
We actually said our vows out loud during the rehearsal, which was a surprise to me, but I went with it, given my previous quasi-temper tantrum. And then the priest decided to drop this bombshell: the phrase "you may now kiss the bride" is nothing more than theatrics and has no religious foundation; as a result, it's not used in Catholic weddings. He instructed us to exchange our first kiss as husband and wife during the sign of peace, an exchange of hugs and handshakes that comes during the middle of the ceremony. Insert quasi-temper tantrum number two. I told him that we'd rather wait and kiss until the end, when people would actually be expecting it, rather than sliding it into the middle and catching everyone off-guard. He looked at me like I had suggested wearing a camouflage leotard to my wedding, but I stood my ground. He relented, saying if I was OK surrendering a special spiritual opportunity to give my new spouse a sign of affection in order to play into the theatrics of a forced moment, he was OK with it. Turns out, I was. And, just like that, our first kiss got bumped to the end of the ceremony.
The rest of the rehearsal was uneventful, just practicing the processional and recessional a couple more times. As the rehearsal went on, though, I fielded a lot of comments from various members of the group, often calling me "quite the pistol!" Apparently I had surprised/impressed/startled/scared some people with my unwillingness to take "no" for an answer on a few fronts. Being stubborn to a priest isn't necessarily a favorite pastime of mine, but given the importance I had placed on those few aspects of the ceremony, a little forcefulness ended up going a long way.
All photos by my brother P