Thursday, March 15, 2012

You're My Everything: Ceremony Hugs and Kisses

Following the rite of marriage, the rest of the ceremony was fairly standard for a Catholic mass.  My older brother P read the general intercessions, asking for special blessings for us.

We prepared the altar, with Mr. Snow Cone and I accepting the gifts from my godparents.

During the Eucharistic preparation, we spent the entire time facing the altar.  It was right around this time in the ceremony that I realized I was most definitely not feeling 100%.  The butterflies I had felt before the walk down the aisle had segued into full-on cramps and back pain, due probably to a wicked combination of a tight dress, a small breakfast, stress, heat, and nerves.  I had to actually make the conscious decision to shift my weight from side to side and keep my knees bent so as to remain upright through the rest of my own wedding ceremony.  Despite feeling woozy, I still managed to sing my heart out on my special Lord's Prayer, and from my vantage point, it sounded like those in the know in the congregation did the same.

I kept hearing a lot of sniffles behind us, but every time I peeked over my shoulder, I saw nothing but smiling faces looking back at me.  After the ceremony, I mentioned this to one of my bridesmaids, and her response was something to the effect of, "Duh, Mrs. Snow Cone, everyone was crying."  I wouldn't say that making our guests teary-eyed was a goal while planning the ceremony, but it was really touching to know that our nearest and dearest were moved by this significant moment.  

Our priest threw us a bit of a curve ball during this part of the ceremony.  Although we hadn't rehearsed it the day before, he made the standard nuptial blessing before the Eucharist a bit more dramatic by asking our bridal party to surround us and all of our guests to raise their hands to extend a blessing to the newlyweds.  Our back was to the entire scene, so we didn't really get to see the finished product, but it made for some poignant photos.

Every time I see these photos, though, I can't help but smile, as one of my bridesmaids later confessed that the blessing went on far longer than she expected, resulting in her arms getting really fatigued.  So, word to the wise, if you're ever at a ceremony that asks you to raise your hands over the bride and groom, pace yourself.

Following the nuptial blessing, it was time for the sign of peace.  If you recall, we had decided to not use this part of the mass for our first kiss, so we exchanged little pecks on the cheek before heading into the aisle to greet our parents while our cantor sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

After giving my mom a bear hug, I informed her I would be spending the moments immediately after the ceremony snarfing down the emergency granola bar she had stashed in her purse.  Thank goodness for moms.

When we finished hugging our parents, we headed to the bridal party.  For simplicity's sake, we started with cordial handshakes.  The decision to shake hands lasted all of two seconds.  I noticed one of the groomsmen was teary-eyed, so we tossed the handshakes out the window and substituted them with bear hugs, which couldn't have been more appropriate.  We hugged all 14 bridal party members and then returned to the altar for communion.  We took the cup from Mr. Snow Cone's mom, which was an extra-special touch to the ceremony; I barely took any, though, because I was terrified of slopping any of it onto my gown!


When we were done receiving the Eucharist, we kept kneeling, facing the altar.  Our excitement got the best of us, though, when we realized the majority of our guests would be processing up, one-by-one, to within a few feet of us.  We'd both been in la-la land at the beginning of the ceremony and hadn't had a chance to really process who was present, so we spent the bulk of the communion time peering over our shoulders, smiling at and saying hi to all of our beloved guests.  It wasn't exactly the most sacred behavior, but it just felt so right.  We got to have a very brief interaction with our guests in an unanticipated manner, and we were both so giddy at that point we could barely contain ourselves.  Even though not all of our guests were Catholic, many of them participated in the communion line, as we opted to include the following note in the program:
Any guests not interested in receiving the Eucharist are invited to join the Communion line to receive a blessing.  Simply indicate your preference for a blessing by crossing your arms over your heart.
All of our guests had returned to their seats, and the ceremony was nearly over.  Before the priest would offer the final blessing, we made our way over to the statue of the Virgin Mary to leave a flower and say a prayer, a common activity in Catholic weddings.  Once we got there, Mr. Snow Cone deposited the flower and was ready to head back to the altar lickety-split.  I had to tell him to take a minute, as the rendition of "Ave Maria" being sung was fairly lengthy, and I didn't want to have to stand awkwardly in front of everyone while the song was still going on.  It was also nice to have a minute to ourselves for me to catch my breath, so to speak, and try and get my stomach and nerves more under control.


As the song completed, we returned to the center of the church for the big finale - the kiss!  In the seconds immediately before our first kiss as husband and wife, I leaned over to Mr. Snow Cone and gently reminded him to make the kiss a long one so the photographer would have a good opportunity to get some great pictures.  His response?  "Oh, trust me, that won't be a problem."  Apparently after the 90-minute ceremony, he was more than ready to lay a big smooch on his new wife!

He even went back for seconds, so our second kiss as husband and wife is caught on film, too! 


We were pretty jazzed, as you can see.

Evidently, whatever sickness I had been feeling during the ceremony took a temporary hiatus as we capped off our ceremony.  We turned to face our guests, our hands met, and we made our way down the aisle, officially Mr. and Mrs. Snow Cone!

All photos courtesy of the amazing Christina Garber

1 comment:

  1. Love these! You look so happy and the pictures are wonderful! I was a little nervous at the end of the ceremony too, but it all melted away at the end!