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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Best Wedding Ceremony Ever

While we were up in Bar Harbor, we went to Bryce's cousin's wedding. It was GORGEOUS. I actually don't have my own pictures of it, because I was just so awe-struck by the whole thing I think I forgot how to work the camera on my cell phone. Also it felt sort of gauche, wanting to take out my phone during the ceremony to take a picture, given that there were four photographers and a videographer capturing the whole thing. So all I have is a selfie of me and Bryce squinting into the ocean-bright sun and a picture his mom took of us in our fancy finery. But, the pictures up on facebook were amazing, and I have filched one for you.

Squinty selfie... you'd never know it was cloudy
all morning from the late afternoon sun

In our fancies...

What struck us most, though, was the ceremony itself.

They had a sea captain officiate. A truly salty looking fellow with a white beard and a gravelly voice. He was amazing.

The bride and groom laughed throughout the ceremony,
there was so much joy just bursting from them.
Isn't the sea captain just perfect?
The ceremony was decidedly secular, with no mention of a higher power at all, and readings not from Corinthians but from Shakespeare, Khalil Gibran, and "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

The words that the sea captain spoke about marriage were so wise, and so touching, that Bryce and I couldn't help but hold our hands together, tears escaping our squinted eyes.

It was about how friendship is the basis of marriage, that friendship has to be the foundation of everything you do together. About the incredible importance of supporting each other in your dreams and aspirations.

And there was a decided emphasis on working through difficulty. That difficulty WILL happen, and that how you deal with difficulty, TOGETHER, is a testament to the strength of your marriage. That every marriage is tested, some more than others, and that you have to rise to those tests and come out the other side stronger. And, at the end of the day, when you are old and looking back on your life and your marriage, you should be able to be proud of what you've done. He's been married for 55 years, so he had some heft behind his words.

When we were married, we had no idea how difficult things would become. We didn't know that we would be tested, over and over and over again, that we would have to rise to survive challenges that could easily break a weaker bond. We didn't know that our beautiful goal of having a child or two to love as much as we love each other would result in nothing but tears and hopes dashed, sometimes in the cruelest of ways. But we have survived. Because we are best friends, we have have each others' backs, we know that only one of us can be truly crazy at a time. We can both be sad at the same time, but that irrational rage or sorrow can only be had when the other is there to hold the crazy together. And we've managed to do that.

Another thing that struck us was that, at least to me, it seemed that he said "the children you raise" and not necessarily implying solely biological children. That the raising is more important than the having. The phrase "your children" was used, but I didn't feel that there was an emphasis on biological parenthood.

We had a Blessing of the Hands at our wedding, and at one point there's a line, "These are the hands that will hold your children," and it was hard to say it without crying. Because we already knew that children would be challenging to come by, just not how very challenging and nearly impossible it would be until we accepted that pregnancy was not for us. But holding your children in your hands is very different from holding them in your belly.

I wish that I could remember more of the sea captain's words. I wish that I had somehow written them down on my program, because I wanted to remember all of it.

We actually hunted the captain down after the ceremony was over, found him behind the musicians, packing up his notes. We wanted to thank him for the best wedding ceremony we'd ever heard, the most real, the least fairy-tale-esque, the most touching. He seemed surprised but grateful, like not many people have thanked him for his efforts, and I guess that's normal given that you're supposed to immediately swarm the bride and groom and their families, swathing them in congratulations and lifting them up on their special day. There was time for that later, but in that moment, we were both just so overwhelmed with the emotion and truth behind his words of friendship and overcoming adversity as a team, that we just had to catch him before he disappeared into the fog (he really did seem like a mythical creature of sorts...that salty throaty voice was otherworldly).

The best wedding ceremonies are the ones that touch every married person in the place (and inspire those not married in their own relationships), that make you reflect back on your own marriage, make you feel proud of the job you've done so far. And the work you have yet to do, joyfully, hand-in-hand with your partner.

3 comments:

  1. That sounds like an amazing wedding. I remember reading somewhere when we were planning our wedding that with all the things to take care of, it's easy to "forget" the ceremony. It's not always the most glamourous part of the process, and I've definitely been to weddings where the ceremony wasn't handled too well (whether that was the couple's or the officiant's issue, I'm not sure.) Your friends clearly did not make that mistake! I agree that weddings are an affirmation of relationships and marriage. It's moving to read how meaningful the ceremony was to you and Bryce. Also, kudos for seeking out the sea captain and letting him know how much his words meant. 55 years of marriage definitely gives him some authority on the subject! I hope you have as many years and that you share them with your future children.

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    1. It really was a special wedding ceremony. It just seemed like the right thing to do, to seek out and thank the captain for his amazingly constructed ceremony of commitment. It would be awesome to have 55 years... Hopefully we can make it too at least 88 and 90 to see that! Who knows what lies in store for the future... :-)

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  2. We did the Hand Blessing at our wedding, too! It wasn't hard for me during the ceremony (Hello, Naive Bride!), but we watch our ceremony every year on our anniversary and that tiny little line always was a twist to the heart and caused many (more) tears to fall.

    It's so hard to get caught up in the "bad" that infertility brings and it's refreshing to know, that for me, it also brought me closer to J in our marriage. I bet it was reassuring to hear from the authority ( I mean, 55 years gives you that title, yes?) that you are doing something right.

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