This post is probably going to suck

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Hi.  I’m Cheese and I once blogged here.  And, much like many of my blogging buddies, I am now apologizing for dropping my once-breakneck recap frequency.

Frankly, I’m not sure what happened, though I think it’s a combination of factors.  First, I have no idea how to write about something as personal as a ceremony and still make it interesting to people who aren’t me.  That’s closer to the truth than it first seems: I wrote our ceremony with myself in mind and it was a bit too long and too rushed for everyone else, but I don’t care.

See, I struggle in this relationship thing.  (Cue the laughing at such an obvious understatement.)  And I know myself well enough to know that I will need words of wisdom and support and guidance to get me through the low times.  So, I wrote our ceremony with that goal in mind: to get me through the rough times by reminding me why I was married, what being married meant, and what to do next.  Literally.

My husband is not a words person; he’s more of an actions guy.  We both knew that our ceremony wording mattered more to me than to anyone else, which gave me permission to be selfish.  I am not good at selfish, but I’m glad I was.

Since then, we’ve had a few fights, (more laughing at the inevitability of this fact), and I’ve thought of our ceremony, and of our vows, and of the faith our people have in us that we can make this work.  I’ve remembered that we are bound together through rough times, we are supposed to ask for help, and we are guided through it all by our God and our people.  See?  It worked!

And finally, you all have been such sweethearts about my previous recaps that I’m feeling the pressure of writing something great.  Our ceremony wasn’t nearly as emotional as the morning before or as funny as the reception afterward.

It was perfect, though.  So, with your expectations hopefully lowered, I’ll go ahead and get this part recapped.

I’ll start by setting the stage.  Moments before, I’d said a prayer, borrowed faith in myself from my loved ones, and walked myself down a steep and uneven trail to meet my new husband.  If that’s not a literal enough analogy….


I was a little bit embarrassed to have all of those people smiling at me.  “What do I do?” I thought briefly.  “Do I smile back?”  But way back when, I thought about what I wanted to feel and experience during our ceremony, so I was prepared.  I looked at my guy.

Photo by my father

“Psssst.”  Oops, forgot to hand over my bouquet. I decided early on that I wanted to be holding his hand, not a bunch of flowers.


“Wow, he’s squeezing my hands really tightly. Ow. What the…?”  I looked over at my MOH who was looking at my chest with eyes big as saucers.


Noooo, I hadn’t spilled out of my dress.  A seriously effective bra prevented any kind of spillage mishap.  I was, however, literally flushing with an overwhelming rush of feeling – of relief, of gratitude, of being loved.  My chest was bright red.

“Relax, relax, relax,” I told myself.  And then I did.  This was the fun part.  And then it was.

Our ceremony was the easiest part of our whole wedding day.  No stress, no decisions, no prepping.  Much like walking into a final exam and knowing you cannot possibly know more than you do at that moment, I was as ready as I’d be.


I had high expectations for our ceremony, something I’m sure you’d expect from a woman who loves words as much as I.  I wanted prayers, because prayers amongst loved ones are special.  I wanted blessings, because blessings from loved ones are magical. I wanted to come right out and say that we were giving something up to get a marriage, and we were okay with that.  I wanted our people to pledge to support us, our gratitude for them to be clear, and for our vows and pledges to be in honest, direct, achievable words.  I wanted them to be promises.


Oh, yea, and I didn’t want to struggle not to roll my eyes, even inside my head.  Or for him to roll his. We love us some cheesy, but only on purpose.

And while our ceremony was a bit long, the words sometimes couldn’t be heard, and there was nary a cool breeze, we got it all.


Our parents gave us their blessings,

1568 1575



we all bowed our heads in prayer,

1578 1576

my siblings sang us a song (“Time after Time” by Cindy Lauper – think about it, it’s perfect),


his sister read us a poem (“Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali),


and our preacher – a long-time friend of my husband’s family – spoke words of encouragement, support, and guidance.

We laughed,


and I cried when our people pledged to support us.


He spoke the most perfect vows,

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 054 

Photo by my father

and I surprised him with mine (wherein I pledged not to yell, which proves that vows can include things you can only aspire to).

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 056

Photo by my father

We exchanged rings,

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 059

photo by my father

and we were blessed, by our God and our people (and the State of Tennessee).


Did I already say that our ceremony was the easiest part of the whole shebang?  I felt no stress, no worry, no concern or panic or distance from myself.  When our preacher asked us to come into the quiet of prayer (I love that phrasing), I thanked God for second chances and finally let go of my regrets about my past

I forgave that immature and unprepared girl that I used to be, the wife that didn’t know herself well enough to love someone else well, the woman who’d learned so much since that first wedding day almost ten years before.  I apologized, one last time, to my ex-husband, and let it all go. Right there, in front of our supporters and with my husband’s hand in mine, I forgave myself.  It was time. 

And then I became a wife.

1652 BW

Our ceremony was too long, but I’m okay with that.  Before you get married, everyone is very concerned about how long the ceremony will be, and you get annoyed.

“Isn’t this the whole point?” you’ll think.  “Is that all anybody cares about, rushing to the party and the food?”  You’ll be very, very annoyed.

Ignore them.  I won’t say this about any other time on our wedding day, because I believe weddings are more about families (“your people”) than they are about the couple, but this was our time.  For approximately one hour, we got to hear someone special say the words that will guide us through good times and bad, in front of our people.  He spoke my favorite verse in the whole world:

Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you, For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me. Ruth 1:16

We heard a song (love music), laughed through a reading (love dogs), and held hands every moment (love holding hands). 

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 045Photo by my father

It was the only time in the whole day we were together every minute, and I loved it. From that point forward, with the blessings of our people (and God and the State of Tennessee), we had a mandate to make things work and to ask for help if we need it. How amazing is that? Permission – no, responsibility – to ask for help. 

The words we’d need in the future were spoken in that blessed space.

You keep your love alive

through the choices you make moment by moment,

day after day, and year after year.

Through practice,

you learn how to love yourselves and each other

with devotion and freedom.

And that was it.  We were married.


Suddenly, I felt free, not something I’d expected at all.


All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

Part III: It’s Time


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2 Responses to “This post is probably going to suck”

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I’m so glad you’re back! the pics are gorgeous & it sounds like your vows were stunning. we’re going to use the same verse from Ruth & the Taylor Mali poem too!

Beautiful Ceremony! Reading about it made me cry (in a good way). I’m getting married later this year so reading about all the details of your day made it seem more real 🙂

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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