Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love Like Crazy: The Ceremony

As I walked down the aisle, I knew that this was it. We considered our Ceremony to be the real heart of the wedding; we may have spent more money on the reception, but our Ceremony was when we truly became married. 

Most of you know we're Catholic, but I often don't mention how seriously we take that part of our lives. To us, the Ceremony was so profoundly important... it was everything. We spent months faithfully preparing for those moments in the Chapel, and to finally be there ready to receive the Sacrament of Marriage was such a truly amazing experience. 

We entered the Chapel as two people blessed with the gift of love and a calling to marriage, we stood at the altar in the presence of God and our family and friends, we said the words generations of couples before us have spoken, and when all was said and done we left as one pair... filled with the grace of God and connected by a covenant that never ends.

But I'm getting ahead of myself... back to the part where I finally reach the front of the Chapel and stand with my almost-husband...

Father John welcomed everyone, and we all bowed our heads as he spoke an Opening Prayer.

Next came the readings... Jeff and I sat in our pair of chairs, and Jeff's Uncle Bill went first, reading Jeremiah 31:31-32a, 33-34a. We chose the reading for the beautiful description it gives of God's covenant with mankind. A priest I knew in college once encouraged me to think of a marriage covenant as a reflection of God's covenant, and I thought that was such a beautiful way to think about things. So we picked it to be read at our wedding. :)

"I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

After the first reading, we sang Psalm 33 - "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." I had mentioned to the Church coordinator that my husband-to-be has fairly substantial vocal training, and she made sure to get us a great cantor to sing at the wedding. :)

Next was my Uncle Chris. I've been very close to Uncle Chris basically since I was born, so this was a pretty emotional task for him. At our rehearsal, he couldn't get through it without crying, but at the wedding, his reading was perfect... heartfelt and loving.

We chose to have Uncle Chris read 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a. Yes, it's the typical "love is patient, love is kind" reading. But we picked it for the last two sentences: "It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

(Great shot of the birdcage veil by the way!!!)

I had a frame with that verse in my bedroom in college, and every time I was getting frustrated with the long-distance relationship, I could just glance over and remind myself, "It endures all things." During our engagement, my heart was full of hopes and dreams for the future, and it was so confirming to see "It hopes all things" on my wall. Now that we're married and sharing a little apartment, "It bears all things" helps me to keep my mouth shut when Jeff leaves for work without closing that third dresser drawer. :)

Then the cantor came up again to sing the Alleluia, and then it was on to the third reading (read by Father John). We chose John 15:9-12.

"Love one another as I have loved you"
"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you, and your joy might be complete"

Then Father John moved on to the Homily, in which he said lots of funny things, lots of thoughtful things, and lots of nice things. :)

At one point Father John was going on and on about how I married Jeff for his last name (my maiden name is HUGELY difficult to spell and pronounce, and Jeff's is nice and phonetic and British-sounding). We found this quite amusing, probably because it's the tiniest bit true. Ha. 

And then... we moved on to the actual marriage part! 

We stood at the altar and went through the "Statement of Intentions," in which we answered yes to these questions:

"Katie and Jeff, 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?"

And then... Father John: "Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your hands and declare your consent before God and his Church." So we held hands, and said our vows.

"I Jeff, take you Katie, 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 all the days of my life."
"I Katie, take you Jeff, 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."

And just like that, we were MARRIED! Father John said these words: "You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide." And then all that was left were the traditional things!

We exchanged rings...

"Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The string quartet played Bach's Art Thou Near Me while we lit the unity candle...

Then Father Al (Jeff's cousin who happens to be an Episcopal priest) led the Prayers of the Faithful, in which everyone prayed for us, our friends and family, and our world.

This apparently was boring for some in the crowd... ;o)

And then Father Al said the Nuptial Blessing...

And then Father John said a Closing Blessing...

And then... "You may kiss the bride!"

And then... "For the first time, Katie and Jeff Lastname!"
[Sidenote: I was obsessed with having him read both of our names rather than deleting my name altogether to say "Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Lastname." Apparently I have a feminist side. Ha!]

So happy!!

My MOHsister fixed my train and handed me my bouquet, and back down the aisle we went!

Our wedding party, parents, and grandparents followed...

Somehow he got two bridesmaids. Ha!

And it was done! We were married! We gathered in an alcove at the side of the Chapel with our wedding party and waited for the guests to file out, and then it was time for photos! 

All photos by Kelli Nicole Photography.


  1. i say this everyday but, loving the recaps!! :)

  2. What a beautiful ceremony! I'm not Catholic, but your ceremony seems lovely. Obviously, most of our budget went towards our reception as well, but what we couldn't wait for was the actual ceremony. You're pictures are gorgeous!

  3. @jacin - I'm so glad you're enjoying them! Thanks for commenting all the time! :o)

    @Rebekah - yeah, it's funny how the ceremony can get overshadowed by the big party sometimes even though the ceremony's the part when you actually GET MARRIED! Crazy weddings. ;o)

  4. Beautiful ceremony! It looks like you put a lot of heart into it.