It's hard to imagine that a year ago we were running around crazy for what was one of the biggest days of our lives (buying the house definitely is up there with our wedding). We had a LOT of chaos that weekend, I was printing out the table lists at the hotel the night before the ceremony. Of course there was all the running around with final fittings, making sure we had everything packed, someone to watch the kitties for us while we stayed in the hotel and, of course, getting the house spruced up for a LOT of company the day after.
Final fitting for my dress.
It's funny because I actually found (and fell in love with) my wedding dress before I met Garry. I got it from a store called Unique Vintage located in California. I bought this dress without trying it on or anything - I just *knew* I would love this dress and that my seamstress could make it look awesome on me. Best part - I only paid $400 for this dress. I know, it's unheard of considering how much most dresses are in bridal boutiques.
All of my bridesmaids stayed with me in the hotel the night before the wedding and we had an awesome time catching up.
You know how there is a stigma that the day of the wedding is always really stressful? Not so much. We were really relaxed and it felt like we had all the time in the world to get ready.
We also got to take a lot of photos outside. It was a nice day, but it was incredibly hot outside. Didn't plan for that one...
It was nice arriving to the ceremony site early. Actually, we were there about 20 minutes early and had to wait on everyone else to be ready to start. It was kind of funny since the bride is usually the one running late. Apparently I'm just punctual like that. Of course, it helped that we didn't have the ceremony until 3pm.
I had my mom and dad walk with me down the asile. Why? Just felt like it. The whole time I told both of them that they weren't allowed to cry. There will be none of this crying nonsense I think is what I told them, so we talked about random weird things in order to keep that from happening. Couldn't mess up my makeup afterall.
My friend Pam took video of the procession and beginning of the wedding.
This seemingly random box of stones and things was actually a big part of our ceremony. See, Garry and I are pagan. Our ceremony revolved around the Wheel of the Year, which comprises of 8 different Sabbats (or holidays) that are interspersed through the year. These Sabbats represent points in the year where change occurs, usually from one season to the next, or a significant spiritual holiday.
We had 8 of our friends come up to the microphone and say a piece that "represented" each Sabbat and how that correlated with our marriage. For instance, Samhain is a time of great change. It is the final harvest of the season where all the crops have been reaped and you have to survive on what you have sown. It's a time of change and consequences. In relation to our marriage, we made vows to support each other during times of great change, and understand that change will indeed happen throughout our lives.
Each item in the box was given to us by one of those friends as a physical reminder of our vows. Those items are saturated with the spirit and energy of that Sabbat and at the changing of each Sabbat we change the item on our home altar and talk about the vows we made for that particular Sabbat. It has been a great reminder of the committments we made to each other.
Sure, we could've made vows to love, respect and blah blah blah... but that was already implied since we were getting married in the first place. Our vows were practical, involved emotions and instances that are very real in a marriage and very often are overlooked. We wanted to acknowledge that these are potential obstacles in our path and make vows to be there for each other through those obstacles. It's promising to weather the storm, talk about our problems, and encourage each other to be the best we can be. I think we've done a good job of that during our first year of marriage.
Our wedding bands were placed in the slot with this key. The story behind the key is that it was part of a keychain I had for a while and when Garry and I first started dating I took it off the keyring and gave it to him and said it was the "key to my heart." Funny enough, we broke up for a while shortly thereafter, but he held onto it. When we got back together he wore the key on a necklace every day until right before the wedding (we put it in the box with our bands) and he replaced it on his chain with Thor's hammer.
Remember the expression "tying the knot?" Well, this is where it comes from. Way-back-when, people who married were very literally tied together at the wrist with a cord. This was called "handfasting." Our tradition still practices this ritual at weddings. Sometimes, this is used for purely spiritual unions (as in, the couple doesn't fill out a marriage license and registers it with the state) and we had a small ritual with this the year before our "formal" wedding. Handfastings are typically "recognized" for a year and a day. At that point, you can decide whether or not to do the ceremony again or go your separate ways. In our case, it was kind of like a test run at being married.
Another part of our wedding included mead (honey wine). We figured, "hey, it's our ceremony - let's have wine!" During our handfasting a year prior, a big part of the ritual was actually making the wine. At this point, it was all yummy and delicious and we served it to everyone that wanted some and did a toast. Coordinating this part was kind of... tedious, and at one point Garry reached over for a bottle and pulled the cork out with his teeth (which is why I'm laughing hysterically in this photo). We were pretty chill during the ceremony, sometimes we said random stuff, it was pretty funny.
Our friend Darin officiated the ceremony. He's doing the toast and we're laughing about something. The ceramic bowl is actually a chalice that my maid of honor, Amanda made me.
The last part of the ceremony was for us to "jump" over the besom (a broom) which seals the marriage and makes it "valid." Our friends Lise and Clay made the besom for us before our handfasting and it has carvings, stones and other objects embedded and on it of spiritual significance based on both mine and Garry's birth information. Currently, we have it hung on the wall above our alter in our living room.
We're kind of dorky...
This is probably one of my favorite photos of us. I had this one printed and it's hanging in our weird little "hallway" in a really pretty frame. Hopefully soon I'll add more framed photos to that area as part of a collage.
My favorite photo of Garry hands down. Our photographer (and close friend) Judy said to just do something with it and we have a whole series of photos as he was putting it in his mouth. We were laughing so hard that Judy almost couldn't get the photos.
Our wedding party at the reception site.
Our friend Kory rode his motorcycle to the wedding and let us take a few photos on it.
Video of our introduction.
We were very excited to be inside in the air conditioning - and that we would get to eat soon. Well, Garry got to. I was laced so tightly into my dress that food wasn't going to happen so we boxed it up and had it sent to our room so I could stuff my face later on when I got out of my dress and into a pair of my favorite sweatpants.
Video of our best man and maid of honor speeches.
When we did the blessing before the meal, Garry and I did what is called in our tradition "the Great Rite." While I don't remember the exact wording off of the top of my head (and am too lazy to look it up at the moment) the basic premise is that you have a chalice (the bowl I'm holding) and an athame (that Garry is holding) and you join them together as a symbol of divine union. The wording includes the phrase "no man is greater than any woman, and no woman is greater than any man." This wording means that we are equal to each other - which is a good thing to have in a marriage!
Our cake was really yummy. I'm really looking forward to eating it on Monday. I mean really looking forward to it. It was so tasty! We had dark chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse filling. I know. The only way it could've been any better was if there was bacon involved.
Like I said, we're big dorks. We had to have a cake topper that wasn't traditional. I found this topper on Etsy (it was custom made for us) and my brother and sister-in-law bought it for us for Yule. The topper sits on our alter with our cord wrapped around it, keeping that binding energy there.
Yeah, that cake was so good we didn't want to waste any of it by smashing it on each other's faces. That and it took a LONG time to do my makeup and Garry is... well... furry.
My next favorite photo of Garry and I. I love this picture.
For the father/daughter dance, I told my dad again that there would be none of that crying nonsense, so we talked about college football. That's how we roll. We danced to "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel.
For the mother/son dance I have no idea what Garry and his mom talked about. Probably random things. They danced to "20 Years Late" by Aaron Lines.
Garry and I didn't talk really about anything - we just had fun! Our first dance was to "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. Why? Because the song is kind of silly, but really sweet - just like us.
After our first dance, we decided to get everyone up and moving by doing what's known in our tradition as a "spiral dance." Basically, it's a train. All the tables and chairs made it kind of hard, but we managed and thankfully I didn't rip my dress to shreds. We played the song "Haste to the Wedding" by The Corrs - a very pretty Celtic fiddle tune.
I have no idea what we were laughing so hard about - probably my grandparents dancing to Lady Gaga.
Yep, most women have to sit on a chair for the garter recovery mission, but no, oh no... two of Garry's friends decided it would be WAY more fun to hoist me up in the air instead.
I was very thrilled I didn't hit the ceiling when I threw my bouquet. Yay! You can see a small group of women who were like "not it!" and shying away from it... (I'm looking at you Raine...)
I also thought it would be very fun to make everyone do the Time Warp. Why? Because I said so. I'd like to think I asked very precious little of my guests during the wedding (I mean they got wine during the ceremony - how awesome was that?) so doing the Time Warp was a small price to pay. Watching my family really loosen up and actually dance was... in short... hysterical.
Another thing that I thought would be fun is for everyone to stand together and sing "American Pie." This was at the end of the night when we were all, for lack of a better phrase, "feeling pretty good." I think we had an awesome time with that.
Yep, I even got a foot massage. That rocked.
Yeah, other people were still dancing. My feet were really hurting at that point, but the champagne counter-acted it enough that I didn't really care.
When Garry and I finally made it back to our room, this is what we were surprised with. :) Aww. My bridesmaids went up and decorated the room with rose petals and our besom. It was an awesome day!
I have to say, our wedding was so much fun. We never really felt stressed (okay, I didn't feel really stressed) despite one of our Sabbat people didn't show up (someone had to fill in last-minute) and it was surface-of-the-sun hot outside. Everyone seemed to have a really good time and of course the best part - I married someone that I truly love more than words can say.