Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Rhode to The Rest of Our Lives: We Say "I Do"

When I left off, FI had just led me to the front of our ceremony space to get this thing started!

You may remember that we had originally wanted a very personal ceremony, and wanted someone very close to us to marry us, but after researching a little more, we realized that the laws in RI aren't the easiest to understand, and having a friend or family member officiate our ceremony was not going to be possible, due to timing.  

One of the stipulations that we had in hiring an officiant was that we had some control over our ceremony, and to our surprise, our officiant, Michael Kelleher, gave us free reign.

With that information, I spent hours and hours reading different ceremony texts, and compiling different parts to make something special and unique. 

Warning - This is going to be a long one!

Welcoming Address
"We are gathered here today to celebrate the love and wedding of Dylan and Amanda. Marriage is a sacred rite. An ancient rite.  And from what I gather, a day many of you have been waiting and hoping for—for a very long time.

I am up here today because almost seven years ago, Dylan and Amanda met on a trip to Lake Placid with the touring choir at College.  They spent one evening talking, and from that day forward, they decided that when the time came for them to take the next step, they wanted not only their love, but their friends and family to be center stage. This ceremony is a reflection of the personalities and wishes of Dylan and Amanda. We are all part of their story, and that is what brings us together, today."

"The bride and groom would like to recognize their parents on this occasion. The unconditional gifts of love and support that you have continually offered have inspired your children to become who they are today, and they thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Without you, this day would not be possible.

Today represents not only the joining of Dylan and Amanda as a couple, but also the joining of their families. Family, both biological, and created through the bonds of friendship, is truly the most important thing we have in this life. Dylan and Amanda are so lucky to have so many people here today, their families, joined together to bear witness to their union."

"Dylan and Amanda have also asked that we take a moment to honor those loved ones who are not with us today.  

And as we remember those who are not with us, we also recognize those who are still denied the civil right of wedded union, and forbidden the social and legal benefits of marriage.

We have come a long way toward treating all men and women as equals, and yet, we acknowledge that we have farther still to go, and more we can do to respect the choice to love, and be loved.

As you look at the beauty within the Botanical Center, please take a moment of silence for those we have recognized."

Reading 1
"Edmund O’Neill’s 'Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love'

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill."

Reading 2
"'The Art of Good Marriage' by Wilfred Alan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, “I love you,” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner."

Family and Friends' Vows
As Dylan and Amanda prepare to join their lives, it is important to understand that everyone present, and those who were unable to attend, have played a part in the story of their love, shaping these two who are standing in front of us today. And, you will continue to play a vital role in their continuing future.  So, I ask that friends and family please stand, and that you turn and acknowledge the bride and the groom, as they acknowledge you.

As family and friends, you form a community of support that surrounds Dylan and Amanda.  Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other.

Always stand beside them, never between them.  Offer them your love and your support, not your judgment.  Encourage them when encouragement is needed, and listen to them when they ask for advice.  In these ways, you can honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today. 

Do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union?

We do.

Bride and Groom's Vows
Dylan and Amanda, do you, with family and friends as your witnesses, present yourselves willingly and of your own accord to be joined in marriage?

We do.

Will you promise to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life, and to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?

We will.

Then please turn to each other and share the vows you have written.

***For the sake of keeping some part of our ceremony private and special, I am not going to include the vows that we wrote to one another.  You can see by the photos I have included how emotional our vows were, and how much love we were pouring out during our ceremony.***

Ring Exchange
Amanda, please repeat after me:

“Dylan, I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my love, my partner, and my best friend, to the end of my days.  Please wear this, think of me, and know that I love you, always.”

Dylan, please repeat after me:

“Amanda, I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my love, my partner, and my best friend, to the end of my days.  Please wear this, think of me, and know that I love you, always.”

Dylan, the engagement ring that you gave Amanda is a symbol of promise and intention. Now that the intention is realized and the promise fulfilled, please place the engagement ring on Amanda’s finger over her wedding band to symbolize that the love that brought you together will always protect and sustain your marriage.

Marriage License
Having exchanged rings and their promises to love, I ask that the Bride and the Groom please sign their respective names on their Marriage Certificate – the legally binding document which brings Dylan and Amanda together on their wedding day.

Dylan and Amanda have asked two special people to act as the Best Man and the Maid of Honor during their wedding ceremony.  At this time, I ask that the Best Man and Father of the Groom, please step forward, along with the Maid of Honor and Sister of the Bride.  I now ask that they please sign their respective names on the Marriage Certificate, as witnesses to the marriage ceremony held today.

Closing Remarks
With the signing of the Marriage Certificate by the Bride and Groom and their chosen witnesses, and the virtue of the authority vested in me under the Laws of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, I now pronounce you husband and wife!

You may now kiss the bride!

And with that, we were officially married!

Did you write your own ceremony? Do you remember every detail and moment of your ceremony, as I do ours?

All photos by Matt Ferrara Photography unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhode to The Rest of Our Lives: A Walk Down the Aisle

After getting word that the ceremony was getting started, we walked through the reception space and headed towards the doors of the main greenhouse.  

One last shot, showing how truly excited I was to get married, and then our photographer hopped into the ceremony space to get some shots of us walking down the aisle.

Even though we had planned for grandparents and parents to be walked down the aisle as part of the processional, they were already seated, so we just moved on with the rest of the entrance.  The guys entered the ceremony space from the reception space, and stood at the front of the venue, just waiting on us girls to arrive.

Because there are technically two aisles, due to there being a fountain in the middle of the ceremony space, we walked down only on one side.

With a queue from the coordinator to the DJ, the music began and first to walk down the aisle was BM A, who looked so happy to be a part of our wedding day.  I chose "The Wandering Kind" by Josh Groban for me and my girls to walk down to, and I actually listened to it on repeat 197 times the week of the wedding.  I'm not kidding either. I checked my iTunes play count.  Yikes....

Next, and last, to walk down was my sister, MOH E, who was so proud to be playing such a large role in our wedding.  

And finally, after my girls were settled in their spots, it was my turn.  With my arm around my father's, he led me down the aisle, so proud to present me to my future husband.  

We originally looked at the venue in the Fall of 2011, and I'll tell you, an entire year's worth of growth in this greenhouse changed a lot of things, including the large palm fronds that encase the large fountain in the center of the space.  They were so large, that my boss was actually asked to hold one of them up so that I could walk by it without getting face-slapped!  I thought that it was really funny, but apparently, FI didn't.  The fronds were so big, that FI couldn't see me walking down the aisle.  

And this next picture shows exactly what I wasn't expecting.  FI had such a hard time seeing my walk towards him that he had to crane and move around a bit to find a place where he could see me.  

And I couldn't see him either. Not until we rounded the corner at the end of the aisle.

And that's when the emotion hit me. I was so happy to see him and to finally be marrying him, and I just started crying.  

And his smile was so big, and he had tears in his eyes from seeing me for the first time, too.

Our Justice of the Peace stopped my father and I at the end of the aisle, and I leaned over to him, told him that I loved him, and then he and FI shared a big hug.  

FI then took my hand, and led me over to the front of the ceremony space, where we would say our vows and officially get married.  

Next up is the official stuff, and some more tears - surprise, surprise!

All photos by Matt Ferrara Photography unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Rhode to The Rest of Our Lives: Nervous Conversation

While I was in the back of the venue freaking out and getting pooped on (hahaha, that sounds so wrong!), FI was inside greeting our guests and mingling, trying to get his nerves out before we started the ceremony.  Being able to mingle with guests before the ceremony was something that I wish I was able to do, but at the same time, I am so glad that I was able to have the surprise factor of everyone seeing me for the first time while I was walking down the aisle.  

And finally, after mingling with his family...

Our friends....

And even my family...

It was time for the ceremony to start!

All photos by Matt Ferrara Photography unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Rhode to The Rest of Our Lives: Arriving Late

Due to our late arrival at the hotel that morning, we were running slightly late to the Botanical Center.  Because of this, things ended up not going as scheduled, and we didn't end up getting the "girls" pictures done, like the guys had been able to do.  Instead, I was frazzled, as you can see in the photos below, and spent the last few minutes before the ceremony leaning into the trunk of my car, scribbling my vows onto a slip of paper, since all I had them written on was my iPad.  

After I finished up, my hand shaking like crazy from pre-ceremony nerves, my dad showed up, and saw me all dressed up for the first time.  I will admit, I did get teary eyed, but that wasn't caught on camera.  The shot below is another one of my favorites from the day - captured from afar.  

At some point while we were waiting behind the ceremony space, the "luckiest" thing happened.  

I got pooped on. By a bird.  

And! The surprising thing was that I didn't even freak out about it.  My first response was actually, "Well, at least it was on the back of the dress and not the front!"

No idea when it happened, but thankfully, our coordinator from the catering company found it and came to the rescue.  Armed with a cup of water, a towel, and a butter knife, she was able to scrape the poop off of the back of my dress, and all the layers of organza that it had gone through, and after that, you couldn't even tell that something was there to begin with!  She was amazing!

After the little cleanup, the last thing to do was wait.  You can see how nervous I was in the pictures below. I just kept asking how much longer, in anticipation for walking down the aisle and getting this ceremony done with. I was just so excited to get married!

Finally, we had gotten word that all our guests were inside the greenhouse, and we could walk over to the front of the ceremony space.  It was relieving to know that the time had finally come.

Were you as impatient as I was just before your ceremony?  Did you have any mishaps, like getting pooped on by a bird?!

All photos by Matt Ferrara Photography unless otherwise noted.
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