Reading through the last few posts, it looks like Valerie has said, in succession, “We’re getting married”, “We are married”, and “Kyle will say more later.” This gives me the distinct impression that I have the onerous responsibility to relate to you all the goings on of the last few weeks.
I’ll give it my best shot: Phase III is complete. Phase I was the happy “Get married” part, followed quickly by the happy “honeymoon” part of Phase II. Phase III was the unhappy moving part. Phase IV is the happy “sitting around waiting for school to start” part. We’re in phase IV now.
Ok. I’m done. What, you want more? Details?!! How cheeky!
Nevertheless, if it’s details you want, I’ll do my best. Putting everything in one post would be outrageously long though, so I’m going to have to break it down into the above phases, to be published as quickly as my ittle fingers can carry me. So:
***Phase I: Get Married.***
For those of you who didn’t come, I’m afraid I’m not going to describe the entire ceremony for you. Please remember that for a good chunk of it, I was pacing back and forth behind the vestry. People have told me, however, that it was quite possibly the best and most worshipful ceremony they had ever seen. My friend Eddie told me that it almost made him want to go back and re-do the ceremony at *his* wedding. I understand the sentiment. Considering the amazing outpouring of generosity that we received, I wouldn’t have any misgivings about repeating the experience every other week!
Seriously, the comments about how effective the ceremony was in calling people to worship were very much appreciated. That’s exactly what Valerie and I were trying to achieve. Both of us feel that one of the major purposes of the institution of marriage (and more specifically,*our* marriage) is to be a model of the relationship between Christ and His church. One way we hoped to do that was in the actual ceremony, so it was good to hear that we achieved our goal in that.
Of course, within 30 seconds of stationing myself behind the vestry, I realized that I had forgotten the only important thing I was responsible for remembering that day: the ring. Valerie’s ring comes in two parts: the engagement ring was so pretty (and expensive!) that decided we couldn’t possibly put it away in exchange for the wedding ring. So we got a sleeve of the same metal that clips around the engagement ring to form the wedding ring (popping it in and out is really kind of fun). I had been keeping the sleeve with me for 4-5 months or so and had brought it with me, stored safely in my luggage – which was still in the car behind the church!
There was a door to the outside of the church from the vestry (in a Baptist church, I probably shouldn’t call it a vestry, but it wasn’t exactly a choir room either), and the service had only just started, leaving me probably 15 minutes before the I had to make *my* grand entrance. What I should have done was to run out that door (careful to prop it open), down to the car, and retrieve the sleeve, back before anyone else even arrived to miss me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know that I had 15 minutes. I’ve never understood why they don’t have a full rehearsal for weddings. You walk through the whole thing in double time and then you go home. Imagine stage actors who are handed their lines and given one rehearsal, in which they learn the blocking for the play. A good improv actor might be able to pull it off, but don’t expect him to like it.
I didn’t like it. In fact, I panicked. I paced. I expected her to renounce me on the spot. When the pastor came back to see me, I sent him right back out again with a message for the best man: find that wedding ring.
A few minutes later, he came back and reassured me. He had talked to our wedding planner, and she had told him everything was taken care of – they already had the ring in its proper place. I was not reassured. I didn’t tell anybody to consult with the wedding planner. She’s a nice lady, and I’m sure she’s got everything under control, but I’m also quite confident that she hasn’t gone searching through my luggage in the back seat of my car. No doubt they had the engagement ring in place, but the chance of them having the proper wedding ring were outrageously slim.
After another five minutes or so, Tom, my Best Man showed up. I think I pinned him to the wall. “Do you have the ring?” I asked him, probably through clenched teeth. Tom smiled and pulled out of his pocked the naked engagement ring. It was only then that Alex, another of my groomsmen, pointed out that there was a door to the outside that we could use without going back through the main sanctuary. Unfortunately, at that point we knew we only had a few minutes left. We just couldn’t risk it.
And so it was that, in front of who knows how many people, I was publicly re-engaged to my wife, while she was properly married to me.
Other than that, I don’t remember too many thoughts during the ceremony. I was too busy internally cringing in anticipation of the look on my beloved’s face when she realized I didn’t have that blasted sleeve – the one she had reminded me not to forget nearly once a week since we bought it. I do remember finally getting to see her walking toward me in that dress, on her daddy’s arm. Actually, I don’t remember particularly what it looked like. I just remember how hard it was not to cry.
We exchanged rings. Hers was… missing something; mine wouldn’t fit. We lit candles; we washed feet. We had communion. We stood forever at the communion table, waiting for the song to end. It was a very long song for so short a piece of the ceremony, but as I stood there listening, trying to figure out which verse we should have cut, I was very much reminded why we picked the song we picked. Every verse was perfect for the occasion. Not one could have been cut.
Then the ceremony was over. We hid in the balcony until everyone had retreated. Tom went and found the other half of Valerie’s wedding ring. We took pictures. I made silly faces.
Then the reception. I have a few regrets about the reception, honestly. Nothing big. It’s just clear in retrospect that we didn’t pay nearly as much attention to the way the reception should have been run as we did to the wedding itself. As a result, the reception was… normal. It wasn’t bad, but it clearly didn’t have our fingerprints on it. There are only a few changes I would have made though:
I would have banished the receiving line. Saying thank you to each of your guests is important. But standing in bad shoes for a near infinite amount of time while each person attempts to have with you what may be the last conversation they’ll ever have is a bad idea. Besides, I hate the entire concept of standing in line to talk to somebody. They used to do that at a church I went to. Anyone who ever spoke at a service there, be it for fifteen minutes or an hour and a half, was instantly elevated to swami status. Once the service was over, great crowds of people would come and individually greet them like ministers of state. It happened to me once. I kept wondering what it was that we were talking about that was so special that we couldn’t include the next guy in the conversation. Plus, I kept looking up to see what these other people wanted, which made me feel like I was insulting the guy right in front of me. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it and I stopped everybody and bent the line back on itself so we could all talk together. I would have liked to do something similar during the reception. Instead of just standing there and having a line form in front of us, we should have broke out the food first, and then gone around to each table and thanked people for coming in groups. More moving around equals less hurt feet, and group conversations eliminates the sensation of having to make an appointment to say hello. Plus I think it would have been more respectful of people’s time, since so many came from so far away.
The other thing I think I would have fixed was entirely my fault. I didn’t say a blame thing the entire time. When we were making toasts, the microphone kept being handed back to me. I should have grabbed it and said something nice to everybody, but I kept waiting for a more opportune time. It never came. If I had paid attention to the plans, I would have seen that coming.
We changed clothes and were escorted to a hideously transformed getaway vehicle. Alex, the above mentioned groomsman (and Valerie’s brother) insisted upon adorning me with a superman cape, and both of Valerie’s parents stopped us to present us with the “last” of the money from the wedding fund. From her dad, we received a deck of cards, and from her mom (left discretely in the passenger seat of the car) was a nice full-length whip. I’m not really sure how either of them intended us to use their gifts.
We’ll cover the honeymoon part (in no gross detail) a little later…