Thursday, August 18, 2016

Three Things: My Personal Highlights of the Wedding Day

The three best things about the day of the wedding. What follows are merely hihglights of what was an incredible day. Many people gave us their gifts and their care even though they are not mentioned. I just wanted to give you a few of the moments that stood out to me on the day.

Breakfast With My Parents
There were a handful of things concerning the day of the wedding that I really wanted. I really wanted to walk down the aisle to a specific Czech song called Křídla Motýlí sung by the 2004 Český Superstar (the Czech equivalent of American Idol). And I really wanted there to be donuts. Other details were more flexible than those. But I also wanted to spend the morning of my wedding day with my parents. I wanted a time for us to be alone together in peace, with time for them to pray with me and talk with me before the crazy of the day hit. I got the idea from Little Women, one of my favourite books of all time. In the book the oldest sister spends a time of prayer and counsel with her father in his study before her wedding. A long time ago I decided I wanted something similar. I took my mom and dad to one of my favourite cafes. We discovered that although the rest of the cafe was bustling and packed there was a tranquil, shady garden in the back. We spent two hours together. We talked over memories of my growing up. My dad shared a passage fo scripture from Ruth that he had been inspired by in relation to the wedding. I couldn’t eat much from nerves, but I loved basking in the attention of both my parents. It was the perfect way to kick off a huge day. 

Our Beloved Guests
Sheldon and I planned our wedding all by ourselves. We put in hours and hours of work envisioning what our day would be like. But one thing that we couldn’t quite envision was what it would be like to finally stand in front of all of our guests. I stumbled down the aisle in my toasty wedding dress (I am talking literally here, I literally tripped on the steps going up the aisle) and finally took my place beside Sheldon at the altar. I could now see my guests for the first time. There was my favourite Education professor standing in the back. There were the kids for youth group. There was the family that took me in during my first summer in Wheaton. Each face belonged to beloved person in our lives. Often during the process of planning the wedding we (OK, mainly me) stressed over whether we would offend the guest over various decisions. Would we offend everyone by not having a seating chart? Would the guests be offended that we did not serve alcohol? Would they be more offended if we did serve alcohol? But as I looked out on our guests I realised how foolish that had been. Perhaps those fears would have been rational had I been Princess Kate planning a royal wedding of international proportions and huge diplomatic import, but I wasn’t. The people at our wedding came because they cared about us more than they cared for formalities. 

My Brother’s Contributions 
This is hard to describe. But here goes. My younger brother Paul Hugh took the microphone first when the time for toasts came. He looked dapper in his grey suit and glasses. He began by saying that our choice to read have scripture read in English, Spanish and Czech was a symbol of my and Sheldon’s allegiance to several different cultures. Then he said that there was one culture left unrepresented. Extraterrestrial culture. So he thought that we needed to have the same passage of scripture read in Alien. He then placed the microphone very close to his lips and began to emit screeching noises. Some of the noises were long piercing shrieks while some were low rumbling sucking sounds like that of a plunger underwater. 

He made the noises for at least 20 seconds and then paused. Then he placed the microphone to his throat and made another 30 seconds of noises this time vibrating from deep in his throat. I died laughing. But even as I was splitting the sides of my carefully tailored dress I was looking around at the guests wondering how they were taking this. I wondered who besides me and my family thought it was funny. Some people seemed bemused. My pastor was cracking up. But the best was one of Sheldon’s little nephews who sat on the steps of the pavilion transfixed. Then he began to imitate Paul Hugh’s noises with bizarre sounds of his own. Paul Hugh’s toast hit the spot for me on a day which had a lot of stress and weightiness attached I loved abandoning myself to laughter and feeling like it was a special gift to me. 

OK. I know I said Three Things, but writing about one brother;s contribution to the wedding makes me want to write about the other two. Patrick, my older brother composed a song and sang it during the ceremony. I had asked him to play a musical piece during the ceremony two weeks before. I told him I wanted him to choose something and in the days leading up he was still deciding what to sing and rejecting every suggestion. Finally at the rehearsal dinner he asked if he could sing me part of the song he had composed for the occasion. Sheldon and I loved it. I think he finsihed writing it that day, but I might be making that up. In any event it was funny, it was sweet and it was beautiful. It recounted the history of our relationship as brother and sister and then the history of welcoming Sheldon into the family. I loved it. 

We asked my littlest brother Isaac (9) to dance down the aisle right before me. We had almost zero time to perfect this and I was busy tripping while he was doing his part during the ceremony, so I didn’t really get the full benefit of seeing it. But later on in the evening there was some dancing and that was when I really got to enjoy Isaac’s dancing skills. He bounded up to the little girl (8) who had carried the train of my dress down the aisle and begged her to dance with him. She was slightly reluctant but gave in and let herself be whisked by both hands into a fabulous dance of Isaac’s concoction. Isaac gave himself over to fabulous movements that resembled flamenco. The little girl opted for a simple side step. It was so fun to watch them. Eventually Isaac pulled a passing four-year-old into their dance. The three of them joined hands danced in a circle. Sheldon and I stopped our progression of greeting the guests for a few moments and watched them with huge smiles. 

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