I keep trying to write a blog entry about the wedding that does it justice, but it appears I’ll never be able to, so you’ll have to deal with my pixelated, low-quality, camera phone version.
As you might surmise from my previous couple of entries, 89% of my brain had convinced the remaining optimistic 11% that the entire wedding would somehow erupt in figurative and/or literal flames hours before the ceremony. I envisioned Graham and myself forced to marry in a stranger’s basement, with a ten second ceremony officiated by a guy named Larry from Down the Block a recently ordained Our Lady of the Internet minister, followed by a celebratory toast with Kool Aid Koolers or maybe Capri Sun*, all while wearing sweatpants. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would experience such a joyful, serene wedding day.
Following my “bachelorette party” on Thursday night which mostly involved discussions of theology, Harry Potter and virginity (usually not at the same time) with some of my closest friends, we spent the majority of Friday setting up tables, unloading a million chairs from a truck (well, ok, about 160), and sweeping bat feces from the floor of a barn. For little guys, bats have lots of bowel movements. The amount of people who turned out to help with all of these tasks (including people who weren’t ask) astounded me. Even the wedding rehearsal was far more seamless than I anticipated, thanks to the wonderful leadership of the pastor and cooperation by the attendants and family members (and friends who stood-in for missing grandparents).
I had my last minor breakdown of the week at the rehearsal dinner. The Badger family generously hosted what felt like a thousand people in their home– but was actually more like forty– and made waffles, complete with homemade whipped cream for all of them. While Mr. and Mrs. Badger never ceased being gracious and generous, the sheer number of people completely overwhemed me. Many of them traveled hundreds of miles for the wedding and I wanted to spend time talking to and hugging all of them, but there were just . . . so many. A member in good standing of the Socially Challenged Introverts League, at the end of a long, hot day the last thing I usually want to do is put on a smile and socialize. I felt guilty for not being entertaining enough, and had to take a break outside for a few minutes in order to avoid succumbing to tears. Graham, amazing man that he is, refused to let me alone (because, to paraphrase Dumbledore, human beings have a knack for wanting precisely the things that are worst for them) and walked with me a while to calm me down. No one encourages and inspires me, quite like he does, and after our brief conversation I enjoyed the rest of the evening much more thoroughly.
I slept in on Saturday and spent the majority of the morning swimming with Rachel, my sister, and best friend, Mia. We amused ourselves largely by attempting ballet choreography in the water. For some reason, the absurdity of of an aquatic tour jeté has amused us for the past eight years. After far too many hours of showering, hair (done my my mother), and makeup (by yours truly) in the company of my bridesmaids, we arrived at the wedding, albeit slightly behind schedule. I waited in the barn, where the reception would take place, for a few minutes while I hugged a few people and we all gathered our gorgeous bouquets. In the blink of an eye, I was walking down the aisle to my favorite hymn, on my father’s arm. For our friends less familiar with our faith and belief system, the religious nature of the ceremony may have been a little overwhelming, but for us it was perfect. We exchanged vows reflective of our beliefs about the marriage covenant (see Ephesians 5), exchanged rings (which are family heirlooms) and were pronounced Man and Wife. Word on the street says a butterfly flew over us in that moment, but I’ve yet to see the photographic evidence.
The reception . . .oh, goodness. The reception was just fun. I won’t bore you with excruciating detail, but the food was wonderful, the cake looked beautiful and tasted better and I danced to ridiculous music with the Harry Potter Fandom. Seriously. 100% of my “Harry Potter friends” danced, while about 10% of other guests dared take to the dance floor. I love my Potter friends.
Speaking of friends, Graham and I are still reeling with how generous and fantastic our friends and family are. On Saturday, dozens of volunteers (some of whom I’d never even met, or barely kn0w) gathered at the wedding venue to decorate and continue setting up for the ceremony and reception. We hired no caterer or wedding planner. Graham’s father and some family friends barbecued all day on Thursday and Friday for the carnivores, while my mother and Graham’s grandmother put together most of the rest of the food (salad, fruit salad, hummus, pita) and the day of the reception a host of volunteers prepared a hundred ears of corn on the cob. Have I mentioned how good the corn was? You haven’t had corn until you’ve had Ohio corn. Graham’s aunt brought a host of remarkable ideas to the table and contributed a variety of items for decorating purposes, the pastor’s wife paid for our D.J. (a church friend) when she discovered we weren’t planning on having one, and the florist (also a church/family friend) charged far less than she could have given the quality and quanntity of the flowers we ordered. Not to mention the fact, that an entire family from the church acted as servers for the reception. They served guests, replaced food on the buffet line, cleared plates and even handed out wet wipes so that guests could clean up after eating the messy food. I saw and felt the love of Christ in all those people that week and there’s no way I could ever thank them enough. That’s what weddings should feel like– not corporate, mass produced obligations but community-centered celebrations of love, family and God’s grace.
I’ll updated soon to tell you about our “homeymoon” (stay-at-home honeymoon) or at least about some of the mini-vacation. I just made you uncomfortable, didn’t I? Thanks for reading this obscenely long entry, and please take a minute to bookmark the new blog I’m starting with my husband: http://marriageonthequad.blogspot.com in which we’ll blog about the unique challenges of being married college students. I know the name is corny and kind of dumb, but I registered it in the wee hours of the morning while half asleep and I can’t think of anything better.
P.S. No, this blog’s name isn’t changing either. Words Can Badger sounds funny, but Graham says no.
*Ok, maybe this was wishful thinking. I actually really like capri suns. They come in shiny pouches that inflate.