So after all the formal photos were completed and guests began to arrive, we went to hide me from view. Well, the ceremony was to take place in the mezzanine gallery, which was basically one big open space, with a little broom closet off the elevator alcove. Bear and I were in the closet. HA! It was actually fairly roomy with a couple seats for us to hang out on. I also drank ALL THE WATER in the world because I was so incredibly nervous by this time. Being in a corseted dress, nervous and full of water made me really paranoid about how long it would be before I could get the girls to take me to the bathroom again! Ah, the things we think about when a big event is at hand!
The St. Charles String Quartet played a few tunes as guests came and found a seat or standing room for the ceremony. When they began to play "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys, the wedding party began their (very short) processional to the actual marriage spot. Bear was up there at this time, too, and I was hanging out in my closet with my dad, joking about his job to pull me back if I ran, which I would never do, but just joking helped with the nerves. Then it was time to walk the ten steps to the "alter". As soon as I stepped out of my little closet/elevator alcove space, everyone actually let out this audible gasp, which was incredibly flattering and bizarre to me at once. See, I am always the goofy girl, and never the beauty queen, so I was an awkward mix of honored and excited and self-conscious. I tried to focus entirely on Bear, but I am also easily distracted, and seeing all these faces of people I loved in one place... it was only ten steps but I was teary before the first three were paced! See? Emotional.
Bear's sister Tori kicked off the ceremony with a reading of e.e. cummings' "i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)". Then our friend and officiant Keith read a little intro I had written to set the light-hearted mood for the rest of the short ceremony, highlighting our initial attraction, our love of theatre and reading dates, and our gratitude to our friends and family. My brother sang "Your Song", accompanied by the quartet, and even though he messed up when I made a gesture to my bridesmaids in green and blue on the lyrics "I've forgotten if they're green or if they're blue" and he saw it and lost his train of thought... it was beautiful. As I mentioned before, my brother is a wonderful singer and even belongs to a pretty impressive choir. While he was singing, our moms brought up our wedding rings which were affixed to Mr. and Mrs. books. Then we read our own vows that we wrote, which both included a promise to do the laundry. Yes, that was in there. Twice. And... we still hate to do laundry. We followed up with the official "I do's" and that was that! A big smooch and a short walk back to a small corner, a few more formal photos with larger family groups and a leisurely photo stroll through the illuminated gardens!
See? Weepy. I tell ya. I was all over the place.
Lots o' family!
Imitating the dinosaurs.
And... on our way to the reception! Which is, you guessed it! The next installment.
* All photos c/o Lynn Norgren Photography.