3:00 – Shrike/Whozat/Peeper arrive at church and dress, H [our photographer friend; she also made our flowers] scouts photo locations
[Church is locked. Peeper declares that “Our wedding is ruuuiiinnnned!” After making some phone calls, we panic and drive to a Burger King to get dressed, leaving H there to look for photo locations and wait for someone to let us in. The minister arrives with a key about the time we arrive at Burger King.]
3:30 – T, A and A’s hubby set up tables/chairs, décor, etc while Shrike/Whozat/Peeper photos w/H
[Shrike and Whozat finish getting prettied up, try to remember how to apply makeup. A braids Peeper’s hair. We take a couple of photos outside, then give up and go inside where it’s warm to take the rest.]
4:00 – Family arrive for photos
[Family helps friends with setting up. Peeper wants to play in the nursery. We give up on family photos for now, and get a few more shots of the two of us.]
4:35 – Begin prelude music – (Playlist Prelude-Processional) When “I Believe in Love” starts – Check to be sure we’re ready, and give us 5 minute warning. If we’re not, go back to beginning of playlist until we are. When we’re ready, go on to “Power of Two”
[I’m told that we went through the playlist twice before we were ready to go. Whatever. They were good songs, it didn’t hurt anybody to hear them twice. And here they are:]
Simple Love – Melissa Etheridge
I’ve Loved You Before – Melissa Etheridge
When You Find the One – Melissa Etheridge
The Universe Listened – Indigo Girls
I Believe in Love – Indigo Girls
Power of Two – Indigo Girls
[What? You knew we were dykes, right?]
Family members take seats during “Power of Two” – Shrike/Whozat/Peeper to foyer of sanctuary
[We all stood around in the foyer during Power of Two (I had no idea how long it was!) while people looked at us. So much for the “big reveal” and “grand entrance.”)
4:55– “Glory of Love” – Bette Midler
After intro of song (“…that’s the story of, that’s the glory of love” ) Mom, Uncle J, Pappy to go memorial candle and light it. Dad to microphone
[A few days ago, I explained to Peeper that we were lighting this candle to “remember Grandma S and all the other people who’ve died.” She said, “Like the presidents?” Yeah, them too. And kitties.]
Dad: The light from this candle shines in honor and remembrance of those who have left us, but not before gracing us with special memories only they could create. They have helped shape our characters, molded our spirits and touch our hearts. We love you and miss you, and know that you are with us in thought and in spirit today and always. Return to seats while song ends. M (officiant) to altar
[Aaaand, cue tears.]
5:00 Pachelbel’s Canon begins
[According to the photographic record, this happened at more like 5:10. Not bad, actually, as these things go.)
Processional – Shrike/Whozat/Peeper enter
[I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised when everyone stood up as we entered. Then I didn’t know where to look. I tried to not look stupid, though, because I could see H in front of us taking photos, and I remember how I look in the one procession photo from our first go-round. It remains to be seen whether I succeeded. We should have rehearsed this part, because we couldn’t all fit through the door together, then I ended up in the lead and then Peeper and Shrike trailing behind, when I would have rather we were all walking together. Minor detail, I know. The best part? Hearing someone say, “Oh! Look at Peeper!” She was beautiful, I must say.]
Shrike/Whozat/Peeper to altar (slowly turn down volume on music) Peeper takes seat?
[We probably should have also rehearsed where to stand. M was using a podium that was a little off center, and we ended up standing in the center, but that put him kind of behind me, which was a little weird. I’m sure I’m the only one who noticed, though, and I wanted to look and Shrike and not him, anyway! Peeper opted to stay with us for a while, but did not opt to stand still, or even to stand up. I had to bend down at one point, and tell her “You can go sit with Eena and Papa if you want, but if you stay here, you have to stand up.” It didn’t work. She was swinging like a monkey from our hands, and then lying on the floor. Oh well.]
M (to audience)
Welcome. On behalf of Shrike and Whozat, thank you for coming to celebrate this moment with them. Throughout their relationship, few things have meant as much to them as the support of their family and their friends, both old and new.
In many ways, today’s ceremony is just a formality, the legal recognition of a commitment that Shrike and Whozat made to each other, as they stood before a gathering of family and friends in a ceremony much like this, twelve years ago today.
But it is also an opportunity for them to renew the vows that they made on that day, and to recommit themselves to each other, and to their daughter, Peeper.
[I think it was at this point that she started her silliness, because it was perfect timing.}
And it is a time for us, their friends and family, to celebrate with them, and to affirm and honor their love and the family that they have created.
(To Shrike and Whozat)
Shrike and Whozat, when you first joined hands and hearts, you didn’t know where life would take you. On that day, you promised to love and honor one another through all things, in times of joy and of sorrow; of wealth and of need; when your lives were peaceful and when they were in disorder, when your love was simple, and when it was an effort. [Laugh line, yes. But this “disorder” and “effort” stuff was actually in our original vows. That officiant said the “it is an effort” part pretty emphatically and got a laugh that time, too.] Since then, you have had the opportunity to test that vow, time and again, [More knowing nods from us and some chuckles from audience.] as life has brought you both wonderful gifts and difficult challenges.
M (to audience)
[About here, Peeper decided to go sit with Papa. Of course.]
Perhaps the greatest gift that life can offer is the joy and responsibility of raising a child, a joy that is made that much sweeter when great challenges are overcome to make that dream a reality. As Shrike and Whozat renew their vows to each other, they also renew their commitment to be loving and caring parents to Peeper, recognizing with gratefulness the happiness and fulfillment that she has brought into their lives. (Peeper joins Shrike and Whozat at altar)
[Nope, she’s happy with Papa, so she can stay put.]
To Shrike and Whozat
Shrike and Whozat, You have shared the joys and challenges of a shared life for 15 years, and twelve years ago you were married in your hearts, and in the eyes of your friends and family. Today, as you formalize that marriage legally, do you reconfirm the commitment you made that day, to love, comfort and protect each other, to affirm, respect and care for each other; to share your thoughts and feelings; to encourage and inspire each other, and to grow, love and advance together in faith, honesty and determination?
[Also from the original vows.]
Shrike and Whozat (together) – We do.
[Didn’t rehearse that either, but did a pretty good job of saying it in unison.]
And do you reconfirm your commitment to parent your daughter Peeper with love and understanding, both for her and for each other; to guide her gently, to nurture her curiosity, to encourage her passions, and to instill in her the values that you hold dear?
[Actually, he said “nurture her curiously” and then may have seen my side-eye, because he corrected himself, “Excuse me, ‘nurture her curiosity.’ But you can nurture her curiously, too.” More laughs. I like my weddings to come with laughs.]
Shrike and Whozat (together) – We do.
[About here, Peeper reappeared. I had mentioned to Shrike’s parents that she could stay with us or sit with them, but that we planned to have her at the altar for the vows, so I’m thinking maybe they sent her back up? She was pretty chilled this time. Or maybe I just didn’t notice her shenanigans.]
M: Shrike and Whozat, will you now share your vows to each other?
[I was much less chilled. M had printed out our vows in giant font on card stock and handed them to us when it was time to say them, so we didn’t have to worry about forgetting them, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t get through mine without crying. Actually, I’d been pretty verklempt since the memorial candle. I kept taking deep breaths and trying to get started, but if felt like forever before I was able to talk. Shrike says it wasn’t, and I’m sure that it would’ve seemed even longer to her, so I guess I believe her.]
I have been waiting a very long time to say this: [Here, Shrike made some sort of crack. I don’t remember what it was, but people laughed and I told her to stop it. I guess it lightened me up a bit, though.] I take you as my lawfully wedded wife. I will strive to honor the family, home and life that we have built together, and the vows that I have made to you and Peeper. Today, I renew those vows and I pledge my love to you. Even when our love has been an effort, there is no one with whom I would rather walk hand-in-hand through life. Where you go, I go, [I wonder how many of our guests recognized that as a Xena quote. At least a couple, I’m sure. The rest probably thought it was from the Book of Ruth (which was one of the readings from our commitment ceremony, actually.] now and for the rest of my days.
[Whew! I did it!]
You have already given me the two greatest gifts of my life: your love, and our beautiful child. You have filled my world with meaning. Thank you for taking me as I am; loving me, and welcoming me into your heart. Today I choose you to be my partner, and commit myself to you for the rest of my life. I promise to continue building our family together, celebrating our joy, comforting one another in hard times, and strengthening our family’s future.
[And she did it!]
Because you have pledged your love, and recommitted your lives to each other in the presence of your family and friends, by the power vested in me by the State of Maryland (finally!) [Yes, I put the “finally” in the script, but he managed to make it sound like he’d interjected it himself, which was my goal. More laughs.] I now pronounce you married. You may kiss!
(Kiss. [Big kiss! Big hug! More tears! People clapping! It’s really weird to have people clapping for you while you kiss, you know.] Family hug. [We fully expected Peeper to say, “I want in there!” like she usually does when we hug or kiss, but she didn’t. When we turned to pick her up for the family hug, she was standing there looking at us and clapping along with everyone else. It was awesome.] )
M (to Shrike and Whozat)
Shrike and Whozat, May your home continue be a place of happiness for all who enter it. May it continue to be a place for growing and sharing, laughter and love. May you continue to be enriched by the beauty and bounty of your love for one another, and as it nurtures you, may it nurture others. May you always strive to reach your highest potential as a couple and a family, as well as individuals, in all your endeavors, joint and separate. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
M (to audience)
In a few moments, please join us in a toast to the Shrike-Whozat family, and then help yourselves to dinner and dessert, generously provided by their friends and family.
pause, then “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain begins (starting at “Looks like we made it. . . . “)
[Stand there trying to hear the music over everyone clapping. Finally realize that it’s already playing, and start walking out.]
Shrike and Whozat exit, [Hey look, bubbles! Yes, we bought them and put them on the tables, but I didn’t realize they were going to blow them while we walked out. I suppose I should have, huh? It was super-cool, especially Peeper trying to catch them, and such.] (music then continues into reception playlist) audience hangs out while
reception [tons of food, provided by our friends and family] is set up, then cut / feed cake, toast [by my brother, and then another “thank you” sort of toast from me], serve food, etc.
[Followed by much food and fun and hugs and happiness. There were, as always, a few little glitches along the way (Locked! Out!) but it all came together beautifully in the end, thanks mostly to our amazing friends and family who helped with the planning and the execution of my
demands plans. I know some of you will be reading this, so I just want to say thank you again, for everything! We are some very lucky girls.]