On Saturday, August 21, 2010 I checked another biggie off my bucket list - #101, officiate a wedding! I'm a little late in blogging on this, mostly because I didn't have any photos to go along with it (I thought bringing my camera up with me might get in the way), but now that the bride & groom are back from their honeymoon, I've been lucky enough to oooh and ahhh over the professional photos and write up the experience! Warning - this is a GORGEOUS wedding with a BEAUTIFUL bride, you may not be able to look away! But first, here's me in my formal role:
Do I look official enough? I am, indeed, a legally recognized wedding officiant in the states of Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin (with a note), and possibly Iowa, I keep forgetting to check. I became ordained shortly after my own wedding, where the brilliant officiant FORGOT TO FILE THE MARRIAGE LICENSE (legally required within 5 days) until I finally got ahold of him a month later and he recalled it was "in his truck" and he'd been "meaning to get to that." UH, WTF? With my love of event planning and background in public speaking I figured I could at least do a better job than he did, and became ordained through the Universal Life Church. I filed my credentials with the states I wanted to be recognized in, paid some filing fees, and voila! Instant officiant!
Fast forward a few years: I had never really pursued booking a wedding, until one of my closest friends asked if I would perform her marriage. Jana and I had been friends since high school (after a short stint as mortal enemies, which is hilarious in retrospect), and I immediately agreed and was so honored to be a part of her big day. I knew I'd be emotional and a little nervous, but I had no idea when I accepted that I'd be 5 months pregnant and totally hormonal on top of it! Nor did Jana, but for some reason she stayed calm and didn't fire me...
The maid of honor, another high school friend, was supposed to keep me from crying by making faces or some other silliness when I started to crumble...but before we even walked out the door, she burst into tears herself! Oh no! I put on a brave face and marched down the aisle.
That morning had been cool and foggy, but by the time we were about to start the ceremony it was bright and sunny. We stood overlooking the shores of Lake Superior on a large outdoor patio.
I think I was shaking pretty hard as I opened the ceremony, and I flubbed one early line, but somehow the rest of it flowed pretty smoothly. I had written my own opening remarks, a welcome with wishes for the couple that was both funny and heartfelt (I hope - that's what I was going for at least).
We got more laughs in the middle, when Jana tried to put Justin's ring on the wrong hand...which didn't fit, but she wouldn't let that stand, so she basically twisted and wrenched it until she realized the mistake. The sweet groom just stood there and let her abuse him. He's well trained already! It was very funny and memorable, especially when the bride exclaimed, exasperated, "Is this the wrong hand?!?!"
Jana had sent me the vows, but really gave me free reign on the rest of the ceremony. Though I'm not religious, I found a beautiful poem for the closing words that I think fit the occasion perfectly:
The Wedding Prayer, By Robert Louis Stevenson:
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
And then I got to say those magical words - and they were REAL! - "By the power vested in my by the State of Minnesota, I now pronounce you husband & wife. Would you like to kiss the bride?"
(And they lived Happily Ever After)
(And I filed the marriage license on time)
Jana and Justin, thank you so much for including me in your wedding, it was absolutely beautiful. I wish you health, wealth, and happiness for all of your days!
All of the above were shot by John at Celebration Photography.