This week I will be
Watching the video of our ceremony taken by friends and family makes me tear up. It was incredibly special. We had never heard any part of our ceremony recited before at someone else’s. We got so many compliments on the words, which was not something I expected (I thought people might think it’s weird to not have any traditional readings), but was greatly appreciated.
I’m going to post both the words to our ceremony as well as photos from the ceremony (taken by Leah Maria Photography). My comments will be in a normal font, the ceremony reading will be italicized.
San and Sarah’s (or Mr. Converse Sneakers and Mrs. Ruffled Flats’) Wedding Ceremony
Our ceremony was held outdoors at Riverview Greens in Stewartville, MN. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous. At the end of the aisle after a little strip of grass where the bridal party stood was a small lake with a beautiful fountain. We decroated with pink pomanders (that took DAYS and DAYS to make but looked very pretty that day) and balloons, which were used in our ceremony (keep reading to see how).
Guests were greeted with a small table with “tears of joy” Kleenex packets, a book of our engagement photos, bubbles, and program fans – all held in vintage or vintage-inspired baskets/crates.
I bought the program fans from Michaels and printed them to match our invitations:
One little splurge was our ceremony quartet (Ensemble Con Brio) consisting of a cello, flute, harp, and violin. It was lovely!
All the men walked out first and lined up:
Then the ladies walked out one by one
We had two ring bearers (both Mr. CS’s cousins) and a MIA flower girl (also his cousin) who had just woken up from a nap and refused to be a part of the festivities (so funny). She was supposed to be pulled down the aisle on a wagon with a quilt that my grandma and I made for my Confirmation in ninth grade, but instead, the boys pulled the cart with the basket of flowers by itself. I was a little embarrassed because I think people were confused, but it’s pretty funny to look back on.
Instead of a ring bearer pillow, I searched for hours on Etsy for a vintage cookbook to use in the wedding as a ring bearer book. I found a perfect used on called “Blueberry Hill” with great vintage recipes in the perfect pattern and color for our big day. We plan to make a recipe from the book on every anniversary! It really made the sapphire in my ring pop (which, by the way, I had picked out before I had ever heard of Kate Middleton, but I had known how timeless it was and that Princess Diana had a sapphire)!
My adorable father in his red cummerbund (I made him leave his jacket unbuttoned because it was so snazzy on him) led me down the aisle. The hem of my dress had been ripped during photos (an easy fix) and was not noticeable to others, but it hooked around my dad’s foot right before we reached the beginning of the aisle. It felt like it took forever to unhook it, but in the video I couldn’t even tell. I can be pretty dramatic sometimes!
One of my favorite photos from the day. I tear up almost every time I look at it.
Friends, Sarah and San have invited us here today to share in the celebration of their marriage -- their wedding. We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. Love is one, though its expressions are infinite.
It is fitting to speak briefly about love. We live in a world of joy and fear and search for meaning and strength in the seeming disorder. We discover the truest guideline to our quest when we realize love in all its magnitudes. Love is the eternal force of life. Love is the force that allows us to face fear and uncertainty with courage. But, you must "be of love a little more careful than of anything."
For the giving of yourself in love is difficult, for you must learn to give of your love without total submission of yourself. Therefore, in your giving, give your joy, your sadness, your interest, your understanding, your knowledge -- all expressions that make up life. But in this giving, remember to preserve yourself -- your integrity, your individuality. This is the challenge of love within marriage.
San and Sarah, you are marrying because you enjoy each other's company and because you want to be together. You are marrying because each of you can grow in humanity and in love more fully while touching the other. You are marrying because you can be more trusting of life as life mates. Keep this understanding of your marriage fresh and alive in the days ahead.
In marriage a family comes into being. Be joyful in your family. Bring to your family an appreciation of the beauty of each other. Bring to your family a sense of comfort and strength. Bring to your family a joy and thankfulness for being together.
Marriage is a gift from God, a miracle. It is obvious that you already know some of the great blessings marriage has to offer. It is an opportunity to feel the joy of taking care of someone who takes care of you, to be challenged towards growth yet gently nurtured, to love deeply and receive it in return. It is about trust, friendship and having a partner to share all life has to offer. It is a commitment to participate in a process of mutual evolution, understanding and forgiveness. It is indeed a sacred union to be treated with reverence.
Marriage is not a place to hide from the world. It is a safe place to grow and become wiser. It is a place to evolve into better people; so that you can go out in the world and make a difference by spreading the joy and wisdom that you have found with each other. Together in this marriage, you shall contribute more fully, for you both shall be more full.
Sarah, San is a gift to you from God, but he is not a gift for you alone. It is God’s will that in your love, this man might find within himself a greater sense of who he is meant to be. You are asked to see the good in this man, to accept him for who he is and who he shall be. In this way, God’s purpose shall be accomplished in this relationship. May this man find the kingdom of heaven through the love you share.
And so it is with you also San, that although Sarah is God’s gift to you, she is not a gift intended for you alone. You are asked by God to so love this woman, that in your love she might find herself as God has created her, so beautiful and strong and brave and true, that the entire world might be blessed by the presence of a woman who shines so. May she relax in your arms as she has never relaxed before. May she know, from now on, that there is one on whose love she can depend on forever.
May you both create, with God, a piece of heaven on earth.
Our Father, love has been Your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and woman which matures into marriage is one of Your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless San and Sarah in their marriage. Surround them and us with Your love now and always. Amen.
Sarah and San want to acknowledge their parents on this occasion, Casey and Valerie and Pone and Devin. Sarah and San offer their profound gratitude to their parents for all the love and care they showed in raising them. The unconditional gifts of love and support that you have continually offered have inspired them to become who they are today, and they thank you, from the bottom of their hearts, for guiding them to this celebration of love here today. Without you, this day would not be possible.
We despeartely searched for symbolic readings/activities to use in our ceremony that weren’t overdone, had meaning to us, and could be done outside. One of our favorite elements of the ceremony was the Hands Ceremony.
The Hands Ceremony:
San and Sarah, please face each other and take each other’s hands, so that you may see the gift they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work along side yours as together you build your future.
They will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way.
They will wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
They will give you strength when you need it and will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelmingly love for you.
And even when wrinkled with age will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
My husband’s aunt, who has been one of our greatest sources of support, agreed to do a reading for the wedding. She surprised us at how well she had practiced the whole thing!
We both wanted to memorize something for the wedding, so we edited down a little back and forth pre-wedding vow promise to each other. It was scary but definitely worth it!
Minister: You are different people today than you were five years ago. Five years from now, you will be different still. Yet, you are about to make promises which are meant to last a lifetime. May you grant each other the gift of growth.
Groom: Sarah, I expect you to change, just as I will change. My promise to you is that, as I grow, I will share the growth with you.
Bride: I will not expect you always to think and believe exactly as you do today. I will encourage your growth and you will encourage mine. I promise to respect your opinions even when they differ from my own.
Groom: I promise to respect your opinions even when they differ from my own.
Bride: I will be your partner but never your shadow.
Groom: I will be your equal but not your double.
Bride: I will bring to you my ideas and interests, not expecting you always to have the same enthusiasms.
Groom: I will respect your interests even when they differ from my own.
Bride: I will strive for a love that is flexible that adapts to your changing needs.
Groom: I will strive for a love that will withstand the test of time.
Minister: I offer you the good wishes of myself and these your guests. As your love grows, may you also grow in the capacity to share it. May every change bring you increased happiness.
We spent the most time coming up with good wedding vows. We didn’t want to go with the traditional vows because we’ve heard them so much, we thought they wouldn’t be meaningful as we said them. We wanted to be fully aware of the promise we were making to each other and to God.
Sidenote: my veil started to fly off right as I was saying the words “to laugh with you” which definitely made us both laugh and made the moment lighthearted! I’m holding it down in the photo above. Right after the vows, I handed it to my maid of honor. It’s all about improvising, people!
Minister: San and Sarah, please repeat after me as you enter in the covenant of marriage.
From this day on
I promise to keep you as my beloved soul mate,
to live with you and laugh with you;
to stand by your side and sleep in your arms;
to be joy to your heart and food to your soul;
to be the best I can be, just for you;
to celebrate with you in the good times;
to struggle with you in the bad;
to wipe your tears with my hands;
to care for you with my entire being;
to share with you everything that I have;
as we treat each other with tenderness, compassion and love.
One day during wedding planning, a thought came to me to release balloons, but not just balloons, but balloons with our vows tied to them! It would be symbolic of the covenant we were making with God. It was one of my favorite details!
As a symbol of their never-ending love and their covenant with God, San and Sarah will now release a balloon with their vows written on a paper inside to the Heavens.
Exchange of Rings:
Minister: San and Sarah, as these rings are designed without an ending, they speak of eternity. May God bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your eternal love, trust, and faithfulness.
Minister: San, take Sarah’s ring, and as you place it on her finger and bind her to yourself, repeat after me.
Minister: Sarah, my love: With this ring, I thee wed, and say to the world “This is my wife, whom I cherish above all others.”
Minister: Sarah, take San’s ring, and as you place it on his finger and bind him to yourself, repeat after me.
Minister: San, my love: With this ring, I thee wed, and say to the world “This is my husband, whom I cherish above all others.”
Father, our hearts are filled with great happiness. San and Sarah have come before you, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together in such a way as to never bring heartache into their marriage. Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to be sweethearts, helpmates, friend and guide, and together, may they meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. Let them remember the value of each other as individuals, and never take each other for granted. And as time takes away their youthful charm, may they find contentment in the greater joys of rich companionship. May their home truly be a place of love and harmony where your Spirit is ever present. Bless their wedding day, we pray, and walk beside them, through all their life together. May their love continue through life and finally blend into the life eternal. Amen.
San and Sarah, you have declared before all of us that you will live together in marriage. You have made special promises to each other, which have been symbolized by the joining of hands, the taking of vows and the giving and receiving of two rings.
By the authority vested in me, I now pronounce you to be Husband and Wife.
You may seal your promises with a kiss.
Sarah and San, never forget the beginning of your love for one another, take care of it, nurture it, and allow it to grow strong and firm in the years that are to come.
We marched back down the aisle with bubbles blowing all around us and “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles playing on the quartet instruments. It was magical!
Whew! As we say in Minnesota, Uf-da! That was a long post. Even if you didn’t read a word and just skimmed along, or just happily (or boringly) scrolled down and are now reading this, thank you for sharing in our day! I have more to share (probably not in this much detail), but we put a tremendous amount of work into our ceremony that I thought others (like family) might want to look back on sometime. It’s crazy to me how much of the day has already faded in my memory, but I can always come back and relive the moment through the photos and the words of our ceremony and remember the feelings of love and support we had every second of that day.
What’s your favorite part of a wedding ceremony?