Some Wedding Rememberies

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I wouldn't have traded it for the world.

A spring wedding would have been nice, with soft colors and classical music. A summer wedding in the evening would have had echoes of children chasing fireflies on the breeze as the sun set below its late horizon. And a December wedding--such drama, such meaning, my favorite season of all.

But as it happened, I was married in an October wedding, and I would not do it any differently if I had it to do over again, because it wasn't the time of year that turned out to matter after all.

I spent months working on the wedding plan. I knew I wanted candlelight, and the flowers must be roses. So many details fell into place, from the wedding location in a stable with poured stone floors to the second attempt at a wedding dress, to the nearly-flopped flowers that came together beautifully at the end, to the candelabras that perfectly flanked the aisle I got to walk down. I had so much fun imagining the delight of our guests at the softly lit, gently draped stable. I pictured the whirling skirts of the reception dancers and giggled as I imagined the laughter that I knew would come from the antics of the children--and the groom.

The closer we drew to the wedding, the more I realized how much I wanted God to be a part of it. It couldn't be so beautiful without His presence gracing the place. Without Him, I knew there would be no peace, and the joy of many would simply be the sum of "how happy we are for you!" But I had a problem. I felt so empty. I felt as if I had forgotten how to hope in Him. I felt as though I had nothing with which to worship Him, nothing to offer Him.

So we started praying about the wedding. For months, others had prayed. Others had offered help and suggestions and anything they could do for me. But now it was our turn to be involved in our own wedding. I asked God for His presence at our wedding, and for His heart to be my heart as I prepared to make my vows. I asked God to help me remember that my bridesmaids, my in-laws-to-be, my family, and our Pastor were all just people, and that I was a person too, broken, empty, and desperately in need of our Savior. I asked God to help me love Pete more, and to prepare me to be a wife--but mostly just to let me be the person He created me to be.

The night of the bridal sleepover, I shared my room with Joli and her baby, Joel. Joli and I talked until about 1:30 (I think she was still on California time), and I fell asleep encouraged through her prayers and her hopes for me. I knew she would be praying for me too, and that she loved me unconditionally. She told me how happy she had been in her marriage, and it suddenly didn't seem quite so daunting to me. After all, God was so much bigger than my fears.

We weathered the rehearsal despite the rain on the Stable's tin roof, and though others were worried about the badly-timed (though badly-needed) rain, I knew that tomorrow, the ground would be dry and the sun would rise with me on my wedding day. Sure enough, it did!

The morning I became a wife, I woke, still trying to believe it was actually happening. Pete was my best friend. He was my boyfriend, my fiancé. As I heard him climbing my stairs later that morning when he came to retrieve his cell phone, my heart whispered, "Soon he will be my husband."

That morning was my own. As I cleaned my room, I thought about what was happening that evening. The wind outside my window tossed the patch of sunlight about on my floor as it dried out the ground outside where we would be taking pictures that afternoon. I took my time in the shower, wanting to feel as relaxed as possible for the butterflies that were threatening to come. And come they did that afternoon when people began to arrive to prepare for the pictures! I drank a lot of water, trying to quell their insistent shivers in my middle.

I heard the men arrive outside my window. Someone pulled the shade so that they couldn't see inside, however inadvertently they might peer upstairs. I slipped into my garter, my crinoline, my dress, my shoes. Someone had to buckle the ankle strap on the shoes--I couldn't bend over.

Mama looked at me with tears in her eyes. She was determined not to cry. She looked like a model: every hair in place, shimmering in her almost-sage, almost-silver gown. She was the perfect mother-of-the-bride. She told me I looked beautiful. I still wasn't sure about my hair. I prayed again, because now I was shaking.

Pete was done with his pictures now. My bridesmaids were scurrying in and out of my room, getting me ready to see him, waiting for him to arrive. I posed in the center of the room, knowing that I appeared composed, but my legs were trembling, and the butterflies wanted OUT.

Then he came through my door, first peering around, almost too shy to look at me at first, then more bashful than I had ever seen him. Instantly, the butterflies vanished. In his eyes, I saw how amazed he was that I was his. He thought I was beautiful. He loved my hair--I had done it up just for him. He held me for a few moments, and then he prayed, stunned, awed, full of wonder that God was giving him such a gift.

I was quiet, realizing that God had answered one of my deepest prayers: I was a gift to someone.

Though the photography session was tiring and a bit chilly, it was so fun to hear the voices of our attendants around us as they entertained themselves. My flower girls were shy with all the strangers around, but Emma and Allie smiled prettily for the camera nonetheless, and Rachel was still Rachel, with her tender heart and sensitivity. I got a chance to share a special moment with each of my bridesmaids as the photographer snapped our pictures together, and had a bit of deja vu as Pete's groomsmen scooped me up for a fun shot. Three of them had carried me before, though I noticed that I didn't feel as safe with them as I do when Pete lifts me.

When the photography was finished, we congregated inside my house with 45 minutes before our trek to the Stable. Pete would be driving our car over, and Kate would be taking me in her car to arrive last.

Leeann rode with Kate and me to the wedding location. My dress was a mass of tulle and crinoline that barely fit into my space on the front seat. My bouquet, a single white rose centered in deep red roses surrounded by white and tulle, rested on my lap. I sang Pete's song for Leeann as we drove.

And then we were there. Parking difficulties notwithstanding, we arrived in plenty of time, and I was sneaked into the ladies restroom at the back of the Stable where my bridesmaids were trying to decide how to hold their bouquets. We settled on opposite arms and giggled as my flower girls' mom reconstructed Allie's basket, which had been very carefully pulled apart.

Then everyone was gone, and it was just Mama and me in the room. She was telling me how proud of me she was, and what a perfect bride I was, and how happy she was. She told me that I was her heart's desire. I remember crying. Just as she finished, the door popped open, and Pete's mom peered in to let us know that the ceremony was beginning.

Mum was radiant, dressed in a floor-length navy gown she had sewn herself, topped with a sequined jacket. But it was the smile in her eyes I will always remember as she told me that I was beautiful. She was completely at peace.

"Sarah, take me by my arm, tomorrow we are Canaan Bound, where westward sails the golden sun, and Hebron's hills are amber-crowned..."

The song was about our parents. My mom hugged me one last time, and then we stepped out to join the others. I watched Pete and his dad seat his mom, and then my dad and Jeremiah were walking Mama down the aisle to seat her.

"I trembled at the voice of God, a voice of love and thunder deep, with love He means to save us all, and love has chosen you and me..."

Dad returned to his place with me at the back of the Stable, and as I reached to take his arm, he grinned at me. "It's your last chance to turn back, you know."

I smiled. I was scared to death, but I knew this was where God wanted me right now. "He loves me, Daddy. And I love him too."

Dad smiled, only this time, his eyes were red. My dad was nearly crying. "I knew that before you did," he chuckled.

The groomsmen had entered and my bridesmaids were moving now, with the flowergirls already at the front.

The lights dimmed and the music swelled, and then the curtains were up and Dad and I were walking toward Pete and the rest of my life. I felt like I was peering through a haze as I tried to see the faces and figure out where I was supposed to put my next step. I was glad I wasn’t alone.

I saw Pete at the front, but he wasn’t looking at me. The man I loved was doing one of the things I love the most about him, comforting the pain of another, his sister, Mary Jo. He wasn't leaving her. He would always love her...

I noticed my friend Marian as I walked, and I remember the smile on Mum’s face as we neared the front, and Mama’s beaming smile—she remembered when to stand to cue everyone else.

Then we were there, and Pete held my gaze.

Pastor prayed, and I played for Dad to sing.

“Oh Lord, our God, little children praise You perfectly, and so would we…”

As I played the piano for my dad, my mind spun to the times I had played for him before, times when I learned about humility, about worship. My hands weren’t shaking, I noticed oddly. They always shake when I accompany. But my heart was taken up in the God of the song. I didn’t know how to worship Him or how to please Him, but it was my gift to Him.

It was time for Dad to give me away. Dutifully, as we rehearsed, he answered Pastor’s question as to who was giving me to be married to this man.

Man? My mind spun. I was marrying a man, just as I’d always dreamed. Pete wasn’t just a guy. He wasn’t just a friend. He was a man. A man of God. A man after God’s own heart.

Then Dad was joining my hand with Pete’s. He kissed me on the cheek, and I held him for a moment longer, feeling as if I was pleading with him not to go. For the first time in my life, I saw raw emotion in Daddy’s eyes. He didn’t want to let me go. He didn’t have to say it. He loved me. For a second that seemed like eternity, we stood frozen, knowing it. And then he moved away, and I turned to Pete.

I smiled. Pete knew what had just happened. He knew the tears in my heart that didn’t know if they were sad or happy or amazed.

I barely heard Pastor’s charge, and before I knew it, we were saying our vows. I was so glad Pete was first.

After I finished my vows, Pastor handed me the microphone. I saw a look of confusion cross Pete’s face, and heard his intake of breath as I explained to him that I had written him a song. He was completely stunned.

As I sang, the tears I knew he would shed trickled down his face. I was flat on the chorus a couple of times. Bother. But I meant it. I was singing it. It was beautiful. He was surprised. It was a gift.

“I will pray with you that we will be always His…”

During the candlelighting, we sang about Jesus Christ, about how we stand in Him alone, and I felt as if I would burst with the joy that was inside of me realizing that God was still at work in my life, and that no power of hell could ever pluck me from Him.


I looked out over the people who had come to celebrate with us. Some of them didn’t know the song, but were making a valiant effort at it. The PHC crowd added a lot. Oh, there was Tim! He’d actually made it! And Joel! Joel Moughon was at my wedding! I saw Tiff and Kirsten, and my boss’s wife, and Mama and Daddy were singing too!

Then we were pronounced man and wife, and the kiss was too short. But there was no going back for more, because Pastor was already on to the recessional.

“Long after we are dead and gone, for a thousand years our tale be sung…”

At the end of the aisle, everyone hugged us, but the hug I remember the most was Laura’s hug. She held me as if she’d never let me go, as if all the months of getting to know her were past and I was part of the family and she loved me. I hugged her back as tight as I could, whispering that I loved her, silently willing her to know just how much. There wasn’t enough time.

Old friends and new friends, family and acquaintances flew past me that evening. People I saw, people who I wanted to thank for being there, people I just wanted to hug some I just wanted to dance with. I showed my ring to all of my family members--my grandma's diamonds are in my wedding ring. Grandma would have loved Pete, and she would have been so at ease at my wedding. Uncle Dave and Aunt Eunice, my grandpa's brother and his wife stepped in for my grandparents. Uncle Dave wore his French cuffs. My cousin Ian came, and Kate looked her fears in the face and began a toast for Pete and me. She told him he was her brother and she loved him. Uncle Mark was there with Aunt Karen, though they had to leave early because her son had surprised them that weekend. Uncle Brian and Aunt Ginny had come down, and all of Pete's family on his father's side was there. Grandma Birdie hugged me tight. I wanted to get to know her better.

Sarah Lewis danced at my wedding, just like she said she would, and Carla and Charlie were giggling like children as they swung around in the Virginia reel. I danced with the flower girls, and Pete danced with Mary Jo. Dad asked mom to dance, and I got to dance with Jonathan. My dress twirled really well. My veil was a pain. Christy and Matthew were happy--and they looked like they were married. Brian was grinning and glad to have April back by his side. Tee said Matthew was trying to talk Joel into moving to Arizona. Mike and Heidi played us a "Lover's Waltz."

Sam caught the bouquet, which was perfect, and Mike caught the garter, despite the howls of everyone to throw it at Vinci. Maybe he'd be proposing to Heidi soon, I thought. Over Christmas would be perfect. He loved her so.

The reception, 3 ½ hours, flew by as if it was only a moment, and then we were tossing the bouquet and the garter and saying our goodbyes to the excitement of a hundred well-wishers and a well-aimed cream puff.

We couldn’t leave until I’d gotten to say goodbye to Jonathan and Kristen at the tulle-wrapped car; then amid a flurry of rose petals, we closed our doors and drove from the stable and the happy crowd.

“What in the world did we just do?” I broke the silence in the car.

Pete shook his head as he turned on the brights. “I have absolutely no idea.”

“Westward sails the golden sun, and Hebron’s hills are amber-crowned. Oh Sarah, take me by my arm—tomorrow we are Canaan-bound.”


Megs said...

Oh Kel...I *really* liked the post.
Love you!

Anonymous said...

Kell-Kell, I can tell ya...

You just made the jump into hyperspace.

Careful now, or you might wham into the dreaded DEATH STAR!!!

Kelly Sauer said...


My reference to my personal opinion that Mike should propose to Heidi at Christmas was merely coincidental because of Mike's garter--uh, catching? I think Pete beaned him with it! Either way, however, while they happen to be desperately in love with one another, they are exactly where God wants them right now, and they have an awesome story that is very much going at God's pace. I have no assumption that Mike will propose at Christmas, because Christmas, you see, was simply my first thought for two reasons: Christmas is my favorite holiday, and it's coming soon, and because I had such a pretty picture in my head about a Christmas proposal, and well, when you get the question popped in a carwash, you're kind of curious as to whether there are other, more romantic options out there. Uh, was that three reasons?

If you have any further questions per Mike and Heidi, ask them. Or better yet, ask God. We figure He knows what he's doing...

Heidi said...

Kell -

I loved your post. It was wonderful to listen to your heart tell of its special day. I laughed when I got to this part:

"...and Mike caught the garter, despite the howls of everyone to throw it at Vinci. He'd be proposing to Heidi soon, I thought. Over Christmas would be perfect."

I know you already issued a disclaimer, which was hilarious by the way, but just for the record, in case anyone out there is still wondering.....

I know a lot of people have been asking, and I know that since we've been dating for almost a year now that it's easy to wonder about what will happen next. But this whole process, for me, has been one of learning to exist in the present moment and not speculate about or reach toward and strive for the next moment before its time. Our story isn't one where we've been afforded the luxury of knowing the end from the beginning. There have been lots of ups and downs and twists and turns; as many scary, hard moments as good ones (although somehow the good ones seem to outweigh the scary ones in the end.) Only God knows what will happen next. We're still learning how to bring our full attention and presence to right here, right now, with what God has given us....which is mystery and adventure and uncertainty and not-knowing - and a lot of love for each other.

I guess all that is to say, that I think Pete deliberately aimed the garter at Mike, and only time will tell if he had a special word from the Lord on that. *grin*

Kelly Sauer said...

know what I like? How much work went into those comments behind the scenes... Heidi, there's nobody in the whole world like you, and I love you like crazy!

Leeann said...

I was personally confused because I got a Vinci-Heidi connection, and I was like, Vinci’s dating some girl named Heidi around PHC?!?!?! So much for THAT :-P

Kelly Sauer said...

What huh???

Somebody_Unknown_and_co said...

Kel-Kel. Me likes the post. I think you're stuck on your wedding and Pete. I like the part where dad says "it's your last chance to run!". maybe not in that exact wording, but. I also like the reaction from Pete when you asked him "What did we just do?!" anyways. Love ya Kel-Kel. BY the way, I changed my blogger username.

My Fathers' Daughter said...

You made me cry again. :-P Though, admittedly, as always, in a good way.


Love ya.

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