The Ceremony Itself

I feel like 90% of what I am referring to as wedding planning is really reception planning. Since Mr. Cannon and I are having a pretty traditional religious ceremony, there hasn’t been a lot of planning in that arena, and for that reason I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it. I mean, yes, I know we need to pick out a few Bible verses and things, but in many ways it feels like the ceremony is almost an afterthought in the context of everything else.

But while looking through the sample ceremonies and thinking about what is actually going to happen on our wedding day, it finally hit me. I am most likely going to cry at the wedding. I was getting teary eyed reading through the sample ceremonies in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. A lot of people say things like, “Don’t get too caught up in the wedding—it’s all about the marriage!” By which I believe they mean that the wedding planning and the party and whatnot are one day of the rest of your lives, so don’t put too much stock into it. That hasn’t been a problem for me because the marriage is really the important part in my mind. Mr. Cannon will be husband forever! I can’t wait!

But within all of that, I hadn’t really considered the enormity of the actual ceremony. Obviously, throughout our relationship we have had many promises and obligations to one another, but they have mostly been unsaid and merely implied. The wedding ceremony is my chance to vocalize those promises, and vow to uphold them for the rest of my life in front of God and everyone. It’s a powerful moment. It’s being decisive and making a choice and having the confidence to say how you feel and what you want. Honestly, as patriarchal as the history of marriage is, the ceremony feels like it will be a very feminist moment. It’s saying, “I have the choice to marry any man or no man, but I choose you.” And it’s not an inconsequential choice—it’s a lifelong commitment. It’s saying, “I’ve changed my mind about everything from my favorite color to my faith in God dozens of times over my short life, but I know I won’t change my mind about having you in it ever.” In every way, it really is a huge, powerful, important, emotional decision.

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There is a quote about motherhood by Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” And it’s very true. Empathy takes on new, unforeseen heights when you have a child. Just the thought of bad things happening to Cherry Bomb makes me tear up. I love her in a way that I don’t love anyone else, and that I probably won’t love anyone else except her potential future siblings.

But getting married feels like another form of my heart living outside of my body. Only instead of my heart just growing into someone else without my control or permission as it does with children, I am purposefully putting my heart into someone else’s hands and saying, “Please, PLEASE take good care of this because I really need it. I’m giving it to you because I think you can make it grow bigger than it’s ever been and bring me more joy than I’ve ever had, but I’m quite aware that you could just throw it on the ground and stomp on it at any time.” And this wedding ceremony is his chance to say, “Your heart is a precious gift I value and want to protect and nurture. I am deliberately accepting this gift with the understanding that you are trusting me to help you grow and become a better, happier person through my words and actions. I would never throw it on the ground and stomp on it. You must be thinking of someone else; I’m too awesome for that.”

And then? We make the same promises again! He gives me his heart (which is very thoughtful of him), and then I have to accept the HUGE responsibility to take care of that sucker FOR-EV-ER. And as I stated earlier, I don’t think marriage is about occasionally tending to his heart, but actively helping it grow over time to a huge, joyful heart that keeps getting bigger even when you think it can’t. (We’re gonna need a bigger boat. Or flower pot. Or chest. Wherever this metaphor is taking you.) And so the wedding is about vulnerability and responsibility all at the same time. You make a commitment and trust someone else to honor the commitment they’ve made. It’s kind of a big deal.

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And I really didn’t think too much about it until now. I knew these things are what marriage is about, but I forgot that it’s what the ceremony is about. Now I think I’m more excited for the ceremony than the reception. But I’m still most excited for the marriage.

So, what do you guys think? I’ve heard others who think it’s a big deal and some who think it’s not saying anything new. Where do you stand?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Cannon

Location:
Toledo, OH
Wedding Date:
September 2011
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  1. Member
    KCheer 370 posts, Helper bee @ 4:03 pm

    I love this post! I totally got teary just reading it. I feel very strongly about the vows we said aloud – and just so you know you are not alone – I cried, cried, cried throughout the ceremony! SO emotional, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing! Who cares about “ugly cry face” when you are marrying the one that makes you feel complete??

  2. Member
    lsabic 31 posts, Newbee @ 4:31 pm

    This is a beautiful post. Really reminds one why we’re getting married. It’s really making me look forward to my marriage in 3 short weeks! Thanks Miss Cannon!

  3. Member
    realeastcoaster 1245 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:33 pm

    Really great post – our vows were my favourite part of the entire day, and for the same reasons (although I wouldn’t have been able to put it as eloquently as you have!).

  4. Member
    snowcone 1141 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:43 pm

    I think a little bit of everything. I think you can get caught up in stressing about napkin colors when you could/should be focusing on preparing to commit yourself to another person for the rest of your days. I also think that the ceremony itself is worthy of some weight and attention, for the exact reasons you mentioned.

    And I love your analysis of patriarchy + feminism. I have been thinking that, but all weirdly and twisted in my head, and you finally articulated it perfectly for me. Thanks!

  5. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 4:47 pm

    Great post Cannon! I love how you describe marriage as part of your heart living outside your body, it feels very true to me.

  6. Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:03 pm

    This is so beautiful – thank you for sharing this with us :)

  7. Member
    JuneBride2012 536 posts, Busy bee @ 5:30 pm

    *Like*

  8. Member
    Future Mrs N 45 posts, Newbee @ 5:31 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I’m wiping away tears. It’s always nice to be reminded of why we are getting married, because it is so easy to lose sight of what’s important during planning. Bookmarking this so that I can read again and again!

  9. Member
    stephbonthego 710 posts, Busy bee @ 6:06 pm

    This is such a heart-felt post and you made me cry again. How loving your family is!!

    ((and “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” is one of my favorite quotes from that movie)) ;D)

  10. Member
    Carolyn72 1367 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:18 pm

    Wow!!! Beautifully written my dear! I just used the quote about your heart being outside of your body as my FB quote, as FB is quite important, LOL.

    I just got a lump in my throat reading it. I think I will make my fiance read it……… You are truly great with words!!!!!

  11. Member
    justsplendid 22 posts, Newbee @ 11:29 pm

    I love your posts. You put into words what I feel and hope for my marriage perfectly.

  12. Member
    miss.qwerty 206 posts, Helper bee @ 2:43 am

    Beautiful post.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    sarah, Guest @ 3:38 am

    well said. bravo.

  14. Member
    Miss Winter 260 posts, Helper bee @ 7:48 am

    Beautiful post. Made me cry!

  15. Member
    CaptainSpaulding 4511 posts, Honey bee @ 8:04 am

    Loved this!!

  16. Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:03 am

    Wonderful post, C, and I think it’s because it’s simultaneously “nothing new” and EVERYTHING new. Wonderful, wonderful.

  17. Member
    weddingstars2012 479 posts, Helper bee @ 10:30 am

    i LOVE this post! you really put things into perspective!

  18. Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:57 pm

    Now I’m getting teary eyed! I totally agree with Mrs. Hyena‘s sentiment.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    JJ, Guest @ 6:31 pm

    That was really sweet. I love how you put it!

  20. Member
    nowdontletsbesilly 1489 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:31 pm

    I absolutely love how you have phrased this – it inspired me to think of the wedding as more of a beginning of a huge chapter in life, rather than a day to celebrate yourselves and then go back to real life. Since I am not actually engaged yet, it made me think about what a huge committment it is, and whether or not I am ready for such a big step (I am leaning towards yes!)

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