Our ceremony coordinator Christy had instructed me to wait in the bride’s room as the procession unfolded. First, Mr. Ladyfingers walked his mother, followed by Best Man Maverick escorted my dad’s fiancee, down the smaller set of side stairs. Then, my girls proceeded one by one down the aisle while Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of “Transatlanticism” played from the deck.
I fiddled with my bouquet, my bracelet, my bangs, and tried to stand perfectly still while I waited…and waited…and waited.
I could see each girl through the deck railings and the bushes beyond. I became very, very glad that we’d opted for an instrumental processional song, because it turned out to not be quite long enough. But when it was queued up a second time, it turned out to sound quite natural—particularly because it was unlikely that most people there had heard the song before.
And then, it faded out, and I heard my song—our song.
I knew the very first time that I heard it that it would have to be the one. I talked about our history with this song here, and how its pace (and length!) didn’t really lend itself so well to a first dance. Weddingbee introduced me to VSQ’s whole catalog, and I rifled through many, many songs before I found this one. I’m even listening to it now, while I write. And I’m totally trying not to cry.
My dad tells me a funny story: Apparently, I SPED toward him as I exited the bride’s room. The layout was such that you made a left out of the bride’s room, then a right onto the main deck. After that right, my dad stood about 20 feet in front of me at the head of the stairs. He said I was like a little speed racer. But I was so nervous! I just wanted to make it down that aisle as soon as I could. The guests rose. …
And I tried to keep it together as I first saw Mr. Ladyfingers…
…and he first saw me.
We got to the front, and the Reverend began the ceremony that John and I had put together from a combination of traditional, contemporary, and secular options he had sent us. We found it easiest to go off this template, and to write our own vows for later in the ceremony.
Dear friends, we have gathered here in this beautiful place to join together Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers in marriage. Marriage is a lifelong commitment of body, mind and spirit and is therefore not to be entered into thoughtlessly, but lovingly and soberly. No other human ties are more tender, no other vows more binding than those which Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers now assume.
I ask you both to remember that love makes all relationships sacred. It is an eternal gift given to us to add meaning, beauty and depth to our lives. In marriage, love must be the cornerstone on which all later experiences build. What you promise today must be renewed tomorrow.
Mr. Ladyfingers, from all the people in the world you have chosen Miss Ladyfingers to be your wife. Do you promise that you will love her, comfort her, honor her, and be faithful to her as long as you both live?
Miss Ladyfingers, from all the people in the world you have chosen Mr. Ladyfingers to be your husband. Do you promise that you will love him, comfort him, honor him, and be faithful to him as long as you both live?
Awkward moment: none of us remembered that the Reverend would talk for so long before my dad gave me away, so I started worrying that maybe we’d missed our cue and the whole ceremony would go on with father and daughter standing there, arm in arm! A silly notion, really, but one I could not shake. Thankfully, it turned out that the Reverend’s prelude was momentary, then we did this nifty little hand off and we were in business.
Another thing we chose that we really liked, when he first told us about it, was a blessing by the parents. Rather than the traditional view of the bride being given away by her father and that being that, we loved the idea of the entire family providing their assent to the union.
It is fitting that we recognize the love and support given these two persons by their parents across the years. Although Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers have left the homes of their childhood, they continue their need for family support, love and understanding. As parents, will you pledge to give these two your deepest blessings as they enter this new season of their lives? Will you honor and support the commitment they make to one another today?
And then the vows. The Reverend gave us a little introduction…
Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers, at this moment, you are filled with joy and anticipation. You have come here to place your lives—all of your hopes and dreams—in each other’s keeping. To enter in this union as genuinely and spiritually as possible, Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers have prepared individual vows to proclaim to one another, and all who are present here today, the depth and breadth of their love.
Our catering coordinator had recommended we print our vows on matching card stock for both the class factor, and the security of not having a thin piece of paper blowing in the wind. Yeah…we didn’t do that. Whoops.
Mr. Ladyfingers started:
I vow to further your every laugh and quell every cry.
I vow to remember that we were the best of friends before we were husband and wife.
I vow to keep the AC at 76, to wash each dish thoroughly, and to limit myself to one Springsteen impersonation a week.
I vow to do right by our family and to make you feel loved each and every day.
I vow to never forget how lucky I am to have a woman like you by my side, and to treasure every night that I come home to you.
I vow to be your best friend, your biggest fan, and your ever-present sounding board.
I vow to tell you each day that I love you, even though I can tell you a million times over and it would never convey the live I have for you in my heart.
I vow to spring into action whenever you see a spider and to stay away from major appliances whenever Yankees lose one in the 9th.
But I vow to make every day just as special as this one.
Then me. Disclosure: Mr. Ladyfingers’ vows were either shorter than mine, or seemed shorter once I started reading, so I skipped a bunch of stuff. I let him read the whole shebang later, though
When I was young, I wanted to believe that I had a soul mate. I had two wonderful role models in my parents, and a lot to aspire to in their marriage, but for many years of my adult life, I became certain that I, among others, had no “other half” waiting for me in the universe. Little did I know that you were waiting for me and that the reason my heart had not found its partner yet is that I was waiting for you.
In the months and weeks leading up to this day, I may have driven you just a little bit crazy with my obsessions, worries, nerves and neuroses, questions and weird conversation threads, projects taken up and projects never finished. But know this: The reason I worried so much over the precise color of pink in the font on our programs, or stressed out about how many cupcakes to order, or nagged you to get your tux already, it was only because I wanted this day, the best day of my life so far, to be perfect. But what I kept forgetting was that it would be perfect because I am marrying you.
I love you because your heart is as big as hearts can be. Your genuine kindness and concern for those you love overwhelms me.
You stand by me even when I shut myself away, and the simple fact that you are there is enough to draw me out again.
You make me laugh until my stomach hurts, and you make me WANT to laugh, even when I really want to throw things at your head. Which, by the way, is really irritating – but please, don’t stop.
I could sit with you all night, saying nothing of consequence, and come away thinking it was the best night of my life.
I know without a doubt that you will always be there, unfaltering, honest and open, with a shoulder ready for me to lay my head upon. And because I love you, I will be the same for you.
As I pledge my love to you for the rest of our time, I promise to always stand by you, no matter what might come our way. I promise to cheer you on and not to try to be your coach.
I promise to always be your best friend and confidante, to be as unconditional in my love and support as possible, no matter what challenges you might have.
I promise to always laugh at your jokes, no matter how bad they are, and to never become so serious that the ridiculous things we discuss fail to hold my interest. I promise to at least TRY to let things slide, even when you drive me craziest – or at least not to hold it against you for too long.
And I promise to hold your hand in mine, and your heart in mine, for as long as the universe believes that we should be together.
Mr. Ladyfingers, I love you with all of my heart, and I’m so proud that at the end of the day, I’ll have the honor of calling myself your wife.
The Reverend began the exchange of wedding rings.
The circle, represented by this ring, is a symbol of the sun, and of the earth, and of the universe. The circle is also a symbol of peace. For centuries, the wedding ring has been an eternal sign representing the eternal union of two spirits. This beautiful symbol of unity now joins the two lives of Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers in one unbroken circle.
We each stated, as we presented our rings to one another:
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I promise that from this day forward, you shall not walk alone. For my heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home.
And we all prayed during the pastoral prayer of blessing.
Eternal father, we thank you for the lives of Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers and for the love which has brought them together. Bless their marriage with the same measure of devotion which they bring to each other today. Give them strength to keep the vows they have made. Teach them to give themselves unselfishly so that their loyalty will be strong and their love eternal. Grant them the grace to make their home a haven of blessing and a place of peace.
And now, God, as Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers are about to embark on an exciting new adventure, grant that every bend in the road may be a happy surprise and every hill a challenge to be met, and when clouds appear, help them remember the beauty of these moments when before you and their loved ones, they took these solemn vows. Make of their hands one hand. Make of their hearts one heart. Make of their love one love—that together they may be blessed by your presence and your peace. Amen.
In as much as Miss and Mr. Ladyfingers have declared their intention to live together in marriage, have pledged their faithfulness each to the other, and have expressed their love by joining hands and by giving and receiving rings, I pronounce that they are husband and wife.
And now, go forth united by the light of love. Go forth with hope and joy and a heart full of dreams, knowing that the blessing of family and friends is always with you.
You may kiss the bride.
Photo courtesy of family member
Photo courtesy of family member
Dearly beloved, it is my privilege and joy to introduce to you for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. Ladyfingers.
And just like that—man and wife.
All photos by Shorts Shots Photography, except where noted