I’ll Never Desert You: The Ceremony

Mr. C and I only had a few extra minutes after meeting up for our much-awaited first look. After only a handful of  photographs, I noticed that cars seemed to be pulling up to the venue in droves. Despite the calm assurance seeing Mr. C gave me, I was starting to feel nervous all over again as it was time for the ceremony! We had been running behind schedule all day, so everything after this moment was a blur of activity and emotions.

All photographs are by Christopher Helm Photography. The venue is Cloverleaf Farms just outside of Athens, Georgia.


I love this photo. This is exactly how I always visualized our wedding ceremony in the months of planning leading up to this day. This image is special to me because it captures our day perfectly: the bright sunlight streaming through the leaves of the pecan trees, shadows stretched lackadaisically across the grass, the serene fields dotted with haystacks. It was truly the perfect day for a wedding and it exceeded all of my expectations. How often does that happen?

The only downside to getting married in a field like this is that it was quite a walk from the back of the barn to our ceremony spot under the pecan tree. Our venue was really concerned about the long, potentially awkward walk to the ceremony site. They kept suggesting that we get married under a smaller pecan tree closer to the house. But honestly, the tree was scrawny and did not have the impact and majesty of this particular tree. Plus this tree had a convenient branch for hanging our rented glass chandelier. I’m glad we stuck to our guns and insisted on getting married there, instead of closer to the house, despite the long walk to the aisle. In hindsight though, I wish I had better warned our guests that the ceremony would be in a field so that they could have chosen their footwear accordingly. It was definitely hard for those women who chose to wear heels. I think the website would have been the perfect place for this sort of information. Keep this in mind if you are planning a similar sort of outdoor ceremony!

After a few post-first-look photos, Mr. C and I were ushered back into the house where the groomsmen, groomsladies, and the bridesmaids were gathered. We were lined up outside behind the barn (seen in the background of some of these photos). I could hear classical music playing in the background. Our venue coordinator asked if I wanted to wait inside alone while the procession began (it was a long wait as all the groomsmen, groomsladies, and bridesmaids made their way down the aisle). I stood inside the house by myself for about five minutes. It allowed me a moment to gather myself and focus on what was about to happen. Oh, and I was able to grab a much-needed drink of water! The venue and catering business owner was inside and she was so sweet. She told me that we were always welcome to return to the venue and watch as they develop and grow. Then it was time for me to join my dad waiting for me outside.


Mr. C and I hired two of our ex-students to play the violin and cello for our ceremony music. It was a great idea, as it solved our issue of getting music and speakers out into the field. Grace played the violin and was in my AP World History class and Jordan was in Mr. C’s AP Macroeconomics class. They had actually never performed together before the wedding, but you would never have known it from their professionalism and skill. I requested that they learn to play instrumental versions of two specific songs and to ad lib the rest. Honestly, I have no idea what music they played before the ceremony or the beginning of the processional. I didn’t have any songs in mind, so I asked them to play some soothing music that they could both learn in a short period of time. To this day I have no idea what they were playing, but I received so many compliments about them after the wedding, so whatever it was—it was awesome!


All of my bridesmaids (there were six) wore mix-matched dresses in our wedding colors: pink, blue, and light orange and some with ivory accents. My bridesmaids live all across the country and it was impossible to coordinate specific styles, especially since two of my bridesmaid had just become new mothers! This way they each chose a dress that suited their style, budget, and body type. You can see a better picture of them all together at the bottom of this post.


Our officiant was Mr. C’s good friend and former co-worker, Todd. I am so glad that Todd was available to officiate our ceremony as he had already performed several previous weddings and it allowed us to customize the ceremony to fit our personal preferences. Mr. C and Todd spent a lot of time together in Mr. C’s bachelor days teaching in Athens, so he had a lot of fitting remarks about Mr. C before we met and how he has changed for the better over the years that we have been together. We had a non-religious ceremony full of lots of love. I was worried that some of my more religious relatives would comment on the lack of God in our ceremony, but I think it was so sweet, pure, and emotional that no one even noticed!

But back to that big moment. That moment that so many women and men dream of: walking down the aisle.

I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “The Scientist” by Coldplay, which I realize is actually a sad song about a failed relationship, but it is so hauntingly beautiful that I couldn’t help using it in our ceremony. I’m not even that big of a Coldplay fan! I asked Mr. C how he felt about it and let him hear the other options I was considering. This was hands down his favorite, even after I read the lyrics to him. Nothing else spoke to me like this song did. Jordan and Grace did an amazing job performing it with just one violin and one cello.

I heard the song begin to play. We were given the cue from the ceremony coordinator and suddenly my dad and I were off. I could see Mr. C smiling at the end of the aisle. It was a surreal moment, the one that you replay in your head over and over again before the wedding as you attempt to visualize what your big day will be like. Then suddenly you are there, for the first and (hopefully) last time. My poor dad was also really nervous. He doesn’t like standing out in a crowd and walking your daughter down the aisle has all eyes on you!


Unfortunately, the tree stump and barn weren’t the most picturesque backdrops for these shots, but the ceremony site made it all worth it! This was such a nerve-wracking moment! The entire walk I felt as if I was having an out-of-body experience—a dreamlike moment where I wasn’t entirely present. When we actually got to the aisle it felt impossibly narrow. People seemed to closing in around us, although I’m sure that did not actually happen. All I could do was grin from ear to ear. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m so glad that Mr. C and I shared a first-look. It wasn’t so intimidating seeing him standing there waiting for me beneath the tree.


Had we been walking too fast? Too slow? I can’t remember and it was no longer important!



I can’t believe how perfect our chandelier turned out! This tree happened to have a great branch positioned directly over where we wanted to stand during the ceremony.


And at last, after 14 months of planning and with all of our nearest and dearest family and friends gathered before us, it was time for us to say the vows that would bind us together in marriage.

Up next: the ceremony reading, vows, and ring exchange!

Previously on the Camel Wedding Recaps:

1) Getting Dressed & Exchanging Gifts

2) Putting on the White Dress

3) Our First Look



Mrs. Camel

Athens, GA
Wedding Date:
May 2013
“So What's Your Theme?”
The Big Bad Budget Post- Sword Edition
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  1. Member
    jmll 92 posts, Worker bee @ 1:26 pm

    Amazing! I love your wedding site, chandelier, etc etc etc. Perfect, I’d love something like that.

  2. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 8:51 pm

    I just adore the chandelier. Gorgeous!

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