The music faded out. Our guests were quiet. Mr. Wiz and I clasped hands and grinned at each other.
(I’m going to use our real names in this post and the next, because I feel that our ceremony deserves it.)
We are here today because Jason and Kelsey fell in love, and, at some point, they decided to marry.
But, what is love? And if we have love, why do we need marriage?
Falling in love is a temporary madness, filled with breathlessness, excitement, butterflies in the stomach.
But sooner or later, we begin to understand that love itself is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. Love itself is what is left over when the madness of falling in love has subsided. Love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams.
True love is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t just something you feel; it’s something you do. Love is an action; a choice you make from moment to moment.
To two people who choose to love each other, the phrase “I love you” means, “I accept you for the person that you are, and I do not wish to change you into someone else.” “I love you” means, “I do not expect perfection from you.” It means choosing to love the other person when they’re in a bad mood or too tired to do the things you want to do. It means choosing to love the other person even through the worst of times. “I love you” means that you know each other’s deepest secrets, fears, and faults, and do not judge each other for them. It means choosing to love even when that choice is difficult.
Marriage is a promise of that very thing—that two people choose to love each other, and will continue to do so, all the days of their lives. Kelsey and Jason are here today because they wish to make that promise.
Our ceremony, for me, is an odd mix of “I remember every single second of everything” and “I don’t remember a darn thing.” I remember looking at Mr. Wiz. I remember the look on his face, the love in his eyes. I remember the way the air felt, the sun shining down, the wind on my skin. I remember the distinct lack of comprehension of anything Wizard Aunt was saying, or of the fact that 100 people sat just to my right side and were watching me.
I didn’t care about any of that. All I cared about was that I was with my groom.
But marriage is made up of much more than love.
Marriage is a commitment—a dedication to each other and your relationship above all else.
Marriage offers opportunities for sharing and growth—a physical and emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each others’ best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, and listener.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger. Even anger is felt more strongly, but passes more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives mistakes. It encourages and nurtures growth. It does not promise that there will not be any difficult times; just the assurance that there will always be someone by your side who will help you through them.
When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a union which binds them together as closely and as strongly as two people can be bound.
Wizard Aunt smiled at me as she addressed us next. She reads my blog here, so she knew that this next bit had particular meaning to me.
Kelsey and Jason, in just a moment, you will say a few words that take you across a threshold of life.
As you step across this threshold, and in your journey together through life, remember these things: Always treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Reaffirm your choice to love each other every day. Take responsibility for making the other feel safe, and give the highest priority to the tenderness and kindness that your marriage deserves. Never take each other for granted. Should frustration, difficulty, and fear assail your relationship, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part that seems wrong. Remember that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. Practice the ability to forgive and forget. Marriage is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner, and if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
She stepped back and addressed the audience again.
Now, Kelsey and Jason will exchange their vows, and their lives will be forever changed. For after these vows, they will say to the world: This—is my husband. This—is my wife.
My stomach flip-flopped and I felt like I was going to burst as Mr. Wiz dropped my hands momentarily, unfolded the small, scribbled-upon sheet of paper that I’d scrawled our vows on earlier that morning, took my hands again, and looked me in the eyes, as he began those very words that would forever change our lives.
Miss something? Follow along here!
First, I kick things off with our wedding video.
I go stir-crazy, and almost choke to death, the week before our wedding.
We had a pretty bad venue setup/rehearsal day.
I’m the bride with the weak stomach.
The crew arrives, and the ladies get pretty.
Hairstylist B accidentally shares a little secret!
Bride and groom exchange cards and a surprise gift.
Tying bow ties is a comedy of errors.
Finally, I become a bride!
All the little details.
A special lady gets a special gift.
Here comes the sun, and the bride (a.k.a. our first look).
We took some family photos.
All photos by MichaelWill Photography unless otherwise noted. Images market with a (*) are edited by me, with permission from Michael.