Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our Wedding Ceremony

"I promise to always be your best friend. The person you can count on to confide in and to lift you up when you are down. I will be the gentle hand in the middle of the night and your port in every storm. I promise to do my best to make the rest of our lives together full of joy and laughter. I will always honor our marriage and I will love you all the days of my life." ~ Me
May 18, 2013

Until that day, I never believed that there was such a thing as a perfect day. I wasn't looking for perfection. At some points in the seventeen months preceding that day, I was just looking to make it to the day in one piece.
Until that day, I never believed it was possible to live so fully in the moment that my mind could be free of any other thoughts.
Until that day, I never quite fully understood the magnitude of the love that surrounds my husband and I.
May 18, 2013 was our wedding day. For those of you who know me or follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that it was no small feat to get to this day. 2012-early 2013 plagued my husband Chuck and I with crisis after crisis; from me being almost paralyzed and then developing life threatening blood clots in my lungs to the illness and death of Chuck's mother. There was also a lot of other bad stuff in between. Yet despite those events, we continued to plan our wedding day. We felt it was important to celebrate our love with those in our lives. We had made a decision to split up the ceremony and reception into two separate events to make it more manageable with my autoimmune illness. The reception is still to come on June 1st.
I have always been a big believer in the fact that it is the marriage, and not the wedding itself, that is the priority. Keeping that attitude in mind, I approached May 18th with a fierce determination to not allow myself, or us as a couple, to lose sight of the significance of what we were doing. And like all weddings, there were issues. Due to ending a friendship, I lost a bridesmaid two months before the wedding. There was a phone call less than 72 hours before the wedding that none of the flowers I had picked out for the groom and groomsmen were available. People I was expecting and hoping would attend were either unable to attend for various reasons or made a choice not to attend.  But when I woke up that morning at 5:30am, none of it mattered. What did matter was that by 1:45pm, this man whom I love with every fiber of my being, was going to be my husband.
I will admit, the day before was tough on me physically. Everything went very well; we got the church parish hall dining room set up like we wanted for the dessert and coffee hour we were having after the ceremony and the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch. But the day was a busy one and we were both exhausted. Chuck spent that night at a hotel because he knew it was important to me that we not see each other before the ceremony the next morning. My friend Nicole, who was a bridesmaid, stayed overnight with me but unfortunately I was too exhausted when we got home at 9pm from the rehearsal dinner to even be social. Sorry Nicole!
The next morning found me spending three hours at a salon with Nicole and my maid-of-honor, Chuck's daughter Stephanie. It was a beautiful day out. 73 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze. I was a bit nervous, probably more from anticipation than anything else. I truly enjoyed this time at the salon with them and their excitement was evident. They were amazing as they ensured that every single detail was attended to and I honestly felt that if something bad went down, it would be handled. By the time we got to the church, ten minutes before the start of the ceremony, my nervousness had dissipated and I was excited to see Chuck.

 I was having a small issue with my dress and we changed our plans and got to the church earlier than planned. Because it was not yet 1pm, we went to the parish hall to recheck my dress issue and wait. Our parish hall is across the parking lot from the church and I was standing in a room looking out the window to the church and parking lot. It was such a surreal experience to watch our guests come in. Everyone looked so happy. I mean, seriously happy. I stood there and wondered - how did I get so blessed?
Chuck and I had put in a lot of thought and effort into the ceremony itself. We wanted it to be personal and we wanted it to convey our love to those in attendance. The ceremony started off by Nicole and Stephanie going down the aisle, escorted by my brother Dennis and one of our friends, Lou. The song was Can You Feel The Love Tonight? by Elton John. Then came a moment we had kept secret from as many people as possible. Chuck played and sang Marry Me by Train as I came down the aisle. It was such a beautiful moment. The guitar chords can be a bit tricky and I know he had been working on the song for months. He did such a great job and I honestly don't know how either one of us got through the song. It was amazing to see the faces of our loved ones as I walked down the aisle. It was amazing to see my stoic dad with tears in his eyes.


Since the ceremony, I have had several people mention one word to me and that is: radiant. People thought I looked radiant. The thing is, I felt radiant. At the risk of sounding arrogant I am going to mention that although we only have a small portion of our photos back, there is not a bad photo of me because so far, there is not one where I am not smiling. I just felt so content, so blessed, and so at peace. Funny how true love can do that.

We began to progress through our ceremony. We each had written our own vows. We had asked a couple that we are good friends with, and who have been married for 39 years, to speak about marriage during the ceremony. Our friend, Tom, sang You Raise Me Up during communion. Communion is not an event that many people in our faith incorporate into their wedding ceremony but it was important to us. We elected to present communion to our guests ourselves so I held the (gluten-free!) bread and Chuck held the wine (aka grape juice). Although I had cried before this point while I was saying my vows, it was communion that almost did me in. One of the first people to come up was my Auntie Helen and she was bawling. I could feel her love for us through her tears. And getting to see everyone as they came to the communion table was overwhelming because of the genuine joy and love on their faces.

The ceremony finished up and we exited the church to the sounds of our friend Dan playing We Are Family on the piano. We rang the church bell on the way out.  A receiving line followed and then down to the parish hall dining room to spend time with our loved ones. It was wonderful to be able to see family and friends that I had not seen in a while. We got home around 4pm and immediately finished packing to go away for a few days. Our Disney honeymoon isn't until September but we wanted to get away and decompress for a few days. That blog will be in the near future hopefully!

If I could sum up the entire day in one sentence I would say this: it was the best day of my entire life. Shocking considering that initially, I really wanted to elope! And I have had some amazing days: the day I graduated from nursing school, the day that Chuck proposed, the day that I found out I was cancer-free, and even the day I was married the first time. But right now May 18th is the best day. The main reason is because of the fact that the day represents that I found and have been blessed with this great love. The man that I feel privileged to spend the rest of my life with. On that day we outwardly got to celebrate our love and the union of our two lives and of our families. The day represented our willingness to work through difficult times and issues in order to commit ourselves, before God, to each other.

It was the best day because of the people who surrounded us and the wedding represented all of the support we have received both individually and as a couple from family, our church family, and our friends. I have so many snapshots in my memory bank of people. I have often told Chuck that when I am in a bad situation with my health and I am feeling down and sick, I often play back positive images in my head of good times we have had together and it helps to relax me and helps me to refocus my energy. Typically it is a memory of Chuck and I on the beach in Maine or some other happy time where I felt loved and safe.

The people in our lives have given me a new image.
The one from our wedding ceremony.
The one where I see their faces and feel their love.
The one where I hear words of joy and sounds of laughter.
The one where I feel an abundance of love, hope, joy, and peace.

I am grateful for this incredible day that we had together. I am grateful for every moment that I chose to not give up on true love. Most importantly, I am grateful for my husband and the beginning of the next chapter of our lives together.

Photos Courtesy of Susan SB Photography:


  1. This is a beautiful blog. I am glad you did not elope.

  2. Beautiful...We both are also glad you didn't elope..
    Love Dad and Mom

  3. Beautifully written. You had me tearing up. Your profound love for Chuck is "radiant" and can be felt in your words.

  4. I feel like I was there (and so wish I was now that I now Chuck sang you down the aisle...!!!). Can't wait to see you on June 1st and watch the video so I can experience all that radiance. LOVE YOU!!!!

    1. Love you too! Very excited for all of us to be together next Saturday!

  5. What a lovely day! What an excellent post! My sincere congratulations to you both!

    1. Thank you, thank you! It was such a joyous day...