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The Wedding

Garter Snake

Garter Snake

This past weekend was the huge wedding of Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the Current Secretary of State and a former President of the United States.   The newscasters are celebrating with flair and the little town in New York State is apparently delighted with all the congestion and publicity surrounding the event.

Our small city had a lovely, intimate and beautiful wedding too – without all the fanfare and whoopla.

It was a beautiful event that displayed a great deal of planning, care and love which had been extended to even the smallest of details.   The sun burned off the marine cloud layer and it was warm but not hot, and the tide came in so the view beyond the trees was stunning.

150 guests came from all around the world including Paris, London and Tokyo.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so many college friends/ work friends all turned out in their finery.  It was a formal wedding in a lovely terraced setting.

Officiating the wedding was a pure pleasure.  Although the bride and groom are living in New York City, the internet made our pre –wedding conferencing easy and actually by writing things down I was provided a great deal of clarity.   The bride wanted her theme to be elegant and for everyone to enjoy the time together.  The groom wanted the event to emphasize family and connections.  We wrote that all into the ceremony and they were able to edit and approve, rewrite and revise to their hearts content.

After 34 years of participating and writing these original weddings I have to tell you that the words do not truly matter to the bride and groom – this couple wrote stunning vows and memorized them just for each other to hear.

The words matter to the Fathers and Mothers and the people gathered.  They appreciate the beauty of the setting and the lovely well heeled style of the bridal party, but it is the people gathered who want the words.

I gave them beautiful words and spoke to those who were truly listening.  There were lots and lots of tears, hand squeezes and hugs.   7 of the attendants asked me how I came up with the ceremony.   A couple from New England asked me if I travelled to do ceremonies because their daughter was getting married next year.  The musicians complimented me on the experience, and I was greeted and acknowledged by nearly every guest present.

I am the Vera Wang of wedding ceremonies; I speak the truth to you in love.

And now my favorite moment of this wedding:

The two nieces of the groom were set to be flower girls in the procession.  As we began the rehearsal, this dynamic duo stopped twirling their sundresses and began tapping their new white shoes down the steps to the lower grassy terrace.  On the way down was encountered a lovely garter snake enjoying the rays of sunshine.  Immediately two little girls squatted to observe and enjoy this new found discovery.  Nothing quite like it at home!

The Mother of the bride in her past life was a teacher and those instincts just kicked in; watching three students discuss and enjoy that critter – undisturbed focus – was a moment full of delight.  I knew that Mother was remembering those treasured moments with her own daughter and all the effort, preparation and exhaustion just slid away in that clarity only the heart knows.

Too soon the snake s-curved away and the legions of participants arrived; the rehearsal commenced.

Who do you think the words are for at a wedding?   Do you have a favorite moment from weddings you have attended?  Have you experienced a time when you and your skill/talent was greatly appreciated?

Looking forward to your very much appreciated comments.

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23 Responses to “The Wedding”

  1. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    It’s so wonderful that you’re enjoying this so much! I usually feel that the marriage is far more important than the wedding, but yes, a wedding can e an incredibly romantic event.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..The Hourglass Figure Is In Yay But Wait- Is That Good News =-.

  2. Patricia Says:

    I actually only enjoy some weddings Vered – this one happened on my 33 wedding anniversary and I enjoyed the whole thing – I think the marriage is far more important and I think that is why so many of the fathers and mothers were teary eyed….this was an elegant/loving event and touched many lives in joy.

  3. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Two memorable moments: When Peter and I married, his surprise to me was flying my brother in on the day to attend the ceremony (I didn’t expect him until a week later for the extended party). I still can’t watch the film of that without dissolving into tears. The words we exchanged paled next to this act of love, just for me.

    When my friend Judy married earlier this year, I was her maid of honor. I practiced and practiced my toast to the couple, and couldn’t get through it without dissolving (is there a pattern here?). Yet, at the reception, I delivered the wordy (I know! imagine that) story perfectly to gales of laughter and applause. Afterward, I tried to repeat this phenomenon, but couldn’t. What a sap!

    It’s wonderful to find the right words, but even more to revel in the moment. Love the story of the flower girls!
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Knowing What We Know Now =-.

  4. Jannie Funster Says:

    How lovely! I did not realize you still officiated at weddings.

    I think the words are for the bride and groom, and for all those yet to be married, but do bring sweet nostalgia to all us old married couples.

    I think your climate must be about as heavenly as it gets — just my style. Do you get to wear sweaters sometimes in summer? I LOVE that! Well, sometimes we do get to here in summer — but inside, I always carry a sweater to restaurants and movie theatres this time of year.

    Betsy’s story about flying in her brother was so sweet.

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..What Happened One Night In My Attic Studio As I Started Writing A Poem About a Rabbit Playing Tennis =-.

  5. Talon Says:

    You painted a perfect picture of the little girls crouchiing to look at the snake – so adorable! I had no idea you officiated, Patricia. That’s really neat.

    A beautiful wedding ceremony seems the perfect way to celebrate the start of the journey of a new life together.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..The Great Blue =-.

  6. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! What a vision – those girls eyeing the snake. How cool that you officiate! You have talents you’ve been quiet about! I can’t remember anything unique about any weddings I’ve been to but at my wedding with hubs, his hands were swollen from heat (and nerves?) and his ring didn’t want to go on. In my determination I nearly broke his finger – it was funny at the time – guess you had to be there.

  7. Tony Single Says:

    Hmmm… I think I’d have to sit with those questions for a bit, Patricia, but I enjoyed reading about this particular couple’s wedding. The garter snake is a beautiful creature, isn’t it? My wife would’ve cooed and fussed over it while everyone else ran for the hills! 😛

    I think words are important, but so are actions, so in the wedding ceremony context… well, the words are hopefully not just a thing of being caught up in the moment, but also a promise to be lived out for the rest of the newlyweds’ lives. I guess that’s how I see it.

    I kind muddled through my vows, even though I’d carefully planned out what I was going to say… and rehearsed even! Guess I fluffed that one then! 😛

  8. Patricia Says:

    Oh how lovely about Pete’s flying gift to you…and I know how those stories go…I was amazed at all the free style toasts at this wedding…no cue cards or scripts and two of them were amazingly funny.
    My honey cried all through our wedding….
    I knew you would do a royal job of any thing you put your mind to!
    You are so good at these kinds of events.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..I have failed =-.

  9. Patricia Says:

    I only do weddings now if I know the couple and they are willing to work with me – it needs to be fun… they can get married at the courts or hire any friend to perform the ceremony in this state…most couples don’t care about the wedding ceremony much any more… just want it quick – those are no longer fun.

    The bride gave all her maids a lovely shawl for a gift…and nearly everyone had sweaters on after the sun went down…now June was the wettest on record – not a sunny day in the 30…but this climate is good for me.

    Isn’t Betsy’s story just great!

  10. Patricia Says:

    I think it was a lovely ceremony also because the couple were just lovely people – with a goal to have everyone enjoy the event as much as they were going to….but they were a wee bit amazed by the response to the ceremony themselves….

    Oh those children were just adorable with the snake.

  11. Patricia Says:

    I think nearly everyone’s fingers swell a bit at the wedding…nerves and heat….I usually share a word or two about how to not drop them particularly into the grass!

    There are always memories at weddings…one of their finer traits.

    Thank you for sharing your story…

  12. Patricia Says:

    This groom said his vows quietly just to the bride, he asked that I cover up the mike – and I did. It added a special moment to the process.
    There must be something to remember that was part of the story…

    Much of the words of the ceremony were about actions that were planned and that were needed to happen for a future – they couple had a very lovely level of commitment to each other and that was evident – built on deep trust and respect.

  13. Mama Zen Says:

    This sounds truly lovely.
    .-= Mama Zen´s last blog ..Review- Through The Triangle =-.

  14. Patricia Says:

    Mama Zen,
    that it was!

  15. Eliza Says:

    @Betsy – re: I delivered the wordy (I know! imagine that) story <– bwhahahahahaha … no, I cannot imagine *smile*

    @Patricia – this has interesting timing. My daughter and I were sitting on the beach yesterday (mom/daughter time), discussing her wedding plans. They want to do a quick civil wedding at the Justice of the Peace to get the paperwork over with. The wedding ceremony will not be officiated. Instead, they are writing their own vows to say in front of family and friends at the wedding.

    I think the act of coming up with the words to say to each other is an invaluable exercise. After 7 years of being together, they will take a moment … or more … to really think about what being together means to one another. In that sense, therefore, I think the words are very important.

    However, I totally agree with you in that the words the Officiant says is not for the couple. It is for the family and friends, who do not even process it in terms of the couple. They process the words personally on where they are at in their own relationships and what they might need to put a little extra effort into.

    Great post and very thought provoking.
    .-= Eliza´s last blog ..Book give-away- Healing with Words =-.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Oh you have a daughter who is getting married…how fun and I think a lot of folks are going the Civil route and just having a party to celebrate because it does keep the costs so much more real..

    This bride and groom did write their own words to each other and they were lovely and right on with sharing why they were making this commitment to each other….

    We do not have a Justice of the Peace system in this state anyone can officiate a wedding who is over 18 and not a felon….It was so nice to be able to do one more that was such a lovely event…

    I think the process of writing the wedding helped the couple understand their commitment….I think the performing the ceremony well pulled in the memories and feeling for everyone there….
    Thank you for you great comment

  17. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. yep – I remembered in the dark recesses of my mind that you still practise as a lay preacher .. is that right? – anyway how wonderful that you were able to share in this glorious day with the new couple and their families – must have been so interesting.

    Your knowledge base – must be stupendous .. .. and how wonderful for the littl’uns to spot the snake and admire his/her glorious colours and garter colouring .. lovely picture ..

    Great memories and so satisfying .. especially on your wedding anniversary ..

    happy days — Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom Ever had a one word – at a time – conversation Fish and Chips – how do you spell it =-.

  18. Patricia Says:

    Hi Hilary,
    Are you recovered from the move yet? I have been thinking about you and Eliza at Silver and Grace creating a workshop for her jewelry in her garage….big projects to undertake.

    I am still an Ordained Minister in the United Church of Christ here in the States….not a lay …..though right now it would be wonderful to lay my head down on the grass and enjoy the sunshine

    It was truly a lovely moment with the snake, teacher and 2 small cuties engaged in study…

    It was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary

    Thanks for coming by…nice to find you here

    Sending good thoughts for your mum

  19. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. not really – I’m staying with friends .. so temporarily at the moment – see what lies ahead. I got another bag yesterday left at my neighbours .. it contained a pillow I wanted – I had the cover .. as well as some other odds and ends (not looked at yet!) .. and a loo brush set?! Wonderful what life throws at you!

    I thought you were ordained .. but couldn’t think of the words – that’s common right now .. just so much the brain can come up with .. and like you .. just to lay our heads down in the dappled sunshine without a care in the world would be bliss – wouldn’t it!

    Enjoy the weekend .. sunny now – but rain a’coming – we need it .. down here in the south east .. thinking of you .. Hilary

    PS hope Mum gets out today .. ?!
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom Ever had a one word – at a time – conversation Fish and Chips – how do you spell it =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    sounds like you just need a couple of days of rest and relaxation…not a care in the world would be bliss…

    Sending great energy your direction…wishing for the best…

    so happy your got the pillow and the loo brush set…what would like be without those?!

  21. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Not only did you capture the day beautifully, but you showed us another side of you – a side it sounds like you also enjoy.

    Weddings always make me cry. I’m so happy to see a couple tying the knot, beginning a life anew. Plus, the bride always looks beautiful.

    I wasn’t nervous on our wedding day, but my husband did mess us and say “my awful wedded wife”. We still laugh about it twenty two years later.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Size Matters With Comments Too =-.

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  23. Patricia Says:

    I am glad this piece gave your some recall of sweet memories. It is nice to see some folks taking the time necessary to make a commitment to each other – and yes this bride was beautiful in her simple peach gown…radiant is a good way to describe both of them.

    My husband was so teary that he could hardly get the words out…but he made up for it by delivering some of the best words of all at my mother’s and his mother’s memorial services.

    I do like to officiate thoughtful – caring services.