Saturday, September 28, 2013

We Do!

Three weeks ago today Ray and I said 'I do.'

It was absolutely wonderful. There was so much happiness and love from family and friends it was in the air like perfume. The whole day was just thrilling.

We spent the next week or so just recounting funny and sweet stories from the day, and there were so many.

One of the things that I am grateful that we did was spend the day together before the ceremony and reception. So often brides and grooms don't see each other until the "big reveal," but I was very against this. I wanted to spend as much time together on our wedding day as possible, and I knew once the party kicked off we might be pulled in different directions.

So a few hours before the wedding we were sitting on the couch eating a frozen pizza and watching HGTV. Because on our wedding day, we go BIG. (Well, Ray ate frozen pizza. I managed to only choke down a few bites because I was so nervous.)

After our DiGiorno wedding pizza (supreme, original rising crust) we helped each other get dressed. It was just the two of us, tying sashes and ties, smoothing our clothes and grabbing cameras on the way out. It was perfect.

Just ignore the horrible saturation of this photo. I can't seem to correct it. 

Ray ironed my dress the night before. He helped me decide on this dress so it wasn't as if he hadn't seen a million times before. 

Funny thing about my dress. It was an off-the-rack Ann Taylor summer dress. I knew I wanted a simple, classic A-line silhouette, and it didn't get much more simple than this dress.

Whenever anyone would ask me what it looked like I would show them the photo of me trying it on. The reaction was always the same.

A long pause followed by, 'Oh... It's... nice?'

Which was to say, You're getting married that?!

I'd defend my choice by noting I'd dress it up with a lovely sash and flower and some fun red heels. But no one was really impressed. I guess they expected something more classically bridal - something long, strapless and beaded.

Ha. Oh well.

The two things I heard most about the wedding was how laid-back it was and how tender Ray's vows were.

Rather than have guests take a seat and wait for the wedding, we had the bar open and were mingling with everyone, having drinks and greeting people as they arrived. I think people were surprised to see us. But we wanted to maximize time with everyone and join the party, so we set it up to do just that.

About 5:10 I looked around and everyone was having a beer, chatting with each other and playing cornhole. It was the exactly the laid-back summer wedding we envisioned.

When it came time for the ceremony, everyone grabbed their cocktails and a seat and we got married surrounded by 85 of our friends and family. Simple enough.

The other comment I heard more than any other was how sweet and wonderful Ray's vows were. Several girlfriends admitted they teared up or had to choke back tears, and Lori, who was standing right beside me and looking directly at Ray also, said she was holding back an 'ugly cry.' Ha!

She wasn't the only one.

His vows brought the house down.

As he was reading them my internal dialog went: "Wow. These are so wonderful, so touching and poignant. This is my man. Right here, this one. He's awesome. This is why we're here. I am so proud to be his wife.  ...Oh God, these vows are way better than mine. Oh crap. Oh god, I hate my vows. I can't read those crappy vows now. Would it be weird if I asked for a short break so I can rewrite them?"

Later someone told me I should have dramatically wadded mine up and threw them behind my back all, 'I'll just wing it from here!' to steal the scene. This was after everyone kept saying to me: 'Ray's vows were sooo amazing. Such sweet poetry. ...Oh, and your's were pretty good too. I guess.'

Ha! So much for me being the writer in the family.

And even though I had been, what shall I say... concerned?... about the Boss Man's ceremony, it was perfect. Just the right mix of sweet, funny, thoughtful and weird, which was exactly what we wanted.

And he totally got me before the ceremony too. I was kind of freaking out because he kept telling me beforehand, 'Don't worry. I talk a lot about lubrication, but it totally fits. Lubricant, lubricant, lubricant! Funny!'

And it seemed like he was slurring. There is a series of photos a few minutes before the ceremony where Ray and I are having 'a moment' by ourselves in the middle of the lawn. That 'moment' consisted of me starting to freak out.

'He keeps talking about lubricant being part of the ceremony. My parents are here!'

'Don't worry, he's just joking. You know this man, you know the ceremony will be great,' Ray reassured me.

'He's slurring. I think he's slurring. He took too many Valium.'

'No he didn't. Gina, he's rock solid. He's totally rolling over on you. He's just trying to mess with you.'

'He keeps slurring the word lubricant.'

Halfway through the series of photos the Boss Man appears in the background, walking toward us. Each subsequent photo shows him getting closer and closer until we finally see him and we all three start talking. And then this photo happened.

And of course, he was totally rolling over on me. Magically, come ceremony time, there wasn't even a hint of slurring. There was a lubricant reference that did inappropriately hang in the air for a few minutes, but he brought it back around to an actually very sweet story I told him.

He also mentioned birds eating our dry, brittle, dead bones and made a few Republican jokes because we were in Indian Hill. It was great. (I realize I'm not really selling the greatness of it here, but the standouts, as with all ceremonies, are the funny/weird things that happen to make it interesting.)

Oh, he also noted during the ceremony that he and his wife have been married for 50 years. I looked over into the crowd and saw her mouthing "forty five!" at him from the front row. Ha!

I'd tell you the sweet highlights of the ceremony from the copy he gave me but, for the most part, he winged it. The copy actually says "blah blah blah" on it.

You can see all of our wedding photos here if you like perusing other people's wedding photos (and who doesn't), but I've collected the best ones into a separate set of Outtakes and Favorites here.

Anyone can take great shiny and posed wedding photos. But we are not anyone. The Outtakes set features the best of the bad and entertaining shots, and I also sprinkled in a few favorites too. Like this photobomb from my dad.

A week after the wedding we left for Hawaii and spent nine days exploring Maui, which is the most staggeringly beautiful place I've ever seen.

Everywhere you look there is one surprised after another - volcanoes, beaches, rugged cliffs, rainbows, mountains, sugar plantations, pineapple farms - just all this beauty. So much so that it that seems incongruous to have it all in one place, much of it within a mile of each other. One minute you're at the beach and a half-mile away is a volcano.

We aren't particularly religious, we were married by my agnostic/scientist/nemesis Boss Man, after all, but if you're looking for proof of God, look no further than Hawaii.

Thanks to all of our family and friends who joined us or wished us well on the big day, it was all truly wonderful!