[continued from previous post...] My guests began arriving around 2:30 and were ushered to the ceremony space. Not until a week before the wedding did my dad suggest we use this land as a place for the ceremony. We had planned on everything simply being under the tent that we had rented for the reception. When we saw all the space that this area had though, all the beauty and potential, him and many other handwork kids built bench after bench and laid it out perfectly.
Of course, Mark had already seen me earlier, but we were not married and we still had not kissed. When my dad and I stepped out onto the path leading to the alter, Marks looked as though he was seeing me for the first time that day. While we avoided a lot of tradition in our wedding (sand, candle lighting etc.), we did not shy away from highlighting symbolism. Pastor Matt put a large emphasis on the moment when my dad took my hand and handed it to Mark. My dad was my protector and leader, now he was entrusting Mark with that role.
During the ceremony, we had a small worship time, where a talented group of our friends played "Beautiful Things" by Gungor and "It Is Well" by Bethal. This was a beautiful time for us, to take a deep breath and soak in the music and powerful lyrics of both pieces.
We exchanged vows, the rings, and before Pastor Matt said "you may kiss the bide", Mark whispered "turn your head right!" I laughed and we kissed. Contrary to popular belief, about first kisses our first kiss was not awkward or gross. It was such a special moment and all that waiting truly paid off.
The rest of the evening was such a whirlwind. We had a wonderful cocktail hour around the pond at camp. There, we had hor douves set on little unique tables at different locations, with decorations, antique benches and picnic tables for guest to visit at. After we got our wedding party photos, we joined our guest and began our rounds of trying to see everyone.
The reception was kicked off with Carlton (our DJ/ MC/ Camp friend) announcing the party which was followed by hilarious toasts from the maid of honor and best man. Then the salad bar opened.
Planning food for the wedding was another huge endeavor. Lowville NY does not have many catering options, and what it does have (bless it's Mennonite heart) is mostly potatoes, some kind of meat and a veggie slathered in butter. We had a local place cater our smoked chicken breast, but everything else was made by incredible women from my home church. Even the vegan option--butternut squash risotto-was made from scratch. The salad bar was a blast, choosing each unique ingredient, the dressings that would match it, and quantities in which they would be served in. I remember the day before the wedding, one lady delivered two huge garbage bags filled with cooked quinoa. They were heavy and probably the weirdest thing I've ever seen.
True to our season selections of food, we chose cupcakes which seemed to fit fall- carrot cake, apple spice, mocha, etc. Mark and I had a cinnamon apple gluten free naked cake which he kindly served to me, and I shoved in his face.
Our dad's gave speeches which brought on my third of fourth waterfall of tears for the night, and we had our dances. Me with my dad, Mark with his mom, and then our long waited for first dance. Isabelle sang "Hundred More Years" for my dance with my dad- which made everyone weepy. Then, per our special request, Mark's friend Gab sang "Three Rounds and a Sound" by The Blind Pilot for our first dance.
The rest of the evening continued to be magical and beautiful. My photographer- Miranda grabbed a few creative night shots, which we loved (and gave us more excuses to kiss), we danced to more favorite songs, tried to say hi to our 250ish guests and servers, and I tried to stay warm by throwing on Mark's suit coat.
It all ended with a send off around 9:45, after which, Mark and I were driven back to Buffalo by one of his groomsmen to catch a flight the next morning.
As I continue to reflect on this beautiful day and all the work that was put in, I cannot express how thankful I am for each person who helped make it happen. There was so much work put in--all for this one day....But what a perfect symbol of marriage. Never in my life with I go through an experience, have a day, like this again. And my parents know that--which is why they--and everyone else, so confidently put in so much work. In celebration of this beautiful union that The Lord brought together.
I will never forget this day, and I am incredibly blessed to have all of these lovely pictures to share with others.
Enjoy & be blessed!