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Our Wedding: The Ceremony

After our First Look, my dad and I drove to a hidden gazebo up the hill from the chapel to wait for the ceremony to begin. My dad told me how proud he was of both Jacob and I, and how lovely the wedding had turned out. It was one of the best moments of the entire weekend. Pretty soon, Shannon informed us on the walkie talkies she had brought that it was time to go. Begrudgingly, we left the air conditioning of my dad’s car and jumped into the hot (no air conditioning or power steering in 1947) rented one.


All of the guests had arrived.

They grabbed a program and started the puzzles on the back (or more likely used them for their second purpose, a fan).

The guys came out of the chapel and made their way to their places.
The moms were escorted to their seats.

Our adorable ring bearer walked down the aisle.

He opened the book wrapped in lace from Jacob’s mother’s wedding gownand proceeded to marry us.

Just kidding. But how awesome would that have been?

Next, my beautiful bridesmaids made their way down the aisle.

and our beautiful flower girl didn’t quite get the ‘make it down the aisle’ memo.
My father helped me out of our rented Lincoln.
I paused as the coordinator fixed my train. The music switched to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It wasn’t the music I originally wanted, but the classic song ended up being a beautiful start to the ceremony. I took a deep breath and started the walk that was over seven years in the making. I paused as the coordinator fixed my train. The music switched to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It wasn’t the music I originally wanted, but the classic song ended up being a beautiful start to the ceremony. I took a deep breath and started the walk that was over seven years in the making.

My dad kissed my cheek and I hugged him and whispered, “thank you.”
And meant it. For a lot of things.
And so, I was ready to marry my best friend.

Our officiant Jim began:
Friends, you have been invited here to share your love and support with Jessica and Jacob as they celebrate a very important moment in their lives.
We have come together today not to mark the start of a relationship, but to acknowledge and strengthen a bond that already exists.

One of my oldest and dearest friends Jordan read “Our Union” by HafizOur union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket
to cover our shivering feet.
A hunger comes into your body, so I run to my garden
and start digging potatoes.
You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance,
and I quickly kneel by your side offering you a whole book as a gift.
You ache with loneliness one night so much you weep,
and I say here is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your companion for life.

Jim continued:
As much as today is a celebration of Jacob and Jessica’s marriage,
It is also a celebration of their love,
Which is built upon the last seven and a half years they have spent together
And all the experiences encompassed by that time
Today represents not only the joining of Jacob & Jessica in matrimony,
But also the joining of their families and friends
Jacob and Jessica would like to recognize their parents on this occasion,
They offer their profound gratitude
For all the love and care their parents showed in raising them.

>Ron & Cecilia, Chester & Cindy, the unconditional gifts of love and support
That you have continually offered
Have inspired them to become who they are today,
And they thank you, from the bottom of their hearts,
Without you, this day would not be possible.
They are also blessed to share their wedding day with you,
their loved ones,
And thank each of you for making the journey here

Now, I ask that these friends and family stand,
And that you turn and acknowledge them, as they acknowledge you

As family and friends,
You form a community of support
That surrounds Jessica and Jacob
Each of you, by your presence here today
Is being called upon
To uphold them in loving each other
Always stand beside them, never between them
Offer them your love and your support
Not your judgment
Encourage them when encouragement is needed
And listen to them when they ask for advice
In these ways, you can honor this marriage
Into which they have come to be joined today
Do you offer your love and support
To strengthen their marriage
And bless this family created by their union?
Please answer by saying : WE DO
and all our favorite people in the world answered “we do.”
Jim continued:
Thank you, you may be seated.

To take a husband or wife may be the greatest act of love that any of us will ever make. We do not choose the family into which we are born, nor even those that are born to us, but in choosing to share our lives with another we make a voluntarily act of love.

and then he read “Union” by Robert Fulghum
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

I went first with my vows. Up until this point I had held back tears, but I almost lost it when I started to speak.

I am so honored that you have chosen me as your wife.
You are my best friend and the funniest person I know.
Thank you for pushing me to be a better person.
Today I promise my heart to you.
I will try not to be so messy or hog the sheets.
I vow to support you with all my love, for the rest of our lives.

And then it was Jacob’s turn. His vows were genuine and beautiful and much better than mine. I’m just glad I didn’t have to follow. . .

It seems like only yesterday when we first met,
but each day has been better than the day before.
You are my best friend, the funniest person I’ve ever met, and the love of my life.
Thank you for laughing at all the silly things I say,
for listening to me every time I come to you, and for truly believing in me.
It means more to me than you will ever know.
Today I promise that I will be the best husband that I can be,
because you bring out the very best in me.

I will cherish every moment we have spent together and
will look forward to the many wonderful years ahead.
I vow to be your husband, your friend, your counselor,
your bodyguard, your accountant
, your maid,
or whatever else you need me to be.
And I promise to love you,
protect you and care for you
as long as there is breath in my body.
I love you.

how awesome is that?! I’m one lucky lady.
laughing because we both said the other was the funniest person we knew

Jim asked:
With these promises to each other in mind, Jacob do you take Jessi to be your wife? Do you promise to love, honor, and cherish her for all time?

and Jacob replied
I do

Jim asked:
Jessi, with your promises to Jacob in mind, do you take him to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, and cherish him for all time?

and I replied:
I do

Jim continued:
In honor of these vows, Jessica and the Jacob wish to exchange rings that will serve as a symbol of the wholeness of the words they speak today and of the love for each other that they will carry with them. The rings are a symbol of unity, but not of possession; of joining, but not of restricting; of encirclement, but not of entrapment. For love cannot be possessed, nor can it be restricted.
Jacob, please place the ring on Jessi’s finger and repeat after me:
Jessi, I give you this ring as a sign of our lifelong commitment, a sign of our unending love and faithfulness to remind me of the vows I have made this day and a pledge to honor you and grow with you for the rest of our lives together.

Jessica, please place the ring on Jacob’s finger and repeat after me:Jacob, I give you this ring as a sign of our lifelong commitment, a sign of our unending love and faithfulness to remind me of the vows I have made this day and a pledge to honor you and grow with you
>for the rest of our lives together

May these rings be, from this day forward, your most treasured adornment, and may the love they symbolize, be your most precious possession
Every time you take hands, you will feel that wedding ring on your partner’s hand and you will both be reminded again in turn. It will always be with you, visible, worn openly and with pride. It will say to the world that someone loves me enough to make me a promise to share a life

Jacob’s brother Chris then read an excerpt From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
“When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

and Jim peformed the Blessing of the Hands:
Jacob & Jessica, please join hands.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Jessi, take Jacob’s hands palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you:These are the hands of your best friend,
young and strong and vibrant with love,
that are holding yours on your wedding day,
as he promises to love you today, tomorrow, and forever.
Now Jacob, please take Jessi’s hands, palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you:
These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young, and carefree,
that are holding yours on your wedding day,
as she promises to love you today, tomorrow, and forever.

and then…..drum roll please
Jacob and Jessica, in so much as the two of you have proclaimed your love and commitment for each other here todaybefore these witnesses of family and friends, it is with great joy and the authority vested in me that I now pronounce you husband and wife
Congratulations, you may now kiss one another.Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Jessica Leonard

and with that I had myself a husband.

I had always heard that the ceremony flys by and that most brides don’t even remember much if any of it at all. I remember everything about the ceremony. It was only 15 minutes long, but I remember thinking it felt like an hour. It was so, for lack of a less barfy word, magical, and exactly what I had wanted.

Unfortunately, it was also the hottest day of the year so far. Our poor bridal party was in direct sun and Tamara almost passed out from the heat at the end. But, everyone was about to be rewarded with an open bar if they could just survive the dreaded wedding portraits…

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  • Ally July 23, 2010, 9:28 pm

    How beautiful, I have tears in my eyes after reading your ceremony. I am sorry I missed it but this was wonderful to read and the photos are great. I am so happy for you both and you looked AMAZING!!

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