Before I knew it, it was time to line up. I think Miranda literally said, "It's show time," and I was so excited. It didn't really hit me that this was really happening until the music started.
And then it was my turn. I managed to stay composed until I heard that first magical strain of Cat Power's cover of "Sea of Love." I downloaded that song sometime in the winter of 2003 and knew at that moment it would be in my wedding. Despite my best efforts, I immediately felt my composure waver, and before I knew it, I was biting my lip to stop the tears. I decided to just smile through it.
I think brides have a tendency to think they'll magically be a different person on their wedding day. A graceful, ballerina-like swan, perhaps. I was totally and completely, maybe embarrassingly, me. The sun blinded me as we walked down the aisle, so I scrapped my original plan of gazing into Sean's eyes and decided instead to look at my guests. I was so excited to see some of them, I mouthed, "I LOVE YOU!" in a big theatrical way.
I cried through most of the ceremony, I have to admit. Sean looked at me with such tenderness, I think I was almost in shock. I squeezed his hand as hard as I could.
But I was still aware of the outside world. At one point, birds flew into the tree and our guests audibly sighed with pleasure. Everyone told me later that it seemed almost too romantic. I heard the birds and the water from the fountain, and I remember thinking, "This must be beautiful."
I remember feeling such a big lump in my throat that I was surprised to hear my own voice echoing through the garden when I said my vows. I focused very hard on repeating them the right way, and was pleased my voice didn't waver. Sean, for once, didn't mumble.
When it came time for rings, I could barely get Sean's on his finger, so I just threw up my hands and said, "Close enough."
And then we kissed! And then we eskimo kissed; when we first started dating, I taught Sean about eskimo kisses.
And suddenly, we were husband and wife. It was an amazing feeling to face this group of people who we love and who love us, and wanted to be there to witness.
And despite our fancy outfits and special words, we were still ourselves, as we walked away. I said, "Are you excited to be married?" and Sean characteristically said, "Yeah."
"It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities.
Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages, betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps...perhaps...love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath."Our friend Mark, a poet himself, read a selection from "Still Life With Woodpecker." Mark has excellent taste and is much more well-read than I, so I was hesitant to share my selection with him. Imagine how delighted I was when he said it perfectly expressed how he feels, too! Here it is:
"Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free."
“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, 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 be the same.
For after today, you shall say to the world — This is my husband. This is my wife.”