Ceremony Details I

Ed note: We have some really fun news for you guys!  Rachel G is moving her weekly column to Thursdays to make way for her husband-to-be, M, who will be joining us each Friday.  We are so excited to follow the ins and outs of wedding planning from the both the bride’s AND the groom’s perspective!  Visit tomorrow for M’s first column!

We had our final meeting with the Chaplain who is marrying us last weekend. The next time we see him will be at the rehearsal the evening before the wedding, which is now less than 4 months away! We also attended a service at the chapel on the Sunday morning and met the Director of University Chapel Music who will be either playing the organ or leading the University Chapel Choir who will be singing during the service. Afterwards we were able to take a few photographs which I have made up into a board:

Chapel Photos

{Images from Author’s Personal Collection}

I will enter the Chapel and walk past the font (left image, third from top) and turn to face the chapel (top left image). The choir will be sitting in their stands which are the pews with candles. The altar is the photo second down, right hand side (complete with terrible photo of myself!) and the bottom right photo is the view of the organ and back down the chapel when stood at the altar. The middle image is the beautiful painted wooden ceiling.

The chapel is a quiet sparse building with enormous windows through which sunlight streams lighting up the chapel on a sunny day. Despite a much depleted choir at the Sunday morning service, their voices soared to the very rafters of the building creating a magical and peaceful sound. The acoustics of the chapel take some getting used to: there is a 6 second echo so music sounds beautiful but readers need to ensure that they practise beforehand to speak slowly enough to not be drowned out by their own echo.

In our meeting with the Chaplain we went through our proposed order of service which is now ready to be given to A3 (my sister’s boyfriend who is a graphic designer) to turn from my text into something beautiful. We have picked the majority of the music and just need to finalise the readings. These are our choices so far:

Processional: Wesley’s Choral Song. This will be played on the organ and is the music to which my mother and her mother before her walked down the aisle.

First Hymn: Love Divine, All Love Excelling. This was the first hymn at my parents’ wedding and the only hymn at my Boy’s parents’ wedding.

Second Hymn: Be Still In the Presence of the Lord. My favourite hymn and to be played on the grand piano instead of the organ, hopefully by my Godfather.

Third Hymn: Jerusalem. A school assembly classic but much loved by both of us (and known to everyone). A rousing chorus to end the service.

Signing of the registers: During this period whilst we sign the official documents my best friend from university and a supremely talented cellist will play 2 or 3 pieces including The Swan Song from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns and one of Elgar’s cello concertos.

Recessional: Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Traditional, cliched and predictable, but who wouldn’t want to leave the wedding ceremony sounding like the end of film to be showered in rose petal confetti…

Choir: Prior to the service commencing and before the prayers we are hoping that the choir will sing a piece or two of plainsong, details yet to be decided as it is dependant on what the choir have rehearsed this year.

Readings: We have asked my Godmother to read the biblical reading which we have decided will be a passage from Song of Solomon. We have not yet decided on the other reading which we are going to ask someone from M’s side of the family to read, but it will most likely be reflective poetry and come before the prayers.

Prayers: We have asked our mothers to write and lead the prayers, as both regularly perform this function at their own churches. The prayers will end with a prayer for absent friends and conclude with the Lord’s Prayer (traditional version).

At our visit last weekend we also decided that we would break from tradition and opt to not have any extra decoration at the chapel, not even flowers. We love the beautiful simplicity and sparseness of the chapel and both felt that flowers would not add anything to the decor or to our enjoyment of the service.  This also has the added bonus of freeing up some of our budget to spend elsewhere and to cut down on things to be planned from a distance. I remember one wedding blog, A Practical Wedding, running a series of posts written by just-married bloggers entitled ‘Wedding Graduates’ and the comical and talented East Side Bride said this:  “3. Know when to let go. Two days before the wedding, your to-do list will seem insurmountable. It is. Take a fat sharpie, cross out three big projects, and get some sleep. Seriously.” I have taken her advice (although I am not sure what a sharpie is, I am presuming it is a pen of some sort…) and despite our wedding being 4 months away not 2 days, I have already crossed Chapel Flowers both mentally and physically off our to-do list. And am feeling a lot better for it. Don’t be afraid when planning your wedding to give yourself a break occasionally and declare something crossed off the list. Feeling sane is much better than feeling stressed and on the day are you really going to notice? And if other people do, who is going to mention it?!