Our Ceremony – Part I

As you may remember, Brian and I asked Sue Kennedy to perform our wedding ceremony and what a wonderful decision that was. She met with us twice before the wedding to not only get to know us as a couple (she has known me since birth), but to also give us pre-marital counseling. She also talked to us about what we wanted our ceremony to be like — what did we want to include? what did we not want to include? how open were we to sharing the details of our “love story”? did we want to incorporate any traditions? did we want to have any readings? After answering all the questions, she wrote us the most perfect ceremony I could have ever imagined.

Here are some of the moments (with excerpts) from the most special half an hour of my life so far…

North Carolina Wedding Ceremony

Groomsmen in Navy Sweaters and Khakis

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

From the ceremony: “Please note these candles inside hurricane lamps; they have a very special significance. Natalie & Brian have been most fortunate to have a lot of loving people in their lives, & some of them have passed away. These candles represent the light that those people have been in their lives. And, if you see the flames flicker during the ceremony, it has nothing to do with the wind. It’s their loved ones dancing for joy at the happiness of this occasion–the wedding of Natalie & Brian.”

Wedding Ceremony Ideas Candle in Memory of Loved Ones

My cousin, Amelia, chose to read from Ecclesiastes 4 verses 9 to 12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone?
And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

One of the two traditions we chose to include in our ceremony was one that honored our mothers.

“Each flower has a meaning and pink roses mean joy & gratitude. And so Natalie is going to present a pink rose to Brian’s mom & Brian is going to present a pink rose to Natalie’s mom. By doing so, Natalie & Brian show their joy that they are joining in marriage this afternoon, gratitude that their families are joining as well–and of course gratitude & appreciation for the love each mother has given to her child, enabling the love their children now share with each other & are so well-equipped to pass on to their children.”

Wedding Ceremony Tradition Honoring Mothers

When I gave my mother-in-law her flower, I had to ask her to stop tearing up because I was about to lose it!

Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Angela Stott PhotographyAngela Stott Wedding Photography

Now that you’ve seen some of the traditions we incorporated into our ceremony, I want to share with you another special treat our officiant included: our love story. Even though I come from a family of story tellers and jokesters, Brian and I are so private about our relationship that it was a little scary to share so much of ourselves with everyone at the wedding. But it was also the perfect opportunity to share our story and it felt so special to do it as part of our ceremony. Plus, there is so much silliness and joy in our story that we laughed and smiled the whole time. Perfect.

North Carolina Mountain Wedding

“Let me preface this. I met with Natalie first, since Brian was out of town, & she made sure to tell me that this was HER version of how they met & their romance began & progressed. We may or may not give Brian a chance to make, shall we say, factual alterations…

In 2001, Natalie was a freshman at Davidson & Brian was a sophomore. They often found themselves at the same parties, exchanged only minimal conversation & then, one day in the library, he came up to her, said “You can say no to this,” & then asked her out. Very confident, very smooth. No wonder she fell in love with you…”

Natalie Brian Wedding

“Well, they did go out–albeit with a bunch of friends— and throughout the dinner, all Brian said to Natalie was, “How’s your dinner?” Natalie clearly found this exchange utterly fascinating and afterward, they began hanging out in each others dorm rooms–watching movies from opposite ends of the couch. One of their mutual favorites is “The Princess Bride”. They both like it so much that they almost sat right next to each other on the couch.

So, as Buttercup said in The Princess Bride:
We’ll never survive. And Westley, her intended, replied: Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.

Wedding Traditions Reading Love Story

“The proposal story is personal but great, so let’s just briefly say that they went hiking in the mountains in January, with Brian telling Natalie that the waterfall which was his goal was only five miles roundtrip, & her swearing that it was more than five miles—each way. She says Brian made her believe it was her idea to bring a backpack. A rather heavy one, filled with bottles of water & lots of extra dry socks. But the bottom line was, Brian needed a place to hide the ring.

When they finally got to the darned waterfall, Natalie was so tired that she doesn’t even remember what Brian said. All she knows is, he pulled this amazing engagement ring out of a backpack full of socks.

And, to again quote from The Princess Bride, in an interchange between the Princess, Buttercup, and her suitor, Westley:

Westley says: Hear this now: I will always come for you.
Buttercup answers: But how can you be sure?
& Westley responds: This is true love — you think this happens every day?

And then they hiked all the way back down, where they called all the parents & grandparents. Since Al’s beloved mother, Izzy, passed away the very next week, both Natalie & Brian are immensely grateful that their last conversation with her was one of such total joy. And, by the next day, they were both sufficiently thawed out to call everyone else to announce their engagement.”

Part II coming soon!

What traditions are you planning to include with your ceremony? Are you planning to share your “love story” at your wedding?

{all photos by the amazing Angela Stott}