Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Wedding

(Gah!! I have struggled for hours to get the photos in here. So enjoy.)

I won't tell the engagement story yet, I'm still not ready. But I will say that Sugar Daddy proposed on my birthday three years ago. I knew I wanted a summer wedding and thought it would be great to do it on or near the anniversary of our first date. So the date was easily set. I also knew that I wanted it to be at my parents' farm, so that winter, we traipsed out behind the barn and picked a spot that was relatively flat and clear of trees. My mom was horrified with our choice because guests would have to walk past the manure pile but I was adamant. My dad assured her that he would move the manure pile before the wedding, and he was good on his word. He also spent the spring and summer mowing a clearing in the tall grasses and wildflowers, so that on the day, there was a big green lawn surrounded by a wall of tall grasses, milkweed seed pods that looked like clouds puffing out of little canoes, and goldenrods and New England asters in bloom. For a native plant geek like me, it was perfect.

wild yet formal

Sugar Daddy built an arch out of branches he and my dad cleared away, and we decorated it with wildflowers.


I spent quite a few hours searching for the dress with Banana, and I was surprised to discover that I didn't want something simple. The one I chose was absolutely perfect: strapless, ivory organza type fabric, bronze beading the same colour as my belly dance costume all over the bodice and running down the full skirt, not much of a train.


I was surprised by a few things about my thoughts and plans for the wedding. I wanted some formality. I wanted tuxes for the groom and groomsmen, and matching bridesmaid dresses. I had always assumed that I would be married in a civil ceremony because I didn't go to church, but I realized that we were getting married for spiritual reasons not legal reasons, and I wanted our union to be blessed by someone in a position to bless us. I also wanted this to be OUR day, not MY day.

Last night at the daycare, the woman mentioned that it was the first time a dad was at an interview with her. She usually only deals with the mums. And I was surprised. It really didn't occur to me that Sugar Daddy wouldn't be involved in the decision. It was the same with our wedding. I did a lot without him like the dresses, but mostly we did it all together. We spent a lot of time in the spring developing our ceremony with the minister of the United Church in my parents' town. Sugar Daddy found some scripture to make the minister happy that didn't offend me, and on the day, months after these decisions, I was surprised with how beautiful the words and the ritual were.

This marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
Kulliyat-i-Shams, 2667

Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7

My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned.

We chose the traditional vows, because we liked the act of repeating promises that many have said before us. We chose plain, white gold wedding bands and included these words in our ceremony:
Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace. Circles, for love that is given and comes back round again and again.

May these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like arms that embrace, is a grace upon this world.
rings ancient symbol

Sadly, I jammed the ring on Sugar Daddy's right hand instead of his left, and he didn't realize my mistake either, until we realized that the ring just. was. not. going. over. his. knuckle. We laughed after I smacked him. And our guests did too.

We also included a wine ceremony, where we each poured from a different glass into a third glass, and we each drank, because we liked the idea of a ritual that represents the joining of ourselves and our families, we liked the metaphor of the cup, and we liked the idea of eating or drinking in celebration.
As the wine and water unite in this glass, may your different characters and qualities combine to provide harmony, happiness and prosperity for your family. May the cup of your lives be sweet and full. Drink now to each other to celebrate the beginning of your life together, full of blessings.
We ended the ceremony with the Blessing of the Apaches.
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years, May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
I love that our ceremony included words that were both personally significant and embracing a wider community, because this is why we got married. To publicly announce and celebrate our personal love, and to formally bring our lives together.

The reception was fantastic with only about 50ish people, so it was small enough to see each guest, but big enough to have a great feast and party. We had an Indian buffet, and Chinese double happiness decorations bejewelled the walls of the old Town Hall, where the assassination scene from the Dead Zone was filmed (the town's only real claim to fame). Ishra came with the two best dancers from her troupe and we and our guests enjoyed half an hour of fantastic belly dancing. Many people jokingly complimented Sugar Daddy on combining the stag night with the wedding reception.


We took some dancing lessons from a friend before the big day, and danced a swing dance to Finley Quaye's Your Love Gets Sweeter. Unfortunately, my dress was a bit too long so I ended up stepping all over it and our dance didn't go so smoothly but we had fun, and that song was pretty sweet as a first song for a wedding. And learning to let Sugar Daddy lead was a pretty valuable (and difficult) pre-marital lesson for me.


After that our exhaustion caught up with us and we didn't last much longer. I remember a few days and weeks before the wedding we were feeling stressed out with all the planning crap. We decided we should have just eloped and not bothered with all these silly details. But the day was magical, and all the details contributed to the magic. And I think we both had the right attitude on the day, that we'd done all we could and whatever happened happened (I think it was the same attitude we had about labour and birth actually).

I remember just after the ceremony and the photos, we had a moment alone together, and even before the fun and feasting of the reception, we realized that it was all worth it.


all photos by Bob Housser


Heather said...

What an awesome story - I just got married this August, and the minister at my church was awesome in being able to help us plan a service that was meaningful to us, and man am I glad we did. Other officiants and other weddings just didn't fit the bride and groom, but ours did. Some of our favourite photos are of us standing in the goldenrod along a creek.

jen said...

you are SO beautiful. and what a lovely story/ceremony.

but i can't get over how stunning you are.

Mad Hatter said...

Wow. It took me longer to read your wedding post than it did for me to get married. True.

Sin, this post is lovely. You are lovely. I've been to so many icky, awful weddings and yours just seems delightful and thoughtful and full of meaning.

Oh and great photos. Ahem, what Jen said. So why didn't we meet this week? I didn't realize I was giving up the opportunity to hang with a hottie. (Yeah, take away my feminisim badge but it is after 1 am here and I am a bit giddy with holiday vodka.)

Beck said...

You looked gorgeous! And completely different from how I'd pictured you - your wedding sounded lovely, too.
My wedding was this huge monster wedding (over 300 guests) because my mother-in-law threw a tantrum. Icky.

mamatulip said...

What a gorgeous dress! You make a beautiful couple.

cinnamon gurl said...

I am so not a hottie! I just looked like one that day. It was the contacts, the makeup, the dress, the hair, the day, the magic. I didn't have a second of doubt and I don't think I felt any stress. It was a good day.

Looking at those pics, I am struck by how young we looked, even though it was only 2 1/2 years ago. I fear Swee'pea has sucked years out of us. ;)

Crap. Anyone who meets me now will be seriously disappointed with the reality.

Mad Hatter said...

Sin. I could never be disappointed with the reality.

bubandpie said...

I did the same thing as you - took dance lessons, practiced our waltz to Leonard Cohen's "Take This Waltz" - and then stepped all over my dress because I'd forgotten to try out the steps with the dress on.

Mimi said...

How did I miss this post? What a great wedding, and what a great wedding post -- and you both look gorgeous and radiant and in love. Which is what you want from wedding photos, non?

Hurrah for you both ...

Sandra said...

I have been busy catching up on all your posts since I've been away from the blogosphere. And I was sstoped dead in my tracts with these stunning wedding photos. Stunning. Wow

NotSoSage said...

'Kay, so I feel like some sort of creep who keeps sending you these messages...but I was catching up on my reading after returning from my visit "home" and noticed that I'd missed this post.

Your celebration sounded beautiful, by the way...amazing. And so very like ours in some ways. In fact, this was one of the readings (from Rumi) that we chose:

This marriage is wine with Halvah; honey dissolving in milk.
This marriage is the leaves and fruit of a date tree...

...and it goes on from there.

I hope you had an excellent holiday. Happy New Year! And I'm wishing you all the best for your trip to SA.