Wedding Week: The Ceremony

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Early on, we knew we wanted our ceremony to be several things: intimate, brief, and centered around the idea of love (we did get married on a heart-shaped lawn, after all). Geoffrey and I were overjoyed that one of our closest family friends, Peter, agreed to be the officiant. I've known him since I was little - when I was a flower girl in his own wedding. His energy is contagious and his demeanor thoughtful, and he truly set the tone for the entire day. We worked together to create a program that resonated with us - filled with poetry that spoke to the essence of love and commitment. This was one of my favorites: e. e. cummings wrote: be of love (a little) more careful than of everything. guard her perhaps only a trifle less (merely beyond how very) closely than nothing. remember love by frequent anguish (imagine her least never with most memory) give entirely each forever its freedom (dare until a flower, understanding sizelessly sunlight open what thousandth why and discover laughing) Before we walked down the aisle, I was nervous - not only to stand in front of our closest friends and family (82 in total), but also to make it down the steep steps without bellyflopping onto the concrete below. As we were beginning to line up, Geoffrey first, followed by my mom and grandma, I took my dad's arm. I immediately felt calm and secure - just as he had made me feel my entire life. I whispered, "I love you" and he said it back, in a slightly shaky voice. We walked down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon, the same song my parents played at their wedding, thirty years prior. We also decided to write our own vows. The process was incredibly daunting, but I'm so glad we did it. We agreed upon a rough word count and shared them the night before, to take off some of the pressure. Geoffrey's words floored me. His vows were so different than mine - but our message the same. I had fully prepared to weep through the entire thing, and yet somehow I felt almost disconnected from my body - poised, in the moment, and grateful. Geoffrey, who never cries, got choked up and pretty much took down the entire house. After we were pronounced husband and wife, we walked back up the aisle to a David Gray song - since his was the first concert we went to together. And perhaps the best piece of advice I received was to take a few minutes to be alone with each other, just after the ceremony. It's not something I think we would have done otherwise, instead slipping into the crowd of people that were looking to congratulate us. But that little time spent together was profoundly sweet and simple. We held hands in a quiet room in the back of the house, ogling at the new accessory on his ring finger - sipped a glass of champagne, popped some appetizers, and then went to join the party.

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Photographs: Max Wanger Next up: Wedding Week - The Reception

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