After the bridal party photos, we took a limo to the church. The girls sat for an hour in a comfortable back room. We needed that hour. To refresh from the photos. To sit. To laugh. To be quiet. I loved my girls so much for taking that time to just be with me. Just us.
Meanwhile, the boys were hiding out in the pastors study and a few of them were acting as ushers for our guests.
I just wanted the wedding to start on time. Throughout the wedding process I had been told over and over that weddings never started on time. This was a challenge I had to beat. And thank goodness, we did. I think the doors opened to seat the grandparents at 3:59.
We were all lined up in the entry to the church and I kept having to back away from the group to get my composure. My dad kept going up to the choir balcony to adjust the video camera he had set up. (This is how we both gathered ourselves.)
We heard laughter inside the church as my mom and Paul's mom lit the side candles for our unity candle. My bridesmaid's reassured me that "laughter was good news!" "Laughter meant a fun ceremony!" I remember nodding and thinking that at this point in the game, those girls would have told me that a fire breathing dragon eating my guests was good news!
The boys walked out.
And one by one, my girls walked down the aisle.
And then it was just us. Just me and Dad. Standing behind the doors.
I couldn't stop crying.
"Smile!" The church wedding coordinator said to me.
And down the aisle we went.
Everyone says the ceremony is a blur. But I remember it much clearer than any other church service I've been at. I remember Robbie's readings. And the sermon. And lighting the unity candle. (Yes, our candles were orange and gray. The gray ones I found randomly last Christmas and then I figured I might as well go all out and bought the orange candle at Ikea a few days before the wedding. We left them at the church which I'm kinda sad about because I loved those gray ones.)
Our fantastic pastor pronounced us husband and wife and introduced us as
Paul and Elise Cripe!
I hugged my new sister, and we marched out to Ode to Joy.
Through the doors we went. On the steps of the church, we took a family photo with our parents, siblings and grandparents, and that was it. That was enough. I said early on that we were going to keep the family photos short. Weddings are too exciting for long photo shoots of lots of people. It was a unusual choice to make, but for Paul and I, the right one.
And then we dove into the waiting limo and just sort of laughed. Back to the Citizen for photos of just us and a grand party.
to be continued...
all photography by Lisa Welge