Since Garrett and I got married in San Francisco without our families and friends (with the exception of Garrett's aunt, uncle, and best friend who all reside in CA), we both wanted a way for them to be part of the marriage and we knew we wanted to have the marriage blessed, because God is the important part. We decided on the chapel of the church Garrett grew up in, a side portion of the sanctuary with its own altar and a more intimate setting.
I love this image, by Kristen, of us walking in. You can see the priest's white robe as we follow him in, walking together, hand in hand. It was really nice to go in together, I was only thinking about Garrett the whole way. We decided on having the church's music director play organ for our entrance and exit which was lovely. Once we got up to the altar I remember Garrett asking if it was okay that we were holding hands. ("Yes!" I said, "we're married!") Either way, I wasn't letting go.
I think we had about 20-25 guests at the blessing. My bridesmaids and some of Garrett's close guy friends were there (sans one of my best friends who couldn't get out of a vet school surgery, and she was sorely missed) and otherwise we kept it limited to family no further than aunts and uncles (and their children). I don't think anyone was offended (if so they didn't make it known to us), and I think it meant more to us and to the people there that everywhere we looked were people that really loved us. I was so happy to look at all the faces when we walked in.
Hillary snapped this one right before the wedding coordinator tracked her down to forbid her from taking pictures. I never knew of any no picture rule (that would've put a huge damper on this choice of location), and I'm hoping for other couples' sakes that it was because we were praying or something? Since I'm a photographer, I find this aspect of ceremonies really frustrating. Crying babies are a much bigger distraction in church than a few shutter clicks and no one kicks them out! Nor do babies capture the most precious moments of your joining your life with someone else. I digress.
In addition to the readings, the priest told a story about a man who bought his wife red carnations every Saturday for years and years. She would put them on display in a vase and be so glad to receive them. He said that one day the wife came for confession and admitted that she hated red carnations, that they reminded her of funerals and didn't go with anything in her house. But the joy that she felt every time he gave that gift was real. I'm pretty sure I teared up.
We did have a kiss, but we'd been prepped by the priest that the kiss should not be the "first kiss of the honeymoon" with hollering and the like, but instead the passing of the peace. He told us that you can repeat the kiss every time you do the passing of the peace at church and it will remind you of the day you married and the vows you made, which is a really nice thought. So, had the wedding coordinator let the photographers actually take pictures, they would've had a hard time catching our super quick sweet marriage kiss.
The blessing was absolutely beautiful and lovely and wonderful, and my previous stress at being rushed had melted away. We both agreed that we really felt married afterwards, because this was how it should've been for us. I wouldn't take back getting married early, it alleviated a lot of our problems and worries, but I would've been okay with having the blessing immediately when we'd gotten back. There had been something missing, you know?
I'll have another post with the readings and music from the blessing for those interested.