The surprises kept coming that day. I had contacted my dear old high school buddy Tony about possibly playing the piano for our ceremony, but he wasn’t going to be in town that weekend. The morning of the wedding, we were in for a surprise when word came in that Tony was there. My pianist and organist, both also knowing Tony from school graciously allowed him to play a few pieces as our guests were arriving. It was such a gift to have him play for us. Then he surprised us further by sitting down and playing during our reception as well.
Ked and I had planned a special part of the wedding ceremony to testify before our guests and each other of our life long commitment to serve each other. I remember sitting around my dorm room asking some girls from my hall for wedding ceremony ideas – things they had seen that were meaningful and special. One girl mentioned having seen a foot washing ceremony, following in the footsteps of Jesus to demonstrate their desire to have a marriage of servanthood. I loved it, and when I discussed it with Ked, he did too. Since neither of us had ever seen it done before, we weren’t entirely sure how to go about it. Fortunately, my youth pastor’s wife came to the rescue with basins and a pitcher of water and suggested we take each other’s shoes off, and just pour water over each other’s feet and then dry them, putting the shoes back on while having someone singing a nice song in the background.
I wish I could remember the song we chose. Isn’t it amazing how you obsess over details and over a decade later you can’t even remember what it was? As the song was sung, we took turns sitting in a chair and washing each other’s feet. As I took Ked’s shoes and socks off, he had a surprise waiting for me. On his toe nails written in blue nail polish was “I love you” with one letter on each toe nail. Here we were in the middle of a very touching and moving ceremony, with our guests starting to sniffle in the pews and I was trying not to crack up. And that’s how our servanthood began! He then had me so rattled, that I quite nearly put his shoes back on the wrong feet. I couldn’t figure out why he kept sticking the other foot in my face until I realized I had the wrong shoe for the wrong foot! Fortunately, I think many of the guests were dabbing their eyes and missed that part. I hope.
Finally, at long last, we were allowed to kiss with a very emphatic, “You may NOW kiss the bride!” to which our parents were cheering and hollering. We then left the auditorium to the hallelujah chorus.
The cake was delicious, and we did the typical juvenile cake shove. I actually had instructions from his sister to go in and up, with a little mock demonstration of the best way to make sure it got up his nose. In case you haven’t figured it out, Ked is quite the prankster and opportunities to really get him good are rare. So we had discussed the cake strategy knowing he’d show no mercy and the one who acts quickest wins. I think I won that one.
The garter toss was quite the spectacle that ended in a brawl. Remember my friends Tony and Joel from high school? Those two ended up on the floor, tackling each other. Oh. my. word. Joel came out on top, triumphant. My bridesmaid Karen caught the bouquet, and I had to laugh because they both attended the same college in Illinois. It’s a small world – Karen grew up several hours from us and had come to see me in the King and I where Joel and I had the leads, and then she and Joel ended up at the same Christian college. Funny coincidences (and no, they didn’t marry each other, but both are happily married with beautiful families!)
We had made it through the day without any surprise magic tricks, but the brothers had one last farewell up their sleeve. They missed half the reception as they drove around the countryside hunting for our van to no avail. To take their angst out on us, they bought cans of silly string. The messy, brightly colored, spray-all-over-creation foam string. As we were making our exit under a nice spray of birdseed, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of pink and orange and I knew we were doomed. Our best man Ryan and his new wife Jennifer were waiting with their car to whisk us off to safety and we began a mad dash for the backseat, Ked flinging silly string everywhere. I have no idea how they emptied so many cans of string so quickly, but they did, and Mom said it was on the church parking lot for weeks.
I mostly tried to avoid getting the string on Mom’s dress, but that was impossible. Mom worked her magic on it and it all came out except for a small section on the veil. Younger brothers! That definitely made for a memorable exit.
As if that weren’t enough, we weren’t quite finished yet. We headed back to my parents house to change, grab our van and head south for our honeymoon. We were about thirty minutes down the road when Ked realized he didn’t have his wallet. We pulled over at a rest stop to use a pay phone and called my parents house hoping to catch someone. If I remember right, no one was home and we somehow managed to get a hold of someone in the church office who grabbed my parents who were still at the church cleaning up with Ked’s parents. (Life with cell phones is so much easier!) We explained the missing wallet and asked them to check the tux pants that Ked had been wearing. Sure enough, there it was. We arranged a meetup along the highway to get the wallet from his parents. Just what every newlywed wants – to have to call home for help and turn around and meet the parents! Lol!
Finally, we were on our way! And now, nearly 14 years later, the rest is history!
Thanks so much for sharing this journey with me. It turned into something so much bigger than I anticipated when I first started, and it’s been a joy to reminisce with you! Thank you all for your kind comments and the memories of your own you have shared. Many of you have sent messages asking me to keep going through the first year of marriage. I’ve been probing my memories to see if there’s anything worth sharing and I think there may be. So, I guess….stay tuned!