As you know, I like to journal (hence the name of this company!) because it allows me to relive important moments over and over again. I wanted to share this series of posts that chronicle the best day of my life, marrying the love of my life.
We got married at Benton Chapel on Vanderbilt University’s campus. We wanted a venue that could have stunning photos outside, and the campus definitely delivered! Inside the church, my amazingly talented friend, Molly Jenkins, created canvases to hang on the pews leading up to the alter. Using mint, purple, and gold, she created the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 verse on love.
Our programs were so very fun to make! I used a designer on Etsy named Riata Brown to create an infograph about our relationship (You can check out her awesome shop here!). You can see some of the details below with the kinds of fun facts we gave. We loved just how personal they were and the ability to share some of our story to people as they were waiting for the ceremony to start. (Clicking them will open up a clearer image.)
We really enjoyed planning the ceremony with our pastor, Mike, so that it would give God the glory for our relationship and highlight all of his blessings for us. We really appreciated the words he spoke, the challenges he issued, and the prayers he prayed over us. We still enjoy reading back over his sermon that day as continual reminders of what we promised.
When it was ready to start the ceremony, the bridesmaids, my dad, and I all lined up on the stairs leading up to the sanctuary. I remember holding Dad’s hands, laughing from nerves, and having to consciously remind myself how to breath. Molly must have noticed, and in her ultimate wisdom, asked if she could pray over me. It was so sweet and considerate, and gave me such courage!
And then all of my bridesmaids walked up and out to go down the aisle so that it was just Dad and I. I never once for a second doubted going down that aisle, but the sheer level of anxiety made me so nervous! All of the emotions were thrust upon me at once, and I felt overwhelmed. I looked at dad, with tears starting to well in my eyes, looking to him for comfort. And because he is always my daddy, he always comes through. I’m sure he would have liked to cry too! But he knew he had to be strong since I clearly was not. He told me that we should just take it all in. What an amazing minute walk it was!
The second the doors opened and I could see Jesse, all of those emotions were replaced with peace and joy. It felt like the whole world disappeared and it was just us looking at each other. I could see him holding back tears and grinning from ear to ear. I'm sure my face must have matched his! I’m thankful I remember those moments so well because, to be honest, the rest of the ceremony (and the rest of the day!) was a complete blur!
One of the most unique parts of Mike’s sermon included a part where he shared 5 things we had told him we loved about each other. I laughed so hard when Jesse mentioned my complete inability to stay awake, no matter how hard I tried. During our first year of marriage, I was so exhausted from my first year of teaching, I could hardly stay awake past 8:45 or 9:00. It meant so much that he said that back when he meant I fell asleep at 11:00! He was always so sweet in letting me get the rest I needed. That small sacrifice he made in not spending as much time in the evening together was such an appreciated support.
"Jesse fight for your wife’s heart. The scriptures say that you should love Rebecca Like Jesus loved the church. That means Jesse that you are be wiling to die to yourself like Jesus died for us. You are to give yourself for her. No sacrifice is too big. You are to love her like you are the same flesh. You are to treat her like you treat yourself. You are to work diligently to present Rebecca to be holy before Jesus. God has brought Rebecca to you so that you can take care of her physically, emotionally and spiritually."
"Rebecca, you are called to be Jesse’s bride. You are to be someone who is fully committed to Jesse. You are his prize, the one that he loves. Be someone who is lovely, not just on the outside but the inside too. Pursue Jesus with all your heart. Jesse needs you to be someone who loves Jesus and encourages him to be the man he can be. The scriptures say you are supposed to respect him. Encourage him to be a man of god. The way you encourage Jesse will allow him to grow to be the man he can become."
"So Jesse and Rebecca, pursue Jesus together. As you enjoy his grace, you will find the strength to offer grace to each other. Your marriage and family will be a beacon of what God can do through people who are fully committed to him. Others will come to you and wonder how it is that you can really love each other and it is simple because you have been changed by Jesus."
Our vows to each other were a mix of traditional and personal. First we gave vows to each other that actually came from a comic book. Now, before you roll your eyes, I want you to read these...
(J) There were times I was lost, and you found me. (B) There were days which were heavy, and you lightened my heart. (J) Through it all, since the day when we met, there was you for me, and me for you. That hasn’t changed. That will never change. (B) Times have been good, and times have been bad, and still, our love has endured and triumphed. (Together) Through pain and passion, through sorrow and hope, through death and through life. No matter what tomorrow may bring, we will face it together. (From: X-Men #30 – The Ties That Bind – The Wedding of Jean Grey & Scott Summers)
We thought the words and language used were beautiful and exemplified what we wanted to say to one another. After we said these, we used traditional vows from Mike:
I, Rebecca, receive you Jesse, to be my wedded husband. I accept you as a precious gift from God. I love you with a love only Christ Himself could place within my heart. I promise to give myself to you as Christ gave Himself to the church. I wish to have and to hold you, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
I was honored that Dana was able to come and speak on two rituals we wanted to do. We wanted to do a sand ceremony together and then take communion. We used vintage coke bottles for our sand ceremony (since Jesse loves Coke so much! That was his idea ;)). And I loved being able to use my late granddad’s communion set for our wedding. Dana served us communion and then spent the next few minutes during “Take My Life” to pray for our marriage.
And with that we were pronounced husband & wife! Words cannot express the joy on our faces the same way pictures can...
Beautiful photos courtesy of Doerman Photography.
The Wedding Continues with A Day of Joy: Husband & Wife (Finally!)