Walking to the church was almost the best part. I was with my dad and my amazing awesome wonderful friends, who were the best bridesmaids in the universe. (Seriously.) The sky was blue, it was a crisp, early autumn day, the kind that make September your favorite month of the year. Though I never would have admitted it before hand (I would have said that the weather didn't matter so long as, at the end of the day, i was married), it was exactly the kind of day I'd always wanted for my wedding, since I was a little girl.
We crossed the street, I with my dress tucked up around my knees, and headed for the church. We approached the church from the south door, through the garden. If you know St. Mary Redcliffe, you know what a pretty walk it is. Walking down that cobbled path towards the 14th c. gothic church I felt like an absolute queen. It was impossible not to let a few tears slip through. I knew that when I saw my Pirate waiting for me I would either get it under control or lose it completely, but I had no idea which and I was terrified. Not terrified of getting married, you understand, just of totally losing my composure in front of a hundred guests, friends, and family. And video camera.
(Oh, the video arrived today! Hurrah!)
We stopped in the porch of the south door to give everyone a chance to take their places. (Mom insisted on waiting for me at the church door and wouldn't sit down until I'd arrived, and then insisted on being shown to her seat by one of the groomsmen. Nothing like making things more complicated than they need to be, is there?)
The Cake attached my train, which she'd been carrying for me, the groomsman went to give the musicians their cue, and the round and vibrant notes of Holst's 'Jupiter' filled the church from the corner where the brass quintet was sitting next to the giant organ.*
And that's all I remember with much coherence. After that it all becomes a bit of a blur. We sang "Simple Gifts," the old Shaker hymn about love and happiness. Pirate's brother played the violin while we sang "This Is The Day." They sang "Eternal Father Strong To Save" while we signed the register, which is good because it meant I didn't have to sing about "those in peril on the sea," which is the last line of every verse of that song. Ugh. (Pirate really wanted it.)
We had two readings, the one from Corinthians that everyone uses, and one from the Song of Songs about the difference between love and jealousy, which had a neat line about "deep waters cannot quench love," which I thought was quite apt.
Oh, how could I forget the sermon??? Poor Rev. Wendy had no idea what she'd done. She launched into this metaphor of marriage as baking a cake, and needing all the right ingredients etc. Poor woman had absolutely NO CLUE that I'd made our wedding cake, or about the dozens of hours of practice and all the drama that went along with it. I got such a case of the giggles that Pirate at one point even took my hand and squeezed it in that "get control of yourself" gesture. My mom and bridesmaids were absolutely wetting themselves in the front pew. The verger, John, who runs a very tight ship, was utterly scandalized by our behavior until we explained to him afterwards what all the giggling had been about.
And I remember keeling before the altar, barely able to keep myself from sliding off the kneeler, which was too high and made very slippery by all the sating and chiffon between it and my knees. I took Pirate's hand and he held me up so I wouldn't slide off.
I remember spending a lot of time looking at Rev. Wendy's vestments, which were clearly all hand embroidered and centuries old. They depicted scenes from Christ's life, and were very medieval in style.
And I remember listening to Pirate say his vows. Unlike the rehearsal the night before, where we whispered them in practice and didn't look at each other, he looked me straight in the eyes and said in full voice
I, The Pirate, take thee, Chaucer's Bitch, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.
The exchange of rings was even better...
With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
I love the line "With my body I thee worship." It's so beautiful and so potent. I like the fact that the C of E recognizes and exults the physical, as well as the emotional and intellectual, aspects of marriage.
I did have to restrain myself so that I didn't giggle when it was my turn to say "and with all my worldly goods I thee endow." I was thinking both of all the carloads of crap that the poor man spend so many hours hauling, driving, and unpacking for me. I was also thinking of my huge student debt. Friggin what worldly goods? I'm poorer than a churchmouse. (Except for the dozens of houseplants and suitcases full of rowing apparel.)
And then it was over. Suddenly they were playing the Ode To Joy and we were walking out. I looked up and there were all these smiling faces, all these friends and family that I love so much were beaming at us.
At the back of the church we ducked into a side chapel and hid so the bridesmaids could shoo the guests outside. That was our fist chance to be alone together as husband and wife. I turned to the Pirate to demand a proper kiss (the one during the service being heavily laced with Social Propriety), and saw that he was crying. It was the first and only time I have ever seen a tear roll down his cheek.
That's all for now, but there's more coming. I have lots to tell you about the reception and things, which was great fun. And there are photos coming, I promise!!! xoxoxo
*Hehehe. I said 'giant organ.' Geddit? Organ?? Oh, never mind.