with Lynne and Leslie

Why I Love Weddings

by SweetMidlife

Wedding Week continues. Today, Good Friend Elicia writes about a beautiful wedding that she went to last week. It’s like a review of the most romantic movie EVAH. Enjoy.

by Elicia McIntyre

Photo Credit: Bridget Thornton

An ex-boyfriend once teased me for loving what he called the “pageantry” of weddings. Well, guilty as charged. I’ve always loved weddings! I love it all – the invitations, the fashion, the flowers, the first dance, the tipsy rambling speeches, and the rhythm-challenged guests (there are always a few at every wedding). I love to see everyone having a good time. Most of all, I love to see two people commit to each other and begin a lifelong journey. I enjoy entertaining and event planning, and I’ll admit that I’ve watched shows like TLC’s A Wedding Story, Four Weddings and Style Network’s “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?” (a show about wedding planners).

I also enjoy the anticipation of seeing how each wedding will be a unique experience and reflection of the couple:

  • Will the bride cry walking down the aisle or during the vows?
  • Will the groom cry when he sees her for the first time?
  • Buffet, food stations or a sit-down meal?
  • Will the couple have the traditional head table or enjoy their first meal as husband and wife at a sweetheart table?
  • Cake smashers or cake feeders?
  • Dramatic honeymoon exit or will they stay til the end of the party?

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending one of the most Christ-centered, joy-filled weddings ever – the union of my friends Stephanie and Matthew. Steph and Matt’s story is a God story, without a doubt. They were friends for a few years before either of them had any romantic feelings. About a month or so after they started dating, while the rest of us were watching the 2012 Summer Games on TV, Steph broke her leg during an attempted Olympic-inspired long jump. (Don’t ask. She’s all healed now.) Someone captured a picture of Matt carrying Stephanie with her bandaged leg. She had to be in tremendous pain, yet they both had huge grins on their faces. Matt carried her in the same valiant way as they made their grand entrance as husband and wife at their wedding reception. This touched me not just as a romantic gesture, but as a symbol of the way he’s cared for her during their courtship, and a statement of how he intends to care for his wife throughout their life together.

Everyone who attended the wedding agreed that joy was the theme of the day. Joy goes beyond happiness and comes from a deep well, with God at the center. The bride’s father gave the blessing over the reception meal and reminded us that Steph and Matt first found the Lord before finding each other.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. Rather than having the standard Scripture readings and other religious traditions (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), the ceremony focused on the practical wisdom the couple will need in order to live out their vows on a daily basis.

Pastor Mich asked the couple to consider what’s good, better, and best for their marriage, always choosing to treat each other “extra special.” He encouraged Matt to lead (not dictate or lord over) and love Stephanie in the way that Jesus modeled. He urged Stephanie to support Matt and not defeat him. Pastor Mich reminded them that they won’t always feel “in love” throughout this lifelong commitment. He advised them not to have an exit strategy. I wonder how much the divorce rate would decrease if every couple adopted this mindset?

The couple vowed to love, honor, and respect, recognizing each other as a gift from God .

I’ve been to a lot of weddings, and there were a few elements to this ceremony I’d not seen before. The first occurred at the beginning, when Pastor Mich asked the couple to turn around and take a look at the family and friends that came to support them. So often, I hear couples say their wedding day was a blur. I love that Stephanie and Matthew had a chance to take the moment in. Another twist was the invitation of all the family members to be a part of the unity sand ceremony. I’ve often seen the bride and groom’s parents participate in unity candle lighting, but this gesture symbolized the joining together of two entire families.

During the cocktail hour, I felt a tap on my shoulder – I turned around and it was the bride. The wedding party had taken all of their photos before the ceremony. I think it’s awesome that the couple got to enjoy every aspect of their wedding and spend time celebrating with those closest to them. Taking notes for my special day!

The reception was well-paced – no long gaps between events. We had just the right amount of time to enjoy dinner before dancing.

I’ve always preferred DJs over wedding bands, but I gotta say, the band was PHENOMENAL. Okay, maybe I have *slight* friend bias because they all use their musical gifts in our church’s praise and worship band, but for those of you not familiar, let me tell you there is NOTHING the “Shunda” band can’t do. After they opened with The Jackson 5 (“I Want You Back”), I did not sit down –Okay, I sat out one line dance (“Cupid Shuffle”) simply because I was overheated and desperately needed water. But it allowed me to get this awesome shot of my friends on the dance floor:

Okay, there was one other time I sat down and that was to eat wedding cake – which was delicious and moist with a raspberry filling. Good wedding cake is a must!

 

We formed a “Love Train” to the sound of the O’Jays. We did all the slides – Electric and Cha-Cha. We did the Wobble. Oh, and did I mention one of the lead singers, my friend Tracey Tiernan of Baltimore’s 95.1 SHINE FM (and a former nightclub and wedding band singer) busted out with Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” And I just about LOST MY MIND when Mario sang Bruno Mars’ “Locked out of Heaven,” just as good as the original! The band played a tribute to the bride’s Jersey roots with “Living on a Prayer” and all of us 80s kids rejoiced. We did a Soul Train line to “Everybody Dance Now.” At the end of the night, we chanted, “ONE MORE SONG!” until the band acquiesced. They gave us “Respect” (Aretha Franklin) as their encore song. I’ve never been to a wedding where the band says good night and the crowd is still lingering on the dance floor, talking and congratulating the couple.

Seeing my friends so happy last Saturday night put a smile on my face that lasted well into Tuesday. Sometime after their engagement, I remember Stephanie saying, “A year ago, there was no Matt,” referring to just how quickly life can change. Singletons, let this be an encouragement to your heart!

Stephanie and Matthew’s relationship is the real deal. I’m sure both of them would say it was worth waiting for. God is the ultimate matchmaker.

 


5 Responses to “Why I Love Weddings”

  1. qscoiffs@comcast.net' Q says:

    Thank you, Elicia, for your amazing talent at painting such incredible pictures with words. I actually “felt” the fullness of Steph and Matt’s wedding day as I read your blog. Will certainly tuck away some of the details for my own ceremony. . .

  2. lendadincer@gmail.com' Lenda Dincer says:

    Congratulations and best wishes to Stephanie and Matthew!

    Elicia, your words and style really captured the spirit of a very beautiful and special day. I felt like I was there with you.

  3. tanya_fierro@yahoo.com' Tanya says:

    I love weddings too! My niece is getting married this month and I can’t wait to attend. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from Sits.

  4. Here from SITS! I’m a sucker for weddings, too! My husband makes fun of me for watching Say Yes to the Dress and I keep trying to tell him how interesting it is to see how everyone’s taste and vision is just so different!

  5. penyu@verizon.net' Mary P. says:

    Beautiful tribute to a couple whose love for each other doesn’t just show, their love glows Elicia. Memories for me were etched into stone through photographs, but you’ve altered my perspective. Your blog is like HD in written form. Thank you so much for sharing…love you!

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