Deo Gratias

August 10, 2008

With many thanks to Casey Karbowski, our hard-working and quite gifted photographer, I've at last got pictures from the wedding. A full description of this event is likely to take me at least two or three posts, so here's the start.

Had I been the sort of girl to have my wedding all dreamed out before it happened, the actual event would still have surpassed it; as it was, it felt like all my wedding-day-dreams came to pass. The simple and the glorious came together for one sweet sacred beautiful thing, and in that context of absolute love, a better man than I ever imagined for myself took me for his own.

The single best piece of wedding advice I got came from Auntie-C, who told me to leave myself as little as possible to do on the wedding day and the few days prior. Thanks to both sets of parents (especially my mom, who insisted on my following that advice and on taking up the slack!), and to Beth, and Briana, I succeeded. Lou and I attended Andy and Lindsey's wedding the day before ours without much of a to-do list to worry over, which was good as both of us felt the strangling pressure of emotion ready to explode out of us at any moment. We got separated at their reception for twenty minutes or so, and the subsequent panic and almost tearful reunion in the parking lot might have done for a much bigger ordeal.

We toasted Andy and Lindsey with glad hearts, however, and church afterward calmed us somewhat. We were named in the prayers. After church and a stop in the gym to add our favors to the reception tables, Lou went to spend the evening with three of his college friends from out of town, and I went home to my parents', where I burst into tears upon walking through the door for no other reason than being overwhelmed with joy and excitement and exhaustion. It felt great to cry off the emotional buildup, and I felt much better afterwards.

I faced breakfast on my wedding morning with my first real nervous flutters, but those were gone before preparations really got started. The preparations were simple, for me at least: not wishing to have to deal with stylist appointments, I hadn't planned on any, and Beth did my hair and makeup.

At about 12 noon, Mom, Beth, and Briana got me into the dress my mom had lovingly handmade for me. Mom never got clear instructions on what I wanted; she merely took thirty years' knowledge of her daughter, a little silk and alençon lace, and made me feel like a princess:

She had to trim, piece, and appliqué the lace across the silk by hand, all from a single sheet of lace just large enough to give her one real chance to get it right.

Mom has more pictures of the detailing on her site.

I made the veil, with direction and some help from Mom. It took an excessively large amount of time, but the result was worth it.

Beth did all the flowers for the bridal party, with some assistance from Mom and Briana. She, like Mom with the dress, had only vague instructions as to what I wanted and the raw materials, but her final product was flawless—everything I could have dreamed of.

There were a very few small, special details in the wedding that I'd planned simply because I really wanted them; the white lilies were one. Few flowers hold claim to so much sheer beauty, but their symbolic connections meant even more—the sight of one is, for me, an exhortation to bravery, purity, joy, and self-sacrificial love through Christ. I cried when Beth first showed me the bouquet she had made.

Briana, having made the trip from Montana, helped out with anything and everything and very patiently dealt with the fact that her best friend was mostly distracted during her entire visit. Here she is, looking quite glamorous:

Lou and I had decided we didn't want to keep our guests waiting during an hour's formal photo shoot between wedding and reception, so we planned our 'first look' for my parents' living room a couple of hours before the ceremony. He paced up and down the front walk until everybody was ready; parents and siblings and friends stood off to the side while I waited a few steps back from the door.

I tried to say 'hi' when he came in, but couldn't quite get the word out.

He still surprises me with his good looks sometimes ...

After a few family photos, we drove to the church. Getting into the car took some effort; I found the wearing of a massive tulle slip under my dress to be quite an experience.

We married in our beautiful parish church. It's hard to look at Gothic architecture and not think of God. The spire pointing steeply upwards into the sky, and the high ceilings indoors, leave me feeling very small and very full of a child's awe.

Our friend John Marvin was cantor for the occasion, and the master pianist and organist of the church, Matthew Ma, played the organ. The wedding coordinator hid me in the confessional for the prelude, where I could hear John sing Schubert's Ave Maria (which my parents had had at their wedding) and Lou sing a wedding gradual (a psalm in Gregorian chant). Matthew played the old pipe organ, at our request.

Mary and my parents stayed in the confessional with me, and Mom stood at the door and told me who was coming in—"Scott and Megan are here! And Bill and his family, and Brad Bauer! And there's Donna ..." I loved hearing every name she mentioned; it meant so much to me to have so many friends there. The crowd wound up being about 350 strong.

The ceremony began at three o'clock. Long before I met Lou, I'd made up my mind that I wasn't doing the "Here comes the bride" thing, so we made our processional more like a mix of Sunday morning church and family. John asked everyone to stand and take out their hymnals, and to the deep tones of the old organ, everyone began to sing St. Francis's "All Creatures of Our God and King". As they sang, Lou's nephews, David, John Paul, and Daniel, led the way down the aisle with cross and candles.

They were followed by Fr. Qui-Thac with the Book of the Gospels, then Lou's cousin Fr. Kenny and a longtime friend of Lou's from his monastery days, Fr. Paul.

Next came Fr. Scott, the officiant for the wedding.

Then came the wedding party, starting with my junior bridesmaid: Lou's niece, Mary. Mary did an excellent job in her role, making sure my skirt was straight, holding bouquets when needed, and looking very much like a princess herself. She wore her dress from her first Communion and we tied her hair back with a little piece of ribbon from my bouquet.

Two truly 'good sports' walked the aisle after Mary: Lou's brother Andy, married the day before, and my sister Beth, looking forward to her wedding four weeks later. Lindsey and Todd awaited them in the front pews. Andy and Lou had agreed to be each others' best man when they planned their respective proposals to Lindsey and I. Beth accepted her well-deserved role of maid of honor when I asked her just after my engagement. Her likewise well-deserved engagement came just three months later.

The finale of our procession was something very meaningful to us, something I'd planned since before Lou and I even met: Lou's parents walked him down the aisle, and my parents walked me. No one else on earth holds the roles our parents do in our hearts; we respect no one more than those four people, and we felt they deserved the places of greatest honor and the opportunity to symbolically, as well as actually, give us to each other.

I'll end this post here because it's getting a bit bulky for good old Blogger, but look for more wedding pictures in the days to come.


  1. It was such a lovely day, dear friend. Everything about it spoke to my heart and I so enjoyed being there to celebrate with you.

    love you,

  2. Okay, I am just now getting around to seeing these AMAZING pictures.

    Jenna, you looked so BEAUTIFUL!!!

    (Granted you're a beautiful lass anyway... ;-)


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