This Sunday, June 24th, is our 17th wedding anniversary. I love to reflect on my wedding day on the days surrounding each anniversary. I pull out videos, programs, pictures, music tracks, and just enjoy thinking about what was one of the most amazing days in my life.
By the time I got married in 1995, I had already played for close to 150 weddings myself. So I had TONS of ideas for what I wanted to do at my own wedding. I started by hiring the most AMAZING wedding coordinator known to man. When I hired my friend Patty, she basically told me to tell her what I wanted, and she’d make it happen. And that she did! I wrote a “script” for the ceremony and the hours surrounding it, because I wanted to be sure that everyone involved knew exactly what I wanted to happen. Patty took that script and made it come to life. She did it in such a way that I could focus on Andy and me on our wedding day, and not worry a BIT about what was going on in the background. It just happened…
So a good coordinator is a MUST. She walked through everything with me ahead of time, and on the big day she was on a mission. And she didn’t take any guff from anyone that didn’t want to cooperate. If she told you to get out of the sanctuary because pictures were about to take place, you better get moving. :) She was GOOD. Not one thing went wrong that day, and I owe it all to Patty.
I also hired another friend to be my personal assistant for the whole day, and I think that is a MUST as well. Joann was never out of my vision the whole day, and all I had to do was look at her and she came running. The only time she wasn’t right there is when I walked the aisle. She fluffed my train, and then sat and enjoyed the ceremony. There is a point in my wedding video where I can see her get up and walk to the foyer, so she would be out there when I came back down the aisle. She was a God-send that day, and an immense help to me.
I hired another friend to shoot our pictures. Since she came with my other friends and stayed with me, she was there to shoot pictures of all the set up, decorating going on, rehearsal pictures, and the ceremony, and both receptions we had after the ceremony (a smaller reception in the evening with Andy’s family at their home). I got EVERY proof, every picture, and I LOVE my pictures. She got a lot of behind the scenes stuff that might not otherwise be included in wedding albums.
Music….I am a musical girl, so I wanted my ceremony to be VERY musical. It was everything I hoped it would be in that department. I had a friend who had just graduated from the music program at MSU, and he was AMAZING on the piano. I had had my heart set on coming down the aisle to the wedding song from “The Sound of Music” minus the part where everyone sings about how to solve a problem like me. :) I wanted the big pipe organ sound and all. Only thing was, that was my specialty for weddings (big pipe organ sound), and I would be kind of tied up that day. :) My friend suggested an original wedding march he had written for a friend’s wedding, and I would be only the second one to have it played at my wedding. He played it, and though I thought is was beautiful, I didn’t want just piano. I really love a full, orchestral sound. The song would play for the whole wedding party entering, the flower girl/ring bearer, and then the bride. He mentioned that he could sequence the song into his keyboard and add a whole orchestral background. He asked me to imagine the song building right before I would come in, and a big cymbal crash when the doors would open and I enter the room. I was sold! The song was WAY more than I imagined it could be, and is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. I can now play it myself, and am finally comfortable to suggest it to brides that I work with now. (Doug had it played at his own wedding the next year, with a live orchestra!) The day before our wedding, the girls and I practiced walking down the aisle so that Patty could time the music, and know when to send each person down the aisle. She timed it perfectly. I was a bit worried about “canned” music, but it went fine. Doug just hit a button on the keyboard, and away we went. I had so many people tell me that it was a breathtaking moment when the cymbals crashed, the doors flew open, and there I was. It is a moment I’ll never forget. I watch the video each year, and I still get shivers.
My pianist friend had a great lineup of prelude music, and we had a dear friend playing her flute with him. He also played the postlude, and the flutist’s husband played his soprano sax. It was all amazing music. I had four soloists. They were all vocalists in a praise band I was in at the time, and all of my musicians played in the band as well. I wanted a song sung as soon as I came up the aisle, so that I could stand with my dad for a bit. I didn’t want to be given away too soon :). My friend Dina sang “This Day” by Point of Grace, one of my most favorite songs. I had just sung it 7 months earlier at my sister’s wedding. My friend Deb sang a song by Debbie Boone called, “Friends for Life” a bit later in the ceremony. After the charge to the bride and groom (by none other than Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of “Love and Respect”…yes he married us!), our friend Rick sang “If You Could See What I See” by Geoff Moore & The Distance. Then during the lighting of the unity candle our dear, soprano friend Penny sang “The Lord’s Prayer”. Later, the whole praise team played at our reception (songs from a CD we had made together) while we had our pictures taken. I even got to join them on the keyboard for a special number I was featured on, on the CD. It was fun playing in my wedding dress! :)
We paid each of these musicians (soloists included) for playing in our wedding, and each one of them gave the money back to us as a wedding gift. Their music was our gift, and that was so special to us. I was so touched by that… They were dear dear friends of ours, and remain so to this day!
Our ceremony was an hour long, but it was all we had ever hoped for and more! We knew we were only doing this one time, so we wanted it to be special for us. It was an incredible day that went off without a hitch, because of the people that came alongside us to make it wonderful. Andy and I always like to watch our wedding video on each anniversary, and this year will be no exception. It still feels like it was yesterday to me, and doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been married 17 years. We were different people then, and marriage has been hard work, but there is no one on this earth I love more than Andy, and no one I’d rather be with. He has been an incredible husband, and has loved me through some of the worst times of our lives. I would go back and do it all over again, and not change one thing. God has been with us, and will continue to be the center of our marriage. We are nothing without Him.
Happy Anniversary to my dear Andrew…I love you with all of my heart!