The drive down to Bristol was prettier than I remembered it being. Granted, it was an absolutely amazing day – crystal clear sky, no humidity, everything bright and cheerful and just out of a postcard. We arrived at the farm just after 5 – not long after the groomsmen did. As I saw kilts moving across the opposite end of the field, I quickly scooted over to the cocktail hour cabin to hide from Erich (given that I was a bit obvious wearing white and all). We gushed over the beautiful bouquets my florist had created (all I’d given her were the colors I’d prefer – I was amazed… but more on that in a little while). We stood on the deck and admired the view, took a few pictures, and just relaxed until it was time.
Through all of this, I was feeling very calm. Oddly calm. As in “I’m here to witness someone else getting married” calm.
But then we lined up to make the walk up the aisle. And then the music started – Storybook Love from The Princess Bride, and we started walking – my dad on one side of me, and my mom on the other. And my brain just shut down. I barely remember seeing people along the aisle. My knees were shaking, and my anxiety was blown full open, and all I could do to keep moving was stare at Erich (who was beaming back at me). I know I gave my dad a kiss, and then everything began.
And it was a swirl of words. Our friend Tony had hand-written the entire ceremony we’d emailed him the week before into a beautiful little journal (which he presented to us later). All I could do was smile at Erich. I’m very thankful that I knew I’d never remember my vows if I’d decided to memorize them. As it was, I started repeating them early because of my nerves (getting a chuckle out of everyone). That, oddly enough, was what finally calmed me down.
But for those curious, here’s our little wedding ceremony, in its entirety:
Tony: Welcome. We are gathered here today on this beautiful fall evening to witness the joining of Melissa and Erich in marriage. Melissa and Erich, have you both come here willingly?
Us: (together) Yes.
Tony: Today is a celebration not of a beginning, but of a bond that already exists between you. In many ways, your lives are already joined. Today you declare your intention to make this joining deliberate and permanent.
Tony: (to the guests) Melissa and Erich desire to be united in marriage surrounded by you, their friends and family. All of y9ou are here because you have played some part in bringing Melissa and Erich to this moment. Let us all remember those who cannot be here today, but who are with us in spirit always: Melissa’s grandmother Mary, Erich’s grandmother Miriam, Erich’s grandfather Norman, and especially Erich’s mother Deborah.
Tony: Melissa and Erich have chosen as a couple to perform a box, wine and love letter ceremony. This box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes, and they have not seen what the other has written.
Tony: (to us) Should you ever find your marriage enduring serious hardships, you are to, as a couple, open this box, sit and drink wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple. By reading these love letters, you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today. The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, you are to open this box to share and enjoy on your ten year anniversary! Melissa and Erich, please seal the box.
Tony: (to me) Melissa, please repeat after me.
I, Melissa, take you Erich, to be my husband – my best friend, my partner in life, and my one true love. I give to you, in the presence of these witnesses, my pledge to stay by your side as your wife in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, as well as through the good time and the bad. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you forever.
Tony: (to Erich) Erich, please repeat after me.
I, Erich, take you Melissa, to be my wife – my best friend, my partner in life, and my one true love. I give to you, in the presence of these witnesses, my pledge to stay by your side as your husband in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, as well as through the good time and the bad. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you forever.
Tony: (to Elizabeth, our ringbearer) May I have the rings?
(to us) Melissa and Erich, I invite you now to exchange your rings as a symbol of the vows you’ve just spoken.
Erich: (to me) Take this ring as a symbol of my love, as this ring has no beginning and no end, as is my love for you.
Me: (to Erich) Take this ring as a symbol of my love, as this ring has no beginning and no end, as is my love for you.
Tony: And now, by the power vested in me by the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, I now pronounce you Man and Wife. And in the immortal words of Mel Brooks, “Good! You’re married! Kiss her!”
Tony: And I present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Erich and Melissa Krueger!
We bounced away down the aisle to the Monkee’s I’m a Believer (because really… it practically was written for the two of us, recent Shrek usage aside). And as we got halfway across the lawn, I finally exclaimed “Holy shit we’re married!” Much to the amusement of those who were in earshot, of course. I specifically remember Michelle cracking up.
Now, here I’ll stop for a moment and gush about my bouquet – because it was absolutely perfect. Everything was in deep reds – a center Calla lily, with four of those beautiful deep red (with almost a purplish edge) roses, a blend of seasonal mums, all surrounded by reddish-purple (!) hydrangeas. No filler in any of the bouquets – all were full of flowers! Melinda hung mine up to dry afterwards, and it will take a carefully guarded place behind glass here in my office as shelf decor where the cats can’t get to it.
Everyone went off to the cocktail hour, while Erich and I were off for formal photo shoots with our bridal party and parents. There’s one particular shot that I’m looking forward to seeing from our photographer – the Scots on a Rock shot (with all of the kilted men in a row on the rock). We have lots of shoes pictures and hopefully a good chunk of silly pictures as well. I was laughing for the better part of the rest of the night.
The two of us opened the clambake at 7 by ringing a big dinner bell hung on the side of the tent, and our amazing caterer had everyone gather round the big cooking pit to describe how everything was done – over rocks and seaweed and steaming. And then we were introduced, went into our first dance (which revealed to everyone how Erich and I just do not dance) to In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel, and then we sat down for two beautiful toasts by Tone (best man) and Melinda (maid of honor). After that – the feast of clams, mussels, lobster, johnnycake bread, smoked codfish, sausages, corn on the cob, and potatoes commenced.
Oh yes, we feasted. And it was all good.
The dance floor opened, and as expected, there was no need to encourage this crowd to get up and dance. We received a bunch of compliments all evening regarding our DJ, who played a fantastic mix of classic standards and more modern dance songs to keep everybody moving. The floor was jumping all night. I danced a bit toward the end of the evening, but for most of the night both Erich and I were flitting around talking to people (as. IMHO, all good bridal couples should do at their receptions). Between the two of us, I don’t think we missed anybody – but I’ll be dropping everyone a note in the mail over the next few weeks anyway just to make sure.
Dad and I then danced to the song he selected – which is one of my lifelong favorites… What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. My dad, ever being my dad, was singing and being a bit goofy as we danced. It was perfect and very us.
Our cake was soooo delicious. We picked a vanilla cake with strawberry and whipped cream filler layers, all covered with buttercream frosting. Oh, god it was delicious. We did our cake cutting to Love and Marriage by Frank Sinatra (famous for being the theme song for Married with Children… as soon as it was recognized, we got a LOT of laughs). We were both well-behaved. No cake smooshing here!
After that, it was lots of dancing until around 10:30, when everything had to wrap up. The final dance of the night was, as tradition for me since high school, The Dance by Garth Brooks. I’ve had a few people ask why I picked a song about breakups (both in person and livejournal), so I feel the need to explain this one a bit. First – it was always the last dance of the night for every formal dance in high school (of which there were many… because we had nothing else to do). And also, it’s never been a song about breakups to me – it’s been a song about accepting the hardships in your past and embracing them as lessons that carry you into the unknown – and hopefully brighter – future – very fitting for Erich and I, considering our lives during this past year. The entire song is summed up to me in these lines – “Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
Your viewpoint may vary, of course… but yeah, that’s my take on it. And it’s just a pretty song.
As the music died down, the group of Tau Beta Sigma sisters still in attendance carried on the Boston University pep band tradition, starting up a rousing round of “Hey Baby” to end the night. My dad was highly amused (having watched the BU band in action a few tims), and many of the other relatives looked on impressed. And then all of the Sisters gathered together, and we sang the TBS National Hymn (with harmony, even!) It’s the first time I can recall ever singing it outside of a sisters-only event. Absolutely tickled me. I hope it becomes a tradition at all future Sister weddings. Really, truly. Needs. to. happen.
And then we all said goodbye – hugging everyone as they went off to their cars or back to the vans. Erich and I got into the Bentley and were whisked away to our hotel for the night…
where we collasped in bed, reading our guestbook pages and absently watching Crocodile Dundee on the midnight movie for about an hour before passing out.
It was an absolutely amazing day. Neither of us could have asked for better – we know that Erich’s mom was looking out for us by giving us the beautiful weather. And we’re still bopping around the house in amazement that we pulled this wedding together!
Thus ends the recap… but for all of the photos added to the photoshare to date, pop over here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/melanderich/