On Life and Love

The Wedding

I’ve had a month to reflect and absorb. Surely I can put words to this wedding business now, right?

First, go watch the video/slideshow. I punched Picasa repeatedly to make that thing happen (Google’s getting feedback on that mess, hmph!), and I like to think it demonstrates the tone of the wedding. A recording of at least the ceremony is forthcoming, but I gotta figure out how to get it from the cool lady who showed up with a camera.

I spent almost a year considering getting married, a few months being really stressed about the planning we weren’t doing “quickly enough”, about three weeks in “whatever, let’s wrap this up” mode, and the final week in increasing panic.

The day after? Still a mess.

On Sunday, after the wedding, every time I thought about the wedding–what we said, the dancing, the people, the dress, the cake–I choked up. No lie.

Oh, was it a secret that I’m a crybaby at times?

All the way to our first honeymoon spot in the mountains, I teared up and couldn’t talk about the amazing thing that went on the day before. I was laughing at my own absurdity as I struggled not to cry. Over what, I don’t know. It wasn’t until that night, when I was coerced into crying it out, that I could breathe a bit.

The day of, though, I’ll admit I freaked a bit before the wedding–would I remember my vows? Would I flub the readings? Would I remember how to walk? What music would be playing, again?! Whose damn idea what this?

Everything went perfectly. Well, I flubbed my vows once and Greg three times, but we did foine. When I stood there and looked at him and our people watching and our amazing minister who even threw in a wink at a funny part from the rehearsal, 92.7% of my nervousness went away. I was so right there.

A shot from the wedding.
Photo taken by Sarah Hegeman. Provided under a Creative Commons attribute, non-commercial license.

Greg and I spent the month or two before the wedding really cramming to get readings picked, vows written, music decided, and programs designed, all while doing premarital counseling, trying to make a living, and being social.

It all came together to make a ceremony that reflected us. Couldn’t have done anything near that smooth without the joy, insight, and ideas of our minister, Mr. Hugh Hammond. He taught us a set of communication techniques that helped us plan both the wedding and much larger topics like finances, kids, and housing. He helped us turn our random ideas (on all of those topics) into something cohesive.

Greg and I dancing.

Greg and I had “first dances” to two songs, “Oriental Uno” by Beats Antique and “I Can’t Decide” by Scissor Sisters. The first is a favorite (belly)dancing song of mine, while the second has special meaning to both Greg and I. It was difficult to get my father to dance with me (Mom said he was shy), but Greg danced with his mother and I with my father to “Zoom” by the Commodores, another of my favorite songs.

I’m a terrible partnered dancer–it’s awkward and restrictive and I don’t respond well to pushing. Plus, I get dizzy easily. My goodness, amateur dancing is full of circles.

Me dancing with my father.

In the days leading up to the wedding, I got to spend time with people that I haven’t seen in anywhere from months to years, got to meet my new extended family (Uncle Bob even asked about my green onion!), and had an absolute blast being super-social.

When did I become so extroverted? I blame Michael, quite frankly.

The day of the wedding, I wore orange.

Like, orange. I’ve never really worn orange as an adult.

One of my colleagues had asked a couple of months before if I was going for the “traffic cone” look, because her daughter had done something similar for prom, etc., etc.

Let me tell you, I was a pretty decent-looking traffic cone. My shoes (despite being flats) were terribly uncomfortable, so Dre and I both opted to switch to fuzzy socks after the ceremony.

Greg, of course, totally rocked the blue, orange, and black. That man looks good in most things that remain in his closet. >_>

We opted not to hire a professional photographer, but folks were happy to step up to the challenge of helping out. One young gent turned out to be one hell of a photographer (although he’s a Canon guy himself), and took some wonderful photos with our (Nikon) camera. All the disposable cameras got used up, too, although we haven’t developed them yet.

What was the point?

One of the things my grandmother asked was, “What’s the point of getting married [if you aren’t a Christian and don’t believe in souls]?”

(Yup, Nana and I are like that.)

I don’t think marriage is necessary for anything. The legality of it can be (mostly?) simulated with explicit beneficiaries and wills. Children don’t need married parents. (They need a/some parent(s).) The significance and spirituality of it can happen without walking away from the proceedings with a gov’ment paper. Hell, it can happen without actually holding the ceremony; the public vow isn’t something some couples want or need.

We wanted the public vow, though.

The purpose […] is to make public, to your “community” […] your vow to the person or people you’re marrying. Then you go celebrate that vow and everyone’s involvement in that, and trust that your friends/community will support you and yours when times get rough, just as you have and will for them.

We each have things to offer individually and as a couple. We have some common friends and some non-overlapping friends. Greg offers different expertise, different enthusiasms, and a different style of friendship than I do.

Only together, though, can we open our home for role-playing games, or group dinners, or friends staying over. (Well, only together if we’re being nice about it.)

Valerie, Emily, Shun, Greg, my mother, Lindsay, and others dancing.

As a result of the process of constructing the wedding–discussing and learning more about the meaning of partnership, the intersection of our spiritual beliefs, our core values, and our thoughts on the future–we’re closer and have more purpose. We know more about what “we” are, and about the lines between “we” and us-the-individuals.

The wedding wasn’t the point, marriage isn’t the goal, and (like I told Nana) it’s not the beginning for us.

It’s a point in our journey. The mark of the year 7-and-1.

The wedding party.


  • Andrew

    The wedding was excellent, and surely the most unique I had witnessed. I was struck by the contrast between you and Greg, and the entire wedding had a great tone of fun-loving wit. Heartfelt meaning was behind every word; surely that’s spiritual enough.

    And I was struck by Mr. Hammond. He exuded serenity and mildness. I’ve actually seriously thought about religion and spirituality because of the ceremony. It’s been years since I’ve walked in a place of worship without feeling awkward or panicking. The bell helped, too (goofiness aside, I really was impressed by it).


    • Melissa Avery-Weir

      I’m so glad you were able to make it up for the wedding and to be in the party! I’m sad that you and I didn’t really get to talk, though.

      By “contrast” between Greg and I, you meant blue versus orange, right? 😉 Luckily, we haven’t exactly become clones over the last few years. It keeps the partnership working.

      I’m also pleased that the ceremony (and Hugh!) may have eased some spiritual tension for you. I’ve followed your journey as best I can from afar and without prying, and what little I know of your struggles has informed my own thinking and searching over the years.