We started hair and makeup around 8am, photos started around 1:30pm, and the ceremony was at 4:30pm. There was a lot of waiting involved. I wasn’t nervous about marrying Jordan, but I was nervous about being “on stage,” including for a wedding mass and the dances at the reception. I don’t like being the center of attention, and any time I was left alone with my thoughts that morning, my stomach was full of butterflies. I laid down on chairs in the conference room, breathing in for five counts, holding for four, exhaling for five. I also did a lot of pacing as well as excessive nervous laughing.
Seeing Jordan and taking photos beforehand was a great distraction and helped calm my nerves. As soon as everyone lined up for the procession, my dad and I at the back, I started to get really antsy again. I tried to distract myself by chatting with the people waiting with me, but this time I just couldn’t shake it. I felt like if I was just able to see Jordan, and I felt like everything would be okay. As a result, the procession—watching each of my bridesmaids get ready, wait for the signal, then turn the corner into the worship space—felt like forever.
There was an air conditioning vent at the back of the church. For some reason I remembered going on an overnight cruise when I was studying abroad where I got seasick. I fell asleep on the top deck because the wind in my face was the only thing that made me feel better. So, like some kind of drunkard, I leaned against the cool marble wall, sort of hunched over the AC vent, letting it blow in my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my wedding planner and photographer exchange nervous looks.
Finally, my sisters were about to enter. We were next. My dad and I straightened up and got ready. I squeezed my dad’s arm and he said “I’m really proud of you, sweetie.” I choked up. “I’m proud of you, too, Dad.” We got the go ahead and rounded the corner.
My first thought was “the church looks so full!” I’m not sure why I was so shocked. Chalk it up to not knowing what to expect or how to feel. I saw Jordan at the end of the aisle and teared up. We’d worked so hard to get to this point. We survived two years of long distance, comforting ourselves with the thought that this day would mean we’d never have to do that again. Jordan looked really happy, and I just kept thinking “Yes! We’re here! We’re doing it!!”
Instead of my stomach being in knots, I was so happy my heart could burst, and tried to keep it together. I did a quick sweeping glance of the crowd. Big mistake. I caught the eyes of my family and some of my closest friends, who were smiling through tears. I looked back at Jordan. Focus. You’re so happy! No need to cry! Happy people are smiling and relaxed! This did not work. I felt my face muscles give into my intense desire to ugly cry, and started sniffling.
We got to the altar, my dad shook Jordan’s hand and then he gave me a hug. Then I took Jordan’s hand. I felt like I was able to control my face again, but the tears just kept leaking out. We did a full wedding mass, and it went by so quickly (for me, probably not for our guests). We had some amazing people from our lives do the readings and prayers. My heart was so full.
Stay tuned for Part II of our ceremony this afternoon.
Photographs by Seth Morris Photography