The Things I Remember About Our Wedding
Many people told us to enjoy our wedding day as much as we could and try to take it all in. This is a blog post to recount some of those things.
- I had a chance to say something at the reception - I thanked a few people, but wasn’t able to eloquently communicate what Suzi and I were thinking. What I wish I had said is something like this - “Today is a celebration, for Suzi and me and our families. We thank you for coming to be a part of that. We want to leave no mistake, though, that this is not a celebration of us, but for us. The real celebration is not of our love or commitment or ability, as if we are two perfect people who will live happily ever due to self-sufficiency. It is a celebration of God’s design of marriage to bring us into relationship with each other as He’s brought us into relationship with Him, a celebration of God’s relentless love to towards us and to enable us to be more like Him and to see how infinite His love must be if He can love people like us.”
- Suzi and I remain floored at the amount of love, encouragement, and support we received from family and friends that weekend. Suzi’s maid of honor, Kaley, even suggested that I had chosen my groomsmen and ushers based on their work ethic, because everyone worked long hours for the entire weekend - setting up, tearing down, folding napkins, folding paper to put cookies in, constructing programs, arranging the tables in the reception, carrying cinder blocks around, twisting purple streamers for literally hours. We had Moms cooking all weekend for the reception.
- We really thought we had the best supporting cast around us.
- I was proud to have my 6 groomsmen exactly who they were and from many different stages/walks of my life. There were people from my home church, my college church, from my new church in Seattle. I’m very much a product of their compassion and faithfulness.
- I was ecstatic for all of the ushers (who looked stunning, by the way) - good friends from the past few years. Suzi and I were psyched to have Mike Beckham officiate, as the director from the college ministry we had gotten plugged into at OU (http://oucru.com/). We were psyched to have Miles (http://mileswittboyer.blogspot.com/2012/08/tulsa-oklahoma-wedding-photography-suzi.html) as our photographer. We were psyched to have Ka and Meng do the drapery, Pang to figure out the details and roles of the ceremony, and Chue to emcee the reception. We were psyched to have Fred and Shoua do the music. We were blessed to have good weather and to have been able to do everything at Liberty Church, less than a mile from both of our houses
- I remember walking into the church for the first time on Thursday night and having absolutely no idea what it was going to look like. I walked into a giant gym with the basketball hoops still down and didn’t know what people meant when they talked about setting up the “drapery” and a “piping system.” I literally couldn’t picture it.
- We went back to Suzi’s that night and there was papaya salad. I had seconds. We folded a bunch of scrapbook paper to store the wedding favors - Suzi’s mom’s cookies that are known as far as California. Jonathan folded an octagon and so we did a handful of really nice ones for the bridal party. Suzi and I tried to finish the ceremony program, but we had some custom fonts, and it never occurred to me to save the file as a PDF
- Friday morning, Suzi and I rushed to get the programs printed. Something was wrong with Suzi’s dress, but we didn’t have time to take care of it. We needed to pick up some flowers, but they weren’t what had been promised to Suzi and she pretended like it was okay, but she almost cried when she saw them. We rushed back to the church and helped with the drapery. There was some standing around. There were some miscellaneous errands that needed to be run.
- At one point, Chris and Jonathan and I got cinder blocks from Lowe’s. Billy and I ran to Suzi’s house and stuffed his SUV full of flowers to take back to the church. At some other point, Suzi got a pedicure (and didn’t enjoy it). Her phone was dying. Suzi was mostly calm the whole night. A few of us helped Bas assemble a canopy, and everyone else sat in a room and twirled purple streamers for several hours. Lisa hated it. Hailey designed a banner with the text “I am my beloved’s and he is mine” that would be walked down the aisle during the ceremony by 2 boys.
- The rehearsal was supposed to start at 7, but it really didn’t start until 8. Fred flew in and Billy picked him up, and it was good to see him, since he had just moved to San Francisco for seminary. Cheezit drove in from Kansas, and a bunch of guys got in from Norman. Kaleb beat me in a race and I had to buy him a Snickers bar, but he thought I had promised him a new pair of sneakers. Napkins got folded. Fred and I drove to FedEx to pick up our programs, then we all sat in a big circle and compiled them. The drapery started coming together, and then everyone was putting on seat covers and setting up tables. People were telling me to leave, so I went home and slept
- Suzi got 4 hours of sleep. I got 7 or 8 hours of sleep, then tried to meet Mike Beckham at Chick-fil-a. We ordered from the lunch menu instead of the breakfast menu and it took way too long. I had to rush home and change into my suit in a frenzy, realizing that I had forgotten a solid white undershirt. I drove fast to get to the place we were taking pictures. I think I needed to be there by 11. I got there a few minutes late, and the other groomsmen poured in around 20 minutes later. Our appointment at the Tulsa Garden Center was supposed to start at 11:30, but I think the girls were running late and didn’t get in until 12:20 or so. Suzi and I had said that we would get to see each other that day, but our photographer Miles arranged it so that we didn’t get to see each other. Joey and Jonathan pushed me into a bathroom while the girls came in. I called Cheezit to see if he had any gum, and then I called my mom about plastic spoons.
- There had been a 40% chance of rain, which had been stressing Suzi out, and it was raining a little that morning. I had a few people say it would be good for the lighting in our pictures. Turns out that they were right! Rain wasn’t a problem at all, to Suzi’s relief.
- While we waited, we walked around the inside and took some pictures, since we looked pretty good. For the few days after the wedding, Suzi kept on going back to Miles’ blog and saying that all of us looked like models. There was a room full of books, and we pulled out all of the big ones and took pictures, posing like we were reading them. There was a giant book about birds, I think, and some other book called “The Weeds of Nebraska.” Jonathan pulled me aside a few times and told me to calm down, asking what he could do to make sure everything got done. Two older ladies complimented us on our ties as we waited in the lobby. The groomsmen and I sat in a big room while we waited for the girls to finish taking pictures. I remember talking about the Hunger Games, but don’t remember much else. I was happy to see all of them get along well, as almost none of them had met previously. After waiting, they made me take a bunch of pictures with Suzi with my eyes closed. Then the girls headed back to the church while the guys took pictures. Joey jumped over me and then licked my face. I drove back fast with Joey and we talked about my life and how everything had changed over the past few months.
- We got back to the church and there were a bunch of people already there (since we were starting in like 15 minutes). There was some running around as Billy didn’t have the ring. I saw some people I knew and was happy. I accidentally saw Suzi in her dress, but I looked away before I could process anything. I went out to the lobby where my sister was attending the guestbook and accidentally saw pictures of Suzi in her dress, but then looked again as soon as I registered. We were playing Hillsong Chapel (an acoustic CD Hillsong put together) as background music. The ushers looked super sharp and I talked to Vincent for a little bit of time. I paced in an empty hallway for a little bit of time and prayed. A lot of people asked if I was nervous and I just said that I was happy, certain, and confident. I was all of those things - I was glad that the day had finally come. Then we were going.
- I walked my mom down the aisle with my dad following. I remember Fred starting to play and the curtains opening for Suzi’s mom and Lou to go first. Then my mom and I started walking and it was like going down a runway. The center aisle was covered with rose petals. There were a ton of people taking pictures, but I don’t really remember any faces. I remember consciously trying to walk slowly, and smiling a lot, and whispering something to my mom about how we were walking. Then I went to a backroom, walked out again with Mike and the groomsmen, and watched the bridesmaids walk down the aisle. I looked around and saw that people were lining the walls in the back… and we had some 350 chairs already set out. Fred and Shoua were singing No One Loves Me Like You from Jars of Clay. I put my hand on my heart so that I could feel my heartbeat racing (that gesture also just makes me feel stiller).
- Fred switched to play Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman and there was a pause before Kaleb and Ezra came out with the banner Hailey had designed, reading “I am my beloved’s and he is mine”. I was confused because I thought it was supposed to be Aiden and Ezra. I guess I had no idea what was going on behind the curtains. Then Autumn and Aiden came out as the flower girl and ringbearer. Aiden must have been a little nervous, because he was pushing Autumn almost to the side of the aisle. Autumn tried to center them back. Keisha, another flower girl, didn’t walk. There were a ton of people. It was crazy. No way I could’ve done that as a child.
- Then Suzi walked down with her dad. I guess I smiled really big and thought of the symbolism of her dad handing her off to me and how beautiful Suzi looked. I was happy that everyone’s eyes were placed on Suzi and that everyone got to behold her beauty. I liked her dress.
- Mike started in prayer and then started. Suzi and I were facing him, positioned in a triangle. I remember him saying that I had a good job, but that shouldn’t factor into how much Suzi loves me. I actually don’t remember that much else. When we got to the vows, both Suzi and I had trouble repeating what Mike had said. Suzi put a ring on me and it was a little big. The first thing we did, instead of a unity candle, was a footwashing.
- Fred was playing “In Christ Alone” while Suzi was seated and I knelt to wash her feet. It made a lot more sense doing it with water than without, as we had done during the rehearsal. Washing Suzi’s feet made a lot of sense. I thought about washing her with water by the word, as that popular Ephesians 5 passage says.
- We had written each other letters and we read them to each other. I went second. I had structured my letter into 2 parts, explaining that I was so excited because of the man I was standing before her and because of the woman standing before me. Suzi didn’t cry. I didn’t cry. Apparently a lot of other people cried though. I think it was easy for us to be more joyous and relieved that all of this was finally happening.
- Our first kiss was unusually super awkward. It was so awkward. I hesitated because I almost didn’t know what to do. Kissing suddenly felt really weird. We had kissed before, but we hadn’t done it for nearly a year. After Mike told me to kiss my bride, we both paused and just stood there, then Suzi gave me a really quick peck. Just in case anyone’s wondering, we now kiss on a regular basis.
- We were pronounced man and wife and we stepped to the edge of the stairs. Fred and Shoua began playing Divine Romance, starting at the chorus, and we started walking back down the aisle as applause ensued. We stopped to hug our parents and I remember Suzi’s mom giving me a big hug and telling me to take care of her. I said I would. If I remember correctly, I told my mom that I loved her when I hugged her.
- We walked back into a waiting room and were ecstatic as the groomsmen/bridesmaids re-joined us. We hung out a little and then went back to the chapel to take family pictures with our photographer Miles. Miles then took us outside of the church and got a few more pictures of the bridal party, then took some pictures of just Suzi and me. I liked it, more or less. I’m not used to being the center of attention in pictures, so it’s nice to get a few.
- We went back inside the church to the reception, where people had been eating fruit and most people were seated. Unfortunately, when we walked in, I heard dubstep playing. My wedding playlist was incomplete - it only had like 5 or 6 songs, and so Spotify played a bunch of my other songs, which were unfortunately dubstep. I remember finding Vincent and telling him to get the music changed. Later, Cheezit and Jojo found a bunch of other songs to play, including One Direction.
- Suzi and I got seated on a platform at the front, behind our bridal party. Chue emceed, first letting Suzi and me say something, then Suzi’s dad, then my uncle Jimmy in place of my dad, then Suzi’s uncle from Illinois. Then toasts from Kaley and Billy! Kaley mentioned how we had first met and how she said that she would drop kick me if I broke Suzi’s heart. She said she no longer held those feelings, though I had a handful of people come up afterwards and say that they would, indeed, dropkick me. Billy told us three things in his toast - (1) to stay in community, (2) to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and minds and souls, and (3) that conflict wasn’t always a bad thing. He said he valued me for prioritizing people over work - that he called me one time at Amazon and I took the call, saying that he was more important than my work (I hope I still give that impression to Suzi!). (He also said clarified that he didn’t mean everyone should call me while I’m at work.) Then we were eating. But we didn’t really eat that much. People started coming up and there was an endless stream of photo-taking. It was pretty crazy.
- Suzi and I went back to the Tulsa Garden Center with Miles to grab a few more pictures before the sunset. There was good natural lighting.
- We eventually left and I drove Suzi to her place to get ready. I went back home to drop off the Camry and pick up the other car, but the other car wasn’t there. There were some kind of complications. Chris and Lisa were there, loading a bunch of books into the trunk of the Camry, then going back to haul cinder blocks back to my house for my mom. Suzi and I ended back at the church to get Suzi’s chapel. We ended up staying for a while and socializing a little. Then we ended up at the Campbell Hotel for the next few days.
- We didn’t quite stay at the hotel though. The next morning, we drove back near our houses to have Jimmy’s Egg for breakfast. Strangely, Ruth and Matt and some of their friends were also there. Then we hung out with some of Suzi’s family as the kids swam. We ended up back at Suzi’s house and Autumn gave me her dessert drink. We had Oklahoma Joe’s barbecue for lunch and it was really good. I played some card games with her cousins and then Suzi and I had a formal goodbye from her parents. They gave us advice and there were a bunch of tears. There’s nothing like watching your wife’s parents really “give” her to you and entrust her to your care, to acknowledge that after 22 years of watching after your daughter, you were trusting some guy to love her as you love her.
- We ran a bunch of random errands, like returning some rental chairs and tablecloths. We returned some things and packed and took naps. We went to the Tulsa Aquarium (as Suzi had never been and it was somewhat of a goodbye to Tulsa) and played a video game that allowed us to feed the sharks (well, the video game sharks). And we fed shrimp to manta rays.
- The day we left for Seattle was pretty stressful, and I accidentally thought our flight was an hour earlier than it really was. We got stopped at security for Suzi’s unopened Hello Kitty ice cream maker. We went from TUL to DEN and ate at a place called “It’s a Wrap! It’s a bowl!” Then we were in Seattle, getting picked up by my pastor and his wife, Matt and Lauren. We grabbed some Chipotle and went back to eat at their place, where Jimmy and Lois and Tiffany were. Then we got a ride to Chris’s house, where we drove his car back home to Redmond (also, getting lost in the process :/).