As the wedding date approached, everyone kept asking us if we were nervous. Dom developed a pat answer: No, impatient.
I felt the same way. Well maybe not so impatient. But eager to have the day arrive.
We were so laid-back during the whole planning process. I guess I can see how it can become a huge stress. But we just didn’t let it.
Keep everything simple was our motto. The main focus was on the ceremony, the sacrament, getting that right. And the nice thing about a Catholic mass is it has plenty of ceremony built in. If you don’t try to tinker with it, it works just fine. Fr. Murphy gave us a helpful little workbook that guided us through choosing prayers and readings. We agreed almost perfectly on these: we always opted for the ones that reflected most clearly the mystical meaning of the sacrament. The traditional ones that many people skip cause they don’t get them. Like the passage from Tobit when he and Sarah kneel and pray on their wedding night before going to bed. Like Ephesians 5 when Paul talks about marriage as an image of the great mystery of Christ’s union with his Church. I picked Psalm 128 because I loved the image of children around the table like shoots of the olive plant. We chose to have the major mass prayers sung in Latin: Agnus Dei, Sanctus, Ave Maria and the Greek Kyrie, of course.
I asked Alice to sing her Ave Maria after I heard her rehearsing it one afternoon while waiting for stations of the cross to begin. It is a lovely original composition that she later told us was written in Immaculate Conception Church and dedicated to Fr. Murphy. The other music was simple and traditional: Ubi Caritas for the offeratory, Pange Lingua for the communion hymn.
We chose to process together behind the cross as the ministers of the sacrament.
We didn’t decorate the church, it’s beautiful enough on its own. For music we just had the organ, a violin and Tracy as cantor with Alice as soloist.
We stood and knelt in front of the altar during the ceremony except when we made a dedication to Mary after communion. We made our vows. What can I say? Christ was present for us in two sacraments that day. What amazing blessings we had.
After we said our vows I looked out at the congregation filled with friends and family, all of them radiantly happy for me. How wonderful to have them there to celebrate!
And then after we took a few pictures in the garden beside the statue of Mary, the party continued at the Polish club.
Again, simplicity was the word. We had Mizioch, the local caterer who does many functions for IC and who did Pete and Evy’s wedding, do a simple Italian buffet. We let our guests seat themselves where they wished. Loi did the flowers and put the strawberries on the cake (evidently skipping the ceremony to do so, what a hero!) No DJ, just Dom’s iPod loaded with our favorite classic music—Uncle Phil and Aunt Eileen loved the selection, they really stole the show on the dance floor. James just sighed and said: my parents are crazy when they get on the dance floor.
We didn’t respond the first time people tapped their glasses with their spoons and they didn’t do it again—avoiding that annoying tradition was simple. We didn’t go a bouquet toss or a garter, icky customs. And we only allowed one song I didn’t especially like—per special request of Dom’s mother we played “We Are Family”. So many wedding get overtaken by the dj and I had the horrors of the macarena, the chicken dance and the electric slide sneaking in even if I banned them.
We did do a traditional first dance, which I could have skipped but Dom wanted. A little glitch there the ipod first refused to play nicely with the speakers so we didn’t dance to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World. Instead we danced first to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” an acceptable substitute, especially as I did later get to dance to the original selection once they resolved the sound system problems. I didn’t dance with my dad, however as that is neither his style nor mine. Good thing too cause his shoes were too small (after he lectured my brothers on trying everything on before the wedding, he didn’t give his own a run I guess.)
We cut the cake, sorta, and fed each other strawberries from the bottom layer.
I danced with the little kids, I talked to people. I ate much more than my new husband who couldn’t manage the food somehow. (Fortunately we took home lots of leftovers so he did get a good sampling.)