So there I was, at the altar holding Matt’s hand before God and our families. It was really about to happen. Father started mass with a greeting and the sign of the cross– everything was normal and yet wildly new. The mass proceeded as usual, the only difference was Matt and I were on display. As our wedding coordinator told us: what you do the guest will do. So we grinned like fools in love (which we are) and payed strict attention to the mass around us.
Finally it was time for the homily. I braced myself, knowing that some priests liked to pick on the couple or make the focus of the ceremony about the couple. I had nothing to worry about. Fr. Jerry knew us well and knew that God was the center of all things. After his short, powerful words, he called us to the front of the altar to exchange vows.
There were three questions we had to answer first. Question one came and I gave a resounding yes while Matt’s was less exuberant. I whispered to him “I said it louder”. He recognized the challenge for what it was and the next question was answered with a forceful yes from the two of us.
I grinned from ear to ear. Thinking to myself the next yes will be a roar and we will frighten our guests! Luckily we both had the same thought and kept it only barely short of a shout. Father Jerry then asked our guest questions (you know, objections and all that). He turned back to us and asked Matt to repeat after him.
As Matt repeated that he would love and honor me as his wife, that he would remain faithful to me, that he would be my constant companion, my eyes teared up. Not from nerves, sorrow, anxiety. No, my eyes teared up as my smile grew too wide for my face and the only way left to express myself was through tears of joy.
Next it was my turn. I repeated after Father Jerry with more confidence than I had ever felt before. Joining my life to Matt’s was the easiest decision I had made in my life. After we declared our vows, it was time to exchange rings.
My two ring bearers, Caine (my youngest brother) and Coen (my oldest nephew) came forward bearing the pillows which held our rings. Mitch pulled them off. Then the funniest moment occurred. Coen waited expectantly at Mitch’s feet. Mitch’s eyes got really big and he glanced up before asking Coen what was wrong. I held my breath waiting for disaster to strike. Coen wanted to know why Mitch hadn’t taken the two silver plastic rings off the pillow (didn’t we need those too?). Mitch told him it was okay and Caine grabbed his hand; almost dragging him back to the pew.
Father Jerry blessed the rings and then Matt picked up mine. He held my left hand as he explained how the ring represents a token of his love and devotion; his commitment to me. He sealed this promise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I did the same for him next. And that was it. We were married!
For a second I was in a haze, not entirely sure if the sacrament of marriage was over. Then I grinned, looking something like Doopey from Snow White. We pranced back to our seats on the altar and prepared for the sacrament of Eucharist. The rest of the mass breezed by. At some point I noticed it had stopped snowing. The music was just as I had imagine; several songs made several people cry several times. And suddenly we were walking out of the church and into the sacristy to sign the wedding papers. In the eyes of the Church and State, we were officially married.