Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Listicle: Ten things about our wedding

This week's Monday Listicle is 10 things about weddings. We got married at the young ages of 25 and 27, and I loved our wedding. However, if we were to get married now, I would do some things differently.

Five things that would remain the same

1. Simple and homemade
Even though we didn't have a lot of money, we felt strongly about paying for our own wedding. We were adults and had been on our own for several years. Mike had some money saved back from Japan, and I was still paying off college loans. My college roommate's mom did all the food for us at cost, we had friends and family be our musicians and DJ, we were able to get a wedding video at a bargain rate (because he was British and knew we didn't have much money), and we made as much as we could (dresses, favors, programs, etc.). I went for a less traditional (and less expensive) wedding dress and hat, which better fit my personality than the full train and veil. We bought our wedding rings in Cannon Beach--they are simple gold bands, $200 each, and we still have them to this day. (I didn't want a diamond because of apartheid in South Africa, where most diamonds were from at that time.)

2. Family 
All of our siblings were in the wedding party. At the time, I hardly knew Mike's siblings at all, but I'm glad they were part of our wedding. The only person missing was our wonderful sister-in-law Shemara, whom we didn't meet until many years later. Family is forever, and friendships can change. Sadly, Mike's dad died only a couple of years later, and I'm so glad we have his wonderful Scottish brogue captured on the wedding video.

3. Music, poetry, and ritual
My handsome groom
Mike wrote a poem for the bulletin cover. I wrote a song, "Walk With Me in Love," and we also had "Sunrise, Sunset" sung. (Mike's dad was initially shocked that we would have a nonreligious song like that sung at our wedding, but he wiped away tears throughout the song, as recorded on the video.) The prelude was a triumphant processional written by a PLU music professor, which many alums use for their weddings. We gave a rose to each parent, and we drank from a marriage cup in addition to lighting a unity candle.

4. Personal and heartfelt
We've all been to impersonal weddings where the minister or justice of the peace does not know the couple marrying them. Those weddings are not usually very personal or memorable. We had intended to be married by our Catholic priest and Lutheran pastor (since we attend a Catholic-Lutheran church), but the Lutheran pastor didn't think he would be able to make it. We had pre-marriage counseling with the Catholic priest, a Franciscan, and he did the honors at our wedding. I still remember his inspiring message, even though he had us do some unusual things such as welcome everyone to the wedding and sit down in chairs during his homily. To this day, Father Matt remains a very special person in our lives and marriage.

5. I'd marry the same man!
Of course! I still wonder occasionally how I found myself so blessed to find a life partner who is kind, wise, funny, musical, romantic, handsome, poetic, loves the same things I do, shares my values and beliefs, and most important--loves ME! It's been 22 years, 3 months, and 2 days, and I love him even more than I did at age 25.

Five things that would be different now

With my family
1. I'd have us each walk down the aisle with our parents
Being a young feminist, I chafed against many of the traditional marriage rituals. I couldn't bear the thought of being "given away" by my father, while Mike would walk in and stand independently at the altar with the groomsmen. Instead, we walked in together, representing our shared commitment and independence.

I've always felt a little guilty about this, though, because I was first to get married in my family. If I did it all over again, I would have us each walk in escorted by our parents.

With Mike's family
2. Still nontraditional
Weddings are just about the most traditional rituals around, and I am an individualist, not bound by tradition. I'd still forego the diamond (but perhaps choose a different stone), go for a less traditional dress, write our own vows, have lots of music, and have a female ring bearer (we had two girls [my cousins] instead of a flower girl and male ring bearer]). Needless to say, I did not address the wedding invitations as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, as the etiquette books tell you to do. When we got married, I kept my name. After we'd been married nearly 13 years, Mike announced that he wanted us to hyphenate. We had to go to court to legally hyphenate our names, and even had to pay to get a hyphen added to Chris' name! (He had both of our names without the hyphen.)

With the ring bearer and flower girl
(my cousins Elena and Annie,
who I took care of during college)
3. Larger and slightly different group of people
We got married after returning from three years in Japan. Mike knew very few people in the U.S., as he'd only been here for five months. Now we have a vastly larger community of friends...both together and separately. Many of our wedding guests were old family friends or my friends from college and high school. Over the years, friendships change as we ourselves change. Many of my closest friends now are people I have met in the past 10 to 15 years. One of my close high school friends, and my freshman roommate at PLU, was at our wedding with her much-older husband and three little boys (she, too, was only 25!). That was the last time I saw her, as she didn't stay in touch. I often wonder what ever happened to her!

Fortunately, we had two people come from Japan from our wedding...Seiji (one of Mike's groomsmen and one of his students) and Kazue, his friend from Oxford days (and his inspiration for going to Japan). Sadly, we have also lost touch with Seiji, who returned to Japan to become a salaryman (Japanese businessman).

In addition, many older family members and friends who attended our wedding have died (including Mike's dad and my grandma and many aunts and uncles). Watching our wedding video recently, we were stunned to notice this.

Wedding party
4. Different music!
I'd still want the Gipsy Kings. I'd also still want our first dance to be "It's a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and the dance with the parents to be "That's Amore," but we'd forego Madonna (the long version of "Get Into the Groove" that went on and on) and especially the song, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," which was my brother's favorite song at the time. He was our DJ, and although we gave him a list of our favorite songs, that song was NOT on it--and got played at least twice! Even though we did like Simply Red, that song is not the most romantic!

We've all got our
Own funny moods
I've got mine,
Woman you've got yours too
Just trust in me like I trust in you
As long as we've been together
It should be so easy to do
Just get yourself together
Or we might as well say goodbye
What good is a love affair
When you can't see eye to eye

If you don't know me by now
You will never
Never never know me
See what I mean??

Bridal Veil Lodge
5. A more exotic, faraway honeymoon
Our plan was to go to Spain and Portugal for our honeymoon--we even had the airplane tickets in hand! However, what we didn't realize was that Mike was unable to leave the country for several months because of immigration. We had to forfeit our plane tickets (no refund!) and we never made it to Spain and Portugal! Instead we spent a few days in the Columbia Gorge at the Bridal Veil Lodge and played tourist in the gorge--going on the Sternwheeler, dining at the Multnomah Falls Lodge, taking hikes. We had a lovely time, but I would have loved to have a European honeymoon. Perhaps for a milestone anniversary?

So young!!
I'd marry him all over again in a hot second
Thanks to Monday Listicles (organized by Stasha at for jogging my memories. Check out some more! 


  1. Oh sounds wonderful! Such a bummer that you couldn't get a refund for your tix to Europe, ouch! You definitely need to go for a milestone (or not) anniversary. Maybe 23rd?
    Never been married, on one of my fav weddings was on a warm summer night cruising on a boat in Lake Washington. The captain married the couple and we danced under the setting sun.Another cook wedding was at Kiana Lodge on Agate Pass near Poulsbo. It was a Quaker style wedding and we all sat in a circle around the bride and groom, and guests were invited to speak. Me, still wistfully hope for a wedding some day, but the odds aren't great. I always wanted a great honeymoon and fun dress!

  2. That sounds wonderful, Jill!

    You never know--by the time you get married, you will know exactly what you want!

  3. What a nice list! The music sure needs to change, that's for sure (mine was 18 years ago!)

  4. Isn't it funny after all this time, there are still things we would change about our day? For me it's the dress, size of my bouquet, and cake.
    I love how you mentioned having an officiant who knows the couple. We were married by a Catholic Brother whom my now husband has known most of his life. It did make a difference, and seemed so much more personal. He has since baptized our two daughters at the same church and we intend to have him do the same with baby #3.

  5. The bouquets nowadays look so much more glamourous--as do the dresses...however, in 22 years, we'll look back and think today's dresses look strange!

  6. I love that you'd marry him all over again in a "hot second". So great!

  7. Love your wedding photos and how non traditional some of the parts were. I think every wedding is also influenced by who we are and what society is like at the time, looking back we might want to do it differently but always remember at the time it seemed the only right thing to do.
    I wish I could have danced my first dance with my grandpa.

  8. Thank you Stasha! That would have been so sweet to dance with your grandpa. Unfortunately, none of my grandparents were alive when I got married. My grandma was there with her husband (she remarried after my grandpa died, and I loved Greeley!), but sadly, a year later she started losing her memory. I will never forget one day when she said "Why didn't you invite me to your wedding?" and I reminded her that she was there.