Wedding Weekend Update (only 2 1/2 weeks late!)

Well, I promised pictures, didn’t I? Yes, I did. And then I put them on Facebook, where most if not all of you are friends with me. But just in case, or for posterity, here are a few:

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Photo by Papa, who said he almost fell backwards taking the picture, instead of Nana, who is more willing to use the camera but has been very “into” headless photography lately.

These are pictures we took at Nana & Papa’s house before we left for the Meetinghouse.  In my parents’ wedding photo album, there are some pictures I’ve always thought were sweet of my mother helping my grandparents get dressed. So I tried to recreate that:

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On goes THE HORN.

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Papa thinks I’m a dork. He’s right, you know.

The rest of the photos we have, and that I have posted, were ones that were on our camera. They were okay, but then my new brother-in-law sent us a thumb drive full of gorgeous photographs.  So, the rest of these were taken by Super Steve, and posted live for the first time! Lucky you, blog readers 😉

The ceremony itself was very quiet, peaceful, very special. When we first started talking about getting married, we knew we wanted something very…I guess “small” is the word most people would use, but that word doesn’t get to the point for me. Come to think of it, that phrase– “to the point”, is more like it.  Simple, in the Testimony of Simplicity sense. We wanted to pare down most of the party planning, which is not really our thing, and really focus on beginning (or really, in our hearts & minds, continuing) our marriage. The rest seemed superfluous.

Still, we didn’t feel right just making things official with paperwork only. We wanted to be married in a place that we considered our spiritual home, in the presence of God there (although I do believe that God travels well, and can be/is invited everywhere), and also in the presence of my deceased parents via “spiritual satellite” (candles).

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Our F/friends decorated the Meetinghouse with fresh seasonal flowers from their land. (Did you catch that Quaker typing joke? The religion is the Religious Society of Friends, but when they are also friends in the conventional sense, you can type that capital F slash lowercase f.)  We sat in “our special bench”. When I was first reading about Quakerism, I read that “When you first arrive at a Meeting, you will be welcomed, and then most likely shown to a back bench”. I think traditionally, the “Weighty Friends” (elders) occupy the front benches, although it’s not a rule or anything, and I’m sure it doesn’t happen everywhere. It doesn’t even really happen at the Mohawk Valley Friends Meeting all the time, but when we showed up to our first Meeting, that is exactly what happened. We were warmly greeted, and there was that 2-seater loveseat pressed up against the back window, our suggested seating.  Almost every Meeting we’ve attended since, we’ve sat there. It felt so…good to sit in the seat we’d been sitting in for years now, deeping our connection with God and between ourselves–to sit in those very seats at our wedding was very special.  A little thing but a big thing, you know?

Although we attend Quaker Meeting, we aren’t (yet) members, so we asked our favorite local Unitarian Universalist minister Tim Behrendt to officiate. (Unprogrammed Quaker Meetings don’t have ministers, so they don’t legally need a licensed officiant to sign the marriage license. But we did.)  He and his wife Peg have a wonderful nature preserve in northern Herkimer county called Shawangunk Nature Preserve; they hold Saturday morning workshops on a number of topics, a list of which you can check out on that webpage. You can also go there to hike, and they have bicycles and a meditation room for use while you’re there. (They prefer you to call ahead for a visit.)  They were very kind and accomodating, and even provided the music for the ceremony! Peg played harp and viola, and Tim played guitar, xylophone, and I think harmonica. It was a perfect blending of my spiritual journey thus far: our Catholic parents, a UU minister (For six years I attended the church where Tim was minister for thirty years), and our Quaker elders at the Meetinghouse we currently attend.

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Even (especially!) spiritual elders get the giggles. At left is “our bench”, then Tim, Peg, David, me, and Meeting members Buffy and Liseli.

So we said our out-loud prayers, and had a space for silent worship, exchanged rings (although we have been wearing them for months–another reflection of our belief that this was not really the beginning but a continuance of our committed relationship), and grounded with cake. (Slip in some Pagan worship lingo for good measure, another part of my journey that continues to inform my current spirituality.)

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The rest of the weekend we had meals together and went Central New York sightseeing with David’s family. We took them to the Erie Canal, our big fancy train station (modeled after Grand Central), and the places where David works. They took pictures of him in front of the signs.  Then they dropped me off to help Nana set up for what she called “brunch” (which consisted of lunch/dinner food served at 5pm) while they went to Fort Stanwix. The wind was out of control the whole day, so I have a few funny pictures of David’s mom pulling her jacket hood tightly around her face, and Steve took many, many photographs of flags blowing. On Monday, we picked up a box of Italian pastries from the Florentine and ate them all before they got on the plane and went back to Oregon. (David’s brother Doug had already left to go back to his home in Florida.)

The Bales’ at Sunday Brunch #1. L-R: Steve, Mom, Dad, Doug, Dave

For our “honeymoon”, David took the day off & we ran errands. We bought avocados 3 for $1.50 and saw a tiny little mouse in my allergist’s parking lot.  It was lovely.

Ah, back to the sacred mundane.

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