So, How Was the Wedding?
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
It could not have been a more glorious celebration!
God smiled on this young couple, so full of joy and love. Surrounded by friends and family who care deeply for them. And, as they say, “a good time was had by all….”
My heart was full. My plate was full (both figuratively and literally). I had no time to take pictures (Imagine — how could that comment be from a Secrest!) and I missed having conversations with every guest (even though I wanted to do so). Some of what happened, or didn’t, is a complete blur or was off my radar screen entirely.
But honey, I savored the MOMENTS.
I was Fully Present. I soaked it in and lapped it up. I was (mostly) calm, cool and collected. Seriously. Ask my sisters/best friends — that was a miracle.
If you were at the ceremony in our 18th century church meetinghouse, I did not see you because I never took my eyes off the glowing, serene, and Joyous Bride and Groom! (notable exceptions: I did watch the incredible quartet of NYC actor/singers/friends who sang the groom’s original arrangement for his bride of “How Great Thou Art” and the melodic duet of “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” sung and played by talented Nashville singer/guitarist/friends. And, oh yeah, I did glance at the beautiful maid of honor who is our next bride in a few months, and breathed deeply with gratitude as a son clearly read scripture — while I thanked God for every day of his life learning how to read. And prayed that the pastor/daddy would be able to handle both roles as he offered God’s H.O.P.E. to all so clearly — Honor, Others, Persevere, Encourage)
It is now my firm belief that everyone should have their reception at a colonial barn and gardens (and our family plans to do it again next spring). Simply put, it was Magical.
Maggie’s vintage/rustic creative vision and our volunteers’ execution transformed that lovely place into a quaint, lanterned, twinkly, musical funhouse enjoyed by all generations. The dancing alone was like watching/being in a Broadway show! Photobooth captured our whimsy in boas, lobsters, crazy hats and glasses; the Shoe Game was a hit as the mob and mog asked funny questions of the couple; and the first dances… well, let’s just say that Maggie dancing with her handsome daddy to Natalie Cole’s duet with her late father Nat King Cole of “Unforgettable” was for me….unforgettable!
Yes, our guests from far and wide (Maggie displayed our antique globe with pins in each of the 18 states and 3 countries of the attendees) all mixed and mingled and discovered that it is truly “a small world, after all.” The gracious and supportive bridesmaids/groomsmen helped the sendoff by giving everyone long sparklers and we made an arc as the happy couple ran underneath on the way to their future. I can’t wait to see those wedding photos. Have I already said it was ‘magical’?
And that was just the wedding day. The weekend began with about 35 early guests at our little “Sunnyside” cottage for a dinner/open house meet and greet. (we actually had more relatives this weekend than at our own wedding back in 1984) The next day, the Bridal Tea hosted by 6 aunts (and a dearly missed grandmother unable to make the trip at the last minute) was gracious and beautiful and sumptuously prepared by friends/owners of “Mainly Tea” parlour where the bride worked through high school — ending with aunties praying a blessing over her. (During this time all the young guys/groom were playing Whirly Ball and getting stuck in traffic, almost missing the rehearsal…).
The rehearsal dinner, graciously hosted by the Stallings was as big and steak-a-licious as a Texas groom could do in New England. As the mog encouraged everyone to keep close friendships through the years (exemplified by her high school, college and current friends here from TX and LA) we all felt absolutely surrounded by Love and the memory of Tom, father of the groom. Then my smart and talented son-in-law Stephen (a.k.a. “soup boy”) gave a toast I will never forget as he recounted God bringing Maggie into his life and the spontaneous lightshow in Brussels, Belgium that mysteriously erupted the very moment he told her “I Love You” for the first time….tears flowed everywhere that night, I assure you.
As I write this, the young couple is on their honeymoon and will soon settle into their new husband-and-wife lives in New York City – he as an advertising music producer, she as a musical theatre actress, currently performing in an off-Broadway show. Mike and I continue on with our work and our lives too — savoring such special times with family and friends and offering up so much gratitude to God, the Giver of all good gifts.
You see, I honestly believe that all our prayers were answered. Not that this was a “perfect” wedding or that there were no glitches. But, you see, Mike and I spent this past summer walking and praying for 5 very specific things to “happen” during the wedding weekend (and none of them was related to good weather – that was just a bonus!). Though I won’t share those here as they were very personal, I will tell you that we prayed that love and grace and acceptance and joy and fun and gratitude and glory would shine forth in every situation. We prayed other things that had to do with our own behavior and God’s provisions for all the needs involved. And we prayed by name for every single person on our guest list and every vendor involved in any way. And I would do it again in a heartbeat (and will) for I truly believe in “praying through” every important aspect of life.
This is a very personal blog and I’m quite sure if you are still reading thus far, you are tired of hearing about my family’s wedding of our youngest child. But I hope you will receive these thoughts in the spirit in which I share them. The current wedding industry says that you have to have lots of money and glitz and designer gowns and all kinds of expensive touches in order to launch children into their marriage. Honey, that’s simply not true. Our “favors” were a card that said we donated money instead to International Justice Mission to rescue people from human trafficking (tho they were beautifully crafted by a friend). Our delicious wedding cake (top was gluten free/dairy free/egg free for the groom) was made by a high school teacher I subbed for, our gorgeous autumn wildflowers and bouquets/arrangements were done by a talented lady in our church, Maggie designed/printed all the invitations/programs, our caterer was a favorite restaurateur across from the church, Maggie “won” the deejay services at a bridal fair, each bridesmaid found her own dress to match a color swatch Maggie sent them, our youth pastor’s wife did all the girls’ makeup and hair, and many friends and family contributed in great and small ways. It literally “took a village” to get these kids hitched!
The Wedding Verse was I John 4.11-12 (which I will forever more hear in Justin’s voice) “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Truly, that’s what it’s all about, really.
under the mercy, Cindy
©2012 Lucinda Secrest McDowell