We've lived in the same city and attended the same church long enough that we have had the opportunity to watch boys and girls just entering their teens grow into men and women. James, the groom in the wedding we recently attended, has matured before our very eyes over the past decade so witnessing his marriage to Sarah brought special joy.
I was trying to be unobtrusive as I took pictures from the second row right over the shoulders of James' parents and grandparents. All I could think about was how large and loud my DSL camera seemed. However, after I took the first couple of shots, James' mother leaned back and whispered, "Oh, do take a bunch!" I was happy to comply. I love weddings!
The large words behind Sarah weren't part of the decorations for the wedding. Instead, they were part of the church's decor. However, having been a wife for 32 years, I sat through the ceremony thinking how perfect the words "follow" and "love" were to describe Sarah's best hope for being a wife who truly blesses James. If Sarah will follow James' lead and love him through both joy and sorrow, the Bible promises an life-long union. This friendship is so intimate that God's word says the two become one.
Sarah and James sealed their vows with shared prayer. The backdrop which the two chose for their ceremony was a cross. The pastor's message and their covenant promises made it clear that this union is anchored in a keen awareness that Christ's willingness to die on the cross to take on the sins of humanity is the kind of selflessness they will need to emulate in their marriage. Pastor Dave reminded them that they will need God's enabling grace to live for the other rather than self if they are to go the distance.
After such solemn words...came the kiss!
Followed by Pastor's announcement that the pair was from this point forward a
"Mr. and Mrs."
If I were to title this photo, I'd call it, "Stepping into Life as One."
I followed the couple up the aisle and got this photo just as James and Sarah exited the sanctuary.
Before we left the church, Tina (left) and Kirsten asked to me to take a photo of them together. I thank God for the friendships that exist between our children!
I was also asked by our daughter Zhenya (right) to capture a photo of her with friend Kaylee. Zhenya played her cello and Kaylee her violin for the ceremony. Again, these two have grown up like cousins as part of the same church family for as long as either of them can remember.
Before we loaded up in the cars to make our way to the reception, Zhenya asked John to watch her cello. Zhenya, home for her first time since she married last September, seemed to forget that her brother was stranded until she returned to fetch her large instrument. John eventually did locate his very social sister but had to get creative with his cellphone to do so. As mom to both of them I enjoyed the way this mini comedy play itself out. And the photo opp was a great one due to the heavy skies that day.
Sarah's bouquet was lovely with its multiple shades of purple roses...
...but even more beautiful was the bride and groom's joy in one another!
During the toasts made by the maid-of-honor and best man, the two often exchanged knowing looks over shared history.
James' mom and dad also enjoyed the humor shared during the toasts.
As dinner finished, James and Sarah made their way from table to table to thank their guests. Those greeted often asked that a picture be taken of them with the newlyweds. Cellphones have revolutionized every aspect of our culture!
Meanwhile, as is so common at receptions that include a dance, the little girls in attendance made good use of the background music as they awaited the bride and groom's first dance.
I love how the whole crowd seems to just disappear as the bride and groom take to the floor for their first dance as husband and wife.
The story was no different for Sarah and James.
The 300 of us watching simply became invisible to them
as they stared lovingly into one another's eyes.
I do so love attending weddings! Each one is token of the rare, multifaceted jewel that married love is. Each wedding seems to remind me of the importance of investing in my marriage to keep our friendship strong enough to prevent being pulled apart by the crazy busy that each week inevitably brings. I'm glad Sarah and James plan to continue living in our community, at least for now. It will be a delight to watch their bond grow even more beautiful. To God be the glory!