People have asked us for a long time what we were going to do for a honeymoon. In July, we agreed a good honeymoon would be going home and turning off the phone and not leaving for a month. By August we knew we’d never get away with a month, so we switched to two weeks. By September it was one. After Grandma Lila fell and we realized she was going to be coming home even sooner than previously anticipating, we started saying, “We’re hoping to get Tuesday off.”
Today is Tuesday, which means today is officially our honeymoon. I can’t possibly imagine having gone anywhere interesting to spend the day. It’s been pretty much a day of naps between sleep. Somewhere around 3:00 we figured we’d better eat something, so we poked around in all the bags of groceries (one of our wedding presents!) and made some Malt-o-Meal (Ben’s new favorite food discovery) before going back to sleep. I knew we were tired, but I didn’t realize how much the past few weeks had taken out of us. I kind of hope we can still rest the next few days because I think it’s going to take that long before we stop doing artistic impressions of bumps on a log.
Yesterday was the best wedding day ever. I’m going to preface my description by saying that whoever came up with the tradition of not having the bride and groom see each other until the bride walks down the aisle was nuts. Out of all the traditions we ended up ignoring yesterday, losing this one gave us the most joy.
It started with decorating the hall in the morning. Ben and I had carefully planned some details of the day, but there were others we’d been a little foggy about when it had come to specifics. On Sunday, as our rehearsal celebration was winding down (that was quite an evening too, involving Ben’s friends Paul and Jason and about every musical instrument in our house), we had a family discussion about how the next day should go. I was planning to get up early and head over to St. Clair Shores to pick up my bouquet (the only flowers at the event), then come back this way to help Elizabeth, Mom, Aunt Peggy, and my other siblings put out favors, ice cream handbills, and candle centerpieces at the hall at 9:00. As Ben was leaving, he said, “You know, we’re going to be seeing each other before the wedding anyway. I’d rather be here with you than get ready at home, so I’ll bring all my stuff and meet you at the hall at 9:00 and we can get ready together.”
Leah and Benjamin ended up deciding to get the bouquet, so my day started with bringing down the laundry, taking a shower, and going over to the hall. Ben came in just as we were finishing up (he ended up going out to breakfast with his mom and sisters). He looked at me with that big smile of his and said, “Lauren, how about getting married today?”
“Sure,” I said. “What time?”
“Seven sound good?” he said.
After finishing at the hall, we ran little errands together. We took pew bows over to the church and gave them final payment, we stopped at the bank, we took the rest of my clothes over to the new house, ate a nice big breakfast with my family, and leisurely got ready more or less together. We didn’t get dressed together, but I kept him company while he was brushing his teeth and combing his hair and he kept me company while I was doing my hair. There’s a photo Benjamin took that I’ve never seen in anyone else’s photo album: I’m doing my hair in our little green bathroom by the kitchen and Ben’s sitting on the counter watching me and talking with Elizabeth, who’s doing her hair too.
Apparently, it’s common for brides and grooms who see each other before the wedding to take something called “reveal” pictures, where the bride is revealed all dressed up to the groom for the first time. We didn’t want that moment to be a big photo op, though, so after I got dressed I sent everyone else out and called down to ask Ben if he wanted to come up. He said he did, so he came up the stairs to the sewing room. To those who know Ben and how he plays chess, he gave me his very best “I just lost my queen” look. It was the only time he teared up all day. I cried like a baby after the ceremony, but Ben just got a little teary right then.
And then we had to hustle because we were running late for pictures.
The interesting thing about taking pictures outside yesterday was that it was FREEZING. Thankfully, the rain held off and it wasn’t windy, but there was a bone-chilling moment when Sunshine our photographer (4-11 Productions, if anyone’s interested!) said, “Okay, everyone, time to take the coats off.”
Ben and I were standing there as our family was shuffled around us to get different series of pictures and Ben said out of the corner of his mouth, “Lauren…I hate to tell you this, but I think I’m getting cold feet.” Then he looked at me and said. “Nice necklace. Looks like an ice cube.”
If you see me laughing in any of the park photos, it’s probably because of a remark like that. My mouth got really cold while I was smiling until I couldn’t feel it anymore and my toes were literally blue by the time we got in the car. But we got some really pretty photos, I think, and Sunshine was great about rotating everyone in and out of pictures and getting everyone promptly bundled back into warm cars. We’d expected it would take about half an hour for family photos and another half hour for single portrait pictures of Ben and I and we got done twelve minutes ahead of schedule.
After that we went out to visit Grandma Lila so we could have photos taken with her before we went to the church. It was kind of a strange experience walking through an assisted living home dressed as we were. A lot of people just stared at us in a sort of stupefied way. They were probably thinking, “What on earth did they put in my coffee this morning?”
By the time we left for the church, it became clear we were going to have plenty of time to arrive an hour before the ceremony started. We had left plenty of cushion time in our budget just in case (hey, the first rule of planning an event is never plan anything for the last minute…and leave lots of last minutes) and we weren’t using any of it. Ben said, “Does this mean we’re going to have to sit around in a back room for a whole hour?”
“You could greet people at the door,” I suggested. “I mean, it’s not normal for me to be out there but you could.”
“I’m not spending all day with you and then leaving you in a back room while I greet people,” Ben said firmly. “It’s not good for a man to be alone, remember?”
“True,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “Let’s greet people together.”
My first instinct was to say, “that’s just not done” but then I stopped and thought about it. The reason it’s not done is because it’s considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Out of all the traditions we were ignoring…what allegiance exactly did I hold to this one? And we’d always been a little concerned with how we were going to make sure to say hello to as many of our guests as possible considering we were going to take photos with our grandparents instead of doing a receiving line. Furthermore, the problem with receiving lines is that they involve everyone trying to exit the church at once, saying hello to the whole bridal party along the way. If we greeted everyone coming in, we realized, we would say hello as people came in at staggered intervals and we would avoid the bottleneck on the way out, allowing everyone to go over to the reception and enjoy dessert…and get home early if they wanted to.
So we stopped off in the back room for a few moments to make a quick repair to my sleeve, feed Ben a sandwich (I wasn’t hungry), and say hello to our family as they were arriving. Then we went out and stood by the doors to sanctuary and said hello to nearly every one of our guests. It was a spontaneous decision I would’ve never thought to make, but I think in some ways it was one of the best parts of the wedding. We didn’t have time to sit around getting the about-to-play-in-a-recital stomachache or wonder how things were going out there, and we didn’t miss Leah and Mrs. Gurin playing Bach’s Double Concerto. It was great.
The funny thing about the day was that it went by so leisurely that it was almost a shock when all of a sudden it was time to start the ceremony. All the girls were standing in the little hall off to the side of the sanctuary and Rebekah – who was the official Bridesmaid Support Staff – went down the whole line of them and lit their lanterns. It was a really beautiful sight, all those beautiful girls in their dresses and white shawls with their lanterns being lit. When I first came up with the idea of having them carry lanterns instead of flowers I thought it’d be pretty, but I wasn’t prepared for how lovely all my sisters actually looked.
Ben and I both shared the processional – he and his parents went down first, and then my parents brought me. The most fun part of doing this method was that people didn’t really recognize I was coming down the aisle until I was about halfway there, so there was this very dramatic moment when I was almost to Ben and everyone stood up all of a sudden. It felt like an acknowledgement that something big was happening for both of us rather than everyone paying homage to a queen. And Ben came down the aisle first, so it wasn’t like I got all the attention and Ben just crept in by the side door.
The ceremony went picture-perfectly. Ben was a little disgusted because he got right into the middle of his vows and his mind went blank until he was reminded of the next word. I didn’t have any trouble like that, but I thought we were on microphone a little louder than we were, because I spoke in a normal-to-loud speaking voice and a lot of people sitting in the back of the church told me later they couldn’t hear a word I said. I feel a little bad about that, but at least it was out of ignorance and not because I was too nervous to say anything.
And then the ceremony was all over; and even though Ben and I had discussed for weeks what we were going to do about the traditional kiss at the end of the ceremony, in the end we did nothing at all but smile and walk off down the aisle. Oops.
If anyone’s interested, we got through the reception without any kisses too. As for when Ben actually kissed me the first time, I’m not telling. Some things can just stay personal.
The reception was fun too. I guess there was a mixup with the seating chart and people had too many names on the same tables and things were all turned around, but Anna straightened things out to the best of her ability and I suppose on the scale of things to go wrong, that was a fairly simple one. We didn’t have a big bridal party introduction and didn’t make announcement when Ben and I got there either – we had a few short speeches by Dad Turner and our sisters and Aaron and Ben thanked everyone for coming, and we went around and visited nearly all the tables.
Actually, the only time we sat down for a bit was when Jenny brought us some ice cream and we stopped at the table we were visiting and ate. Then later in the evening I finally got to sit on Ben’s lap. We’ve been waiting a long time for that. Benjamin took a beautiful photo of that moment which is so pretty it looks completely posed even though it was spontaneous.
And we finally, finally got to go home together without saying goodbye. That’s probably what made it the best wedding ever.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
Please don't be shy! If you're reading the blog updates, we'd like to hear what you think. Click on the "comments" link to send us a note.