Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mine at Last: Hello, Goodbye

In the spirit of a yichud, Mr. Palindrome and I treasured our first few minutes as a married couple in the stairwell leading up to the balcony as we waited for our guests to line the church steps with birdseed in hand. 

"I feel like I'm watching a movie.  It's an out of body experience," I told him.
"I know! It doesn't feel real," my husband answered.
"Wow, huh? It's all over! We're married!"
He smooched his wife.
The chilly cries of the old ladies in fur coats as they shuffled into the dark night brought us back to earth.
"Ready?" he asked, taking my hand.

Then, I looked forward to our wedding day just because it would be over and I wouldn't have to think/do/hear/plan about weddings ever again.  Funny how memories soften over time.  As I prepare to sign off, I feel little twinges of sorrow.  Not full on "post wedding blues."  I rejoiced in the weeks after our wedding.  However, there's a small sense of, "Wow, it's all over. For real."  Outside of blogging, I've completed other tasks that contribute to the burying of the wedding.  I've ordered our album, sent my dress to be dry cleaned, and sorted/sold the wedding leftovers.  We've resorted to talking about the weather during small talk rather than the universality of guest list headaches.

Not that I'm crying, or that the voids left by wedding planning haven't been filled.  In fact, they've been filled with very fun things.  I have time to volunteer!  I read for pleasure!  I try new recipes!  I renovate our house!  I plant flowers and herbs!  I snuggle with my husband! The circle of life continues and I've found new challenges.  I'm even blogging about it over on Palindrome at Home.

You all deserve a round of applause for taking interest, reading, cheering, sympathisizing, and ultimately sharing in the joy of my journey to the alter.  For those still planning, I wish you all the best as you continue to plan and look forward to the beginning of your marriages.  To you and yours, a heartfelt, "Congratulations!"  For those who read my blog just because they love me, now you don't have to hear about any  more wedding stuff! (well, maybe some wedding stuff . . . )

Palindrome Bride :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Finds - Picnics and Gingham

After a full week of nearly 100 degree heat, I've come to the sad conclusion that I missed out on the optimal picnic weather of the spring.  I had grand dreams of a bottle of wine and cheese, spread on a cozy blanket, as my love and I talk about our dreams, all the while 20's jazz plays on a wind up phonograph.  Someone has obviously been looking at too many highly stylized engagement shoots methinks. 

Since I missed prime picnicking weather, I decided that I would celebrate the theme through gingham checks in this week's Friday Finds.  If you're still enjoying the bliss that is the temperature between 70 and 75, please enjoy a strawberry and champagne picnic for me!


Clockwise from Top L:
Laurie Cinotto - Gingham and Deer Brooch/Boutonniere
Avenue C - Sunshine Ring Bearer Pillow
K is for Calligraphy - Red and White Tablecloth Thank You Seals
Miss Peanut + Little Peanut - Blue and White Gingham Wedding Dress Hanger

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mine at Last: In the Evening

Only one thing stood between me and marriage . . . formal pictures.  I knew they wouldn't be fun and that my cheeks would hurt by the end.  Worse than that, the pictures would forever document me looking like  it was no fun and my cheeks hurt.  I think it was Mary Poppins who said, "If you must."  The silver lining is that we ended up with the most complete family pictures in recent memory and everyone who needed to be on time for the ceremony was now on the premises.
 (Note the brilliant blue sky and the deceivingly bright sun outside of our church.)

My cheeks recovered in a back hallway by laughing and smiling until they were numb.

The men folk hid in the basement, fostering Mr. Palindrome's unhealthy relationship with his phone.  Caught ya red handed!

A quick note about the logistics: there were only two options for moving us into place to walk down the aisle.  The first was to hide in the balcony and the second was to wait in the annex and then walk around to the front of the church.  With 22 in the wedding party, plus parents and grandparents, we didn't think we could keep everyone out of sight and quiet on the balcony.  

On the coldest day of the year (10 below freezing without factoring in the wind chill), I picked up my train and HUSTLED.  I felt sorry for our friends, but at this point I was chilly, happy, and had my eyes on the prize at the end of the altar.  Make way! Bride incoming!

 I remember seeing everyone line up.  I remember laughing as my brother ran back to process a second and third time (escorting my grandmother, my mother, and then as a groomsman).
I remember not seeing Mr. Palindrome before he walked with his parents (modification of Jewish tradition) and wondering how the processional had gone by so quickly.
I remember standing alone with my Dad at the back of the church and hearing our coordinator say, "It's time."
Probably the worst bride to photograph, I looked all around me as we walked.  I greeted my friends with a smile and nods.  I strained forward to see my groom.

My dad took his role seriously, and though I should have given him a veil lifting lesson, he lovingly placed my hand into Jason's.  My identity multiplied in those moments as my family grew.  From daughter to wife, the most important men in my life were there supporting me. 
After the excitement and anticipation of walking down the aisle, my soul became quiet.  The rest of the ceremony was intensely spiritual for me.

My friend Laura has inspired my faith and encouraged my marriage.  She read Ruth 1:16-17:
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.
Our friends, Tom and Heather, were spiritual mentors to us during our engagement.  They read Ephesians 5:21-33:
 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
As our pastor and friend started the homily, I thought Mr. Palindrome was going to give me a blister.  He was rubbing the backs of my hands with his thumbs - such a handsome wreck of nerves.  Besides Mr. Palindrome's assault on my fresh manicure, I remember the homily on forgiveness.  We've each given each other plenty of practice living out that message.  Forgiving as Christ forgave us is a cornerstone of our faith and now marriage.
Mr. Palindrome and I chose to celebrate the institution of marriage quite traditionally.  I'm still coming to terms with the reality that we repeated the vows of our parents, grand parents, great-grand parents and the generations before them took.  In those short phrases, we joined our lives not only together but also to the broader idea and philosophy of marriage.  Overwhelming.  In a good way.
I, Jason, take thee, Melinda, to be my wedded wife; and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful husband, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

I, Melinda, take thee, Jason, to be my wedded wife; and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful wife, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.
After we exchanged rings, the unity candle ceremony began while Emily's voice filled the chapel.

In addition to the ceremony candles at the front to represent our establishment of our new family together, our ushers lit small personal candles for all our friends and family to show their support for our marriage.

Dangerously armed with red lips, I kissed Mr. Palindrome.  It was a passionate, yet church appropriate kiss.
And it marked him as mine.
The whole wipe-off-the-lip-stick-and-look-cute schtick was inspired by my make-up artist, Liv Lethal.
Mr. and Mrs. Palindrome.
Walking down the aisle with my husband, well, words fail me.  
Joy. Love. Peace. Awe. Relief. Amazement. Beauty.  Cheer.
As long as we both shall live.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mine at Last: In the Afternoon

I prayed the entire elevator ride down 17 stories that I wouldn't pee my dress with excitement.  God is good and answered my prayer.
I turned the corner and saw my groom.  No butterflies.  No nerves.  No gasp.  Just a sigh of relief and a warm calm.
What do you say when you see your groom for the first time?  I said, "Hi."
He replied, "Hi."
Then he asked, "What's all this?" as if he'd never before seen a veil.  Performing a modified Jewish tradition, he lifted the my veil and was quite relieved when he learned he wouldn't have to get lost in the layer of tulle again at the ceremony.
He was being the exact person I knew him to be - nervous from being kept waiting to see me, clueless to bride's accessories, and a curmudgeon about having to make a fool of himself figuring out the veil.
I think I said, "Hi" again.
I honestly have no idea what we said the rest of the time that we were together.  In this photograph, I look like I'm chiding which would be characteristic of me.  Or maybe I was eying up his earlobes.  I'm obsessed with his soft earlobes, kissing them and just holding them between my my thumb and forefinger. 

In the absence of words, we held each other. 
And I gave him Eskimo kisses.
And I relished the thought of being his wife.

Then Sam spoke.  Oh yeah, there were people other than ourselves in the room.  He had gotten word that the limo was waiting for us.  It was go time.  I was ready to do this thing.
 Down the elevator, through the lobby
and around the revolving door, I was a giant smile dragging a white dress behind me.
Similar to the parlor trick of wearing a bee beard, I was told that I was the queen bee and that the wedding party would follow me where I went.  I decided to lead everyone to the limo.  I popped through the revolving door and didn't see anyone by the limo driver.
I peered into the limo: "Hello? Anyone in here?"
Turns out that between the lobby and the front door, a side door exists . . . leading to the hotel bar. 
In the only few seconds of aggravation that day (my Palindromaids can attest to this fact), I lost my cool.  I love that this photograph captured the moment.  I'm telling the limo driver how we managed to lose the male half of the wedding party within 25 feet of the front door.  A Palindromaid searches the vehicle again for the missing groom.  Another Palindromaid balances pomanders and a box of emergency extras while looking worried that she sees smoke from my ears.  Yet another Palindromaid carries my reception head piece.  All the while I shivered as another Palindromaid searched for my coat.

An instant later, the guys joined us in jovial oblivion that I was less than pleased with their disappearing act, we all piled into the warm limo, and I was in my red coat getting a back rub from my maid of honor.  Everything was right with the world again.  In a little over an hour, I was going to be married.

*All photographs by Sam Hughes.