Before the ceremony I was inside the Matthews House in the big dining room where we sequester the groomsmen and best man (Rich's father) until we are ready to begin the ceremony. They were all listening to the Duke-Florida game and threatening to turn their cell phones on during the ceremony to get the score! Of course they were joshing with me but I seriously considered asking the guests during the ceremony what the score was. I told Ellen about that after the wedding and she laughed and said she wished that I had! Anyway, as soon as Shawn, our wedding director, gave us the signal we proceeded across the breezeway to the ballroom and Shawn's assistant summoned the bride and her maidens to come down the stairs to line up for their entrance. Ellen's dress was beautiful and the bridesmaids wore red-- a great color especially for this time of the year so near Christmas.
Ellen's father escorted her down the aisle and she was radiant. After he transferred her hand into Rich's the music faded and the ceremony began with a warm welcome to all the guests. Then we paid tribute to their parents--a wonderful recognition of these couples who are still married to each other after all these years. They make wonderful models for happy marriages for their children! This is always a treat for me to see. Then Rich had written the story of how he and Ellen had met when walking their dogs. Their guests got a kick out of that! It was a good story though and he included how they did things for each other like "Ellen sits through the cold and rain of late fall UNC football games because Rich says he has more fun when she is there with him. Rich spends Friday nights on Ellen’s couch, sandwiched between Ellen and her dogs, and rubs Ellen’s feet while she watches her favorite TV shows in her pajamas." Then we got down to the serious business of what marriage and commitment means to the two of them as they exchanged their vows and rings.
The sand ceremony followed with some difficulty pouring the sand without spilling it into the narrow mouthed container (see my article on sand ceremony set ups which I intend to post soon!) but they got it done! I pronounced them married, they kissed and I introduced them to their happy guests! After the wedding party recessed and the guests were enjoying cocktails in the main house, the wedding party returned for photos. We did some re-enactment of the ceremony for pictures and at one point, Ellen needed to hand off her bouquet for the photo and the closest person standing by was Lenny. See how my roadie, Marty, captured him holding the bouquet! After all the photos were done, Marty and I bid everyone adieu and headed home. Rich and Ellen, hope you are having fun in Jamaica!