Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Monday, July 12, 2010

A wedding that almost wasn't is still blessed!

- correspondent
Our 10th wedding anniversary was July 1. I still have the wedding box I've had since our wedding day clean up, and I have never unpacked it. I may never fully empty it of its contents, but I will pick through and rustle up some memories. Inside are some of the delicate silk roses interlaced with my favorite candy, Jordan almonds. They were made for our wedding by my aunt's friend in California, a woman whom I never met. I designed the wedding program myself on my work computer. It seems so strange to see my maiden name in print at the top of the page. My husband's brother is listed as best man, but because his daughter was about to be born, a cousin stood in at the last minute. Looking at the program, there's one other memory that stands out. It's not only a memory, but a tale about things working out just the way they are destined to.

We were married at St. Mark's Chapel in Mordecai, with the reception at Haywood Hall. It had to be Mordecai; we lived close enough to witness many a wedding celebrated on the historic grounds. The rehearsal dinner was the evening before with the pastor attending, so we would all know what to do and be comfortable with the ceremony. In the grinding heat, we showed up at the chapel, ready to get it over with so we could get to the air conditioned restaurant, but our pastor was running late. It had all been confirmed; he would be at the rehearsal and perform the ceremony the next day at noon. I was starting to feel a little nervous, but I tried not to let it show.

I called the pastor again and again, leaving message after message while the rest of the wedding party was in the chapel, no doubt wondering what was going to happen the next day at noon. We ended up practicing the ceremony ourselves, and then going to dinner, hoping the pastor would just show up at the restaurant. He didn't. The warm fuzzies my poor future hubby and I desperately needed to feel were not there. We celebrated my father's birthday as well during the rehearsal dinner, heard a speech in our honor, and basically operated in a state of controlled mania. We looked at each other in anguish wondering what in the heck we were going to do about our little problem. Our wedding was finally happening, and here we were, left hanging high and dry with no one to marry us.

We had already planned to not stay together until our wedding the next day, for good luck. We parted ways with heavy hearts. I went on a mission to find someone to marry us in less than 24 hours, and the groom-to-be, along with our son, spent his last night as a bachelor at the round Holiday Inn. Friends and family offered to perform the ceremony, then we could get married legally downtown later. That idea seem good to us, so we decided that we would let someone do the pretend wedding ceremony if it came down to it. Still, the night before my wedding I was sitting in my little back yard, calling phone numbers, looking for help from a list of people the nice lady at Mordecai had given me weeks ago. I left message after message.
My call waiting beeped. It was the pastor! His voice cracked and he spoke in slow motion. His wife had suffered a heart attack that morning and he was at the hospital. He was sorry, but would not be able to perform our ceremony. I gushed 'I'm so sorry', and told him not to give our wedding another thought. Take care of yourself and your wife, I told him. We had been worried about him and were relieved to know what had happened to him.

But still questions lingered. Should I ask if he knew of anyone else who would marry us on such short notice? Should I inquire as to why he did not call earlier; since his wife had the heart attack in the morning, that would have left plenty of time to call and cancel his commitment to us. My inner Bridezilla had taken over my logical thinking. Thank goodness I kept my mouth shut.

Yet there were less than 12 hours until the wedding.

Enter stage left: the Rev. Kayelily Middleton. When she returned my voice mail at nearly 11:30 that night, the sound of her voice was serene and calming. I am available tomorrow, she said, and her words were like cold rain drops on a hot Raleigh summer day. Thank God.

I broke the news to my future hubby. I found someone to marry us, I told him on the phone, a nondenominational lady reverend. Silence. What would his mother and her family from Alabama say about some new-age hippie marrying us? Would my father make my wedding officiant the brunt of family jokes forever?

The opposite could not be more true. The Rev. Kayelily was sincere and professional, and without having met us, she prepared meaningful wedding vows that included our son. It was like she had known us all our lives and was destined to perform our ceremony. She was the blessing we needed. The rest of the wedding and the past 10 years are still blessed.

As I put the wedding program back into the box, I read the scripture we had chosen. It is still as true today as it was 10 years ago.
"I am my beloved's and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved let us go forth into the fields
And lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards and
see whether the grape blossoms have opened,
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There, I will give you my love"
Song of Solomon, 10:12


mamie said...

I loved this article! What a wonderful thing you did for this couple, and even for the minister in distress.

Reverend Kayelily Middleton said...

Thanks, Mamie. It was so good to see you Sunday. Yes, I remember this wedding--calling them back so late at night--I could sense the desperation in her voice. At that point in time they had not heard a word from their minister and it was as if he had just dropped off the earth. I was so happy that I was available and gathered some information from the bride so that I could write a ceremony that had meaning for them and include their sweet son. Of course I met them for the first time when I arrived at St. Mark's for their wedding. It warms my heart to hear about this wedding 10 years later.