Wedding Ceremony Details

As you all know, Grant and I got married a few months ago. It was a fairly singular obsession for the months preceding the nuptials. Teaching in the city is an incredibly time-consuming job (wake up at 5, get to school at 7, leave school at 6, work for 3 more hours at home, repeat) so I didn't get much real time in the year before the wedding to really plan. My aesthetic vision for the wedding was A-Midsummer-Night's-Dream-meets-Old-Hollywood-Glam. I wanted it to feel like all these fabulous people at an incredible party fell asleep, and when they woke up the place had been a bit overtaken with lush florals and greenery. Most of that was realized in the reception decor, but I wanted to start by detailing the gorgeous ceremony.

The wedding (both ceremony and reception) were help at Bluestem Nursery and Vineyard in Crete, Nebraska. The rental was a large portion of our budget, but we got the run of the entire vineyard (including an adorable 1-bedroom cottage where we held our rehearsal dinner) for the whole weekend. This ensured that our vendors could get in early to execute some, admittedly, intricate requests.

The existing scenery was absolutely breathtaking. The stage where the ceremony took place had pillars and oversized pillared vases. Bluestem plants greenery that is beautifully overgrown at the end of the summer, and was a lovely complement to the gauzy fabric that Blooms & Bouquets draped around the columns. I had them tie back the drapery with a garland, which was also draped on the backs of the chairs. Topping off the garland were amazing floral wreaths filled with vintage garden flowers such as hydrangeas, roses and peonies. Then we lined the aisles with a smattering of flower petals. The overall effect was striking and romantic.

My bouquet was a combination of the same flowers, as well as hanging greenery. I wanted it to be grander than it turned out to be, but I guess "oversized" isn't enough of a descriptor. My number one recommendation for particular brides like myself when planning your wedding is to be so obnoxiously Type-A that there is no room for misinterpretation. Like, give them actual measurements. Feel like telling your florist that a bouquet must be 18-inches from tip to toe is too Bridezilla? Well, it's a lot less Bridezilla than getting angry the day-of when it's too late to change anything. Plus, your vendors are being well-compensated for their work. It's their job to give you precisely what you want. They were still really pretty bouquets though.

The entrance to the ceremony area included a number of items for guests to enjoy. An August wedding in Nebraska can bring with it insufferable heat. Luckily it wasn't that bad on our big day, but we provided our guests with cold refreshments to take the edge off. Guests were given the option to be bussed in on coordinated charter buses and bussed back at the end of the night. This gave everyone the option of a safe ride home after an open bar, and also ensured that they wouldn't be waiting in the sun for too long before the ceremony started. We also provided purple ribbons for guests to wear in support of equal marriage rights. A lot of our guests are still not able to get married in our home state and I can't wait until the day when they can have their own wedding! In lieu of programs, I designed a chalboard-esque wedding party sign, had it printed, and affixed it to an oversized frame we rented from Nostalgia Rentals (they also provided the table, other frames and containers). Patricia Catering did our amazing reception food, as well as the pre-ceremony beverages.

Guests could also cool themselves down with these custom church fans we had made. The illustration is AMAZING, and was actually done by a good friend of mine (and bridesmaid!) Kristin for our invites. We sent her a picture of Bluestem since we knew the wedding was being held there, and she drew us on our wedding day. The illustration is just darling and it's definitely one of my favorite things from the wedding day! (Tip #2: If you have talented friends... use them! You can pay them back by throwing the best party ever.) These fans were a feature the whole night and were also a fab prop when the dance floor require a little pantomiming.

Of course, the most gorgeous part of the ceremony was the group of people we had around us. The men dressed in classic tuxes (Grant had his custom-made from Kleinfelds...ooh la la) and I let the ladies choose their own dresses. I just gave them a few guidelines: 1. Full-length gowns 2. Neutral color palette 3. Vintage/classic cuts 4. Sparkle encouraged. I could never have imagined that the combo would look this amazing together! My bridesmaids live all over the country (no two live in the same city and NONE of them live in NYC) so I was blown away how well the looks blended. There were even mirrored cuts (2 strapless, 2 V-necks, 3 boat necks) but all of the different fabrics, gatherings and subtle patterns meant that each look was unique. By no design of mine, their dresses even managed to create a hue spectrum when they were all lined up for the ceremony. Ugh, I can't get over how gorgeous these ladies are.

Grant and I had a fairly non-traditional ceremony. We asked his uncle Gifford to officiate, didn't have a ring exchange (ask to see my tattoo sometime!), had just one reading, and asked our fathers to participate in a Celtic hand fasting ceremony. Writing your own ceremony and vows is tough, but I really do feel like our ceremony was personal and touching... and was a perfect reflection of our love as a couple. If you're interested, here's our short ceremony.

Officiant’s Welcome
Gifford: Welcome friends, family, and honored guests.  Before we begin today, Grant and Helen would like to ask anyone who is able and willing to take out their smart phone or camera and record video of this short ceremony. The couple would like to remember this moment from each of your perspectives.

Officiant’s Address
Gifford: All of you are present today because you, in one way or another, have been part of Grant and Helen’s lives. Today we witness a marriage that has its roots in a 7th grade classroom, when a couple of 12-year-olds showed up to learn about Biology.

In marriage, two people turn to one another in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a bold step, taken together, into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be. Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. Nearly 20 years after that fortuitous meeting in a classroom, Grant and Helen are ready to take the next step, to make this commitment. Today, they demonstrate their devotion to one another by dedicating themselves to a life together.

Today, their lives, which began on separate paths, will be joined as one.
Gifford: Grant and Helen have chosen a single reading. It comes from Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince, a text that Helen teaches to her students, and which exemplifies the nature of love and human relationships. Ben Tibbels, a friend of the bride will perform the reading.
Ben: <reads excerpt from Exupery's The Little Prince

Gifford: In lieu of rings, Helen and Grant have chosen to include in their ceremony the traditional Celtic custom of hand fasting. Grant’s father, Barry, and Helen’s father, Randy, will read the blessing. Gentlemen, come join us up here.

·      Barry and Randy come to the microphone
·      Gifford wraps ribbons around Grant and Helen’s hands as Barry/Randy read

Barry: These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your first home, plant your first garden, and walk forward hand-in-hand into your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you, the only ones with the ability to comfort you like no one else can.

Randy: These are the hands that will tenderly hold your first child, the hands that hold your family together as one. And lastly, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours as they hold you here, now, promising you they will never, ever let you go.

Gifford: Bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always reach out with love, gentleness, and respect. If you follow these words and heed this sacred binding, your hands will heal, protect, shelter, and guide. Now, you may remove the cords, but remember the knot as a lasting symbol of your binding and commitment.
[Barry and Randy sit]
Gifford: Grant and Helen have prepared vows they would like to read to one another today. Grant...
Grant reads prepared vows
Gifford: Helen…
Helen reads prepared vows
Gifford: No one but you can declare yourselves married. You have begun it here today in speaking your vows before your family and friends and you will do it again in the days and years to come, standing by each other, sharing all the sweet and the bitter of life. Each tender act, each loving word, will be the declaration of what was made here today.
In the honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today,
It is my honor and delight to declare you
To be husband and wife
You may seal your vows with a kiss
[Grant and Helen kiss]
I proudly introduce to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Rogers

Leave a Response