It truly was an evening full of magic and more love and fun and blessing than I ever could have imagined or hoped for.
I had many ideas and dreams about what I wanted it to look like, how I wanted the evening to flow, and how I wanted all of my favorite people in all the world to be in one place and to get along and maybe even kind of like each other.
What actually happened was SO MUCH MORE than I anything I could have ever expected.
My mother, a complete design visionary though she has very little formal training, transformed a working walnut orchard, into a storybook fairytale land. She heard and understood my vision and found inspiration to set the course, had the knowledge and creativity to turn the projects into something we could do, and led the crew to make it all a reality. And the result was unbelievable.
Our dear family friend, Brenda, acted as our wedding cooridinater and made everything run so smoothly that I still have no idea if anything went wrong.
My husband and his loyal and unwavering groomsmen (who all quickly became part of that list of my favorite people...LOVE those guys...Eagle Scouts...cannot go wrong with an Eagle Scout. I'll preach it till the day I die.) did all the grunt work to make mine and my mom's vision come to life. Climbing in the trees to hang lights and dragging tables and chairs hither and yon through the dirt and hanging signs in the dark with only their Eagle Scout resourcefulness to make it happen. Jeremy, Josh, and Jon...and of course, my darling Mr. Ford...you guys were my trusted rocks that week.
My beautiful girls who were my emotional and practical support through it all. The girls who have done that for me my whole life, were every bit as reliable as they have always been. They let me cry, laugh, remember and forget at all the exact right moments. Words cannot begin to adequately express what those girls mean to me.
Every single guest, family and friends from every corner of our lives, that traveled any distance at all to be there to share in that moment with Mr. Ford and I. This may have been the most overwhelmingly beautiful blessing of all. As a military brat, I know people all over the place. And Mr. Ford has people spread all over too. Probably two/thirds of our guest list came from out of state or out of town. The amount of love and excitement that poured out from these people still brings me to tears when I think about it.
So many of these beautiful people came to help with set-up on the morning of the wedding. They stayed to help with tear-down the day after. I will never know every single thing that every single person did. There's no way...there were too many sacrifical offerings of love for Mr. Ford and I for us to ever know every person we should be showering with gratitude. All I do know is that I have never felt more loved by so many people in all my life. Mr. Ford and I are unconscienably blessed by our Father.
And one of my favorite parts was the way that all of these people who have for so long only heard about each other finally had a chance to meet and not only were cordial, but made connections and new friendships were forged and they were all partying together even when we weren't anywhere around. At one point I just stood back and watched all of these people from so many different corners of our lives laughing, playing, and loving each other and I was moved to tears at the joy that the path of my life has brought to me. That the Lord has brought me. I'm still trying to process it all...I'll probably be processing it for a long time to come.
But, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the single greatest thing about the wedding, is that what Mr. Ford and I set out to accomplish with our marriage celebration, and also what we wish to accomplish with our marriage, was fully realized...in ways I'm still learning about and will hopefully continue to discover as our life together progresses.
In our pre-marital counseling we discussed the ceremony (and the marriage) as being sacramental as opposed to sentimental. Mr. Ford and I really latched onto this idea because of the absolute truth in it. We decided that our ceremony needed to set the tone for our marriage and lay out the path for us...by creating a moment that was meant to reveal the love and faithfulness of the God of every good and beautiful thing. If any of the feedback we've received is any indication, then the Lord certainly blessed that offering. I was overwhelmed in the moment...giving my promises as a wife to my husband, partaking in the Lord's Supper with him and our pastor, and reveling in the perfect beauty of the day, the nature, and the love that surrounded us and lifted us up to the sacramental altar of Christ. And I am overwhelmed by every person who has told me that it was beautiful and that they were touched. Our prayer is that our wedding, and our marriage, continues to have a ripple effect and reaches the people we love most and continues on to the people that they love most and so on into eternity. We wanted our wedding to have kingdom impact as well as having a heck of a lot of fun. I pray that God continues to bless that desire and that someday I will be able to have even a small hint at how He did bless that.
There is so much more I could say about it. But we would be here all day and on into the night. Suffice it to say that I know this to be true: This wedding, this group of people, and this husband are the very, very tangible and real evidence of how perfectly faithful my God is. This is our story and it is a story that we intend to tell over and over to our children and our friends and our friend's children and all of their children and anyone else who will listen.
"This is my anthem, this is my song, the theme of the stories I've heard for so long. God has been faithful, He will be again." -Sara Groves, He's Always Been Faithful To Me.
PS - As soon as I get the rest of our wedding pictures from our incredible photgrapher, Jill Devries, I will post some of them here. The picture at the top is the sneak peek we've gotten from her and we are