The night before the wedding, The Boy and I stayed up until the early hours of the morning, frantically hanging string lights in his backyard. The next day we woke late, and from the moment my eyes opened I was having one of those experiences where you feel like you’re standing outside of your body, watching yourself. I had never expected to be so nervous on my wedding day. After all, I had no doubts. But my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, and my intestines seemed to be doing some kind of Zumba class inside my belly. What was I most afraid of? Forgetting my vows. A decade’s worth of theatrical training, and I was scared of dropping my lines.
But all those nerves evaporated when I saw him for the first time. If I can give you a piece of advice: do a “First Look” session with your photographer before the ceremony. I was skeptical; I wanted to see him for the first time as I was walking down the aisle. I was convinced it would all somehow be less special if we saw each other beforehand. In the end, it was The Boy who convinced me otherwise, and I was so grateful. The second I saw him it was suddenly just the two of us hanging out. It was just another day in the yard. My favorite elements of the wedding were all the tangible expressions of love surrounding us. This wedding was truly a team effort, and it meant so much to both The Boy and me that so many people wanted to help out. My sister stayed up late every night the week before the wedding, slaving over our gorgeous chalkboard menus. My dad gleefully put his new saw to work on the easels and chalkboard placemats, onto which my mom painted one perfect pig. The Boy’s mother basically lived in her backyard for five months, planting flowers and waging war on weeds. Maggie, my badass maid of honor and craft goddess, cut and assembled all the banners, photobooth props, and paper pinwheels until her fingers blistered. Lorenza, my wonderful officiant, turned hoarded fabric scraps into lovely bunting to hang around the ceremony area, and made the flower crown I wore in my hair. For days before the wedding, that yard was crawling people, all working their butts off to create this day for us. And on July 20th I looked around at all the chalkboards, and pinwheels, and flags, and flowers, and I thought: we are loved.
We walked down the aisle to this song, and when I got to the front and looked The Boy in the eye, Jerry sang my favorite line in the world, “If I knew the way, I would take you home.” I smiled, and mouthed the words along, and he smiled back at me, and I was ready to be married. There is no doubt in my mind: we had the best ceremony of any wedding ever. Asking my best friend to officiate was one of many excellent decisions I made. Lorenza, our beloved third wheel, has been such a steady presence in our relationship and our adventures, so she seemed like the perfect choice to bind The Boy and I together permanently. Her address was exquisitely intimate and personal, and if I had had any doubts about this marriage her words would have put them to rest. She spoke of clocks, and clementines, and purple houses, perfectly encapsulating both the mundane mechanics and the absolute enchantment of the way The Boy and I love each other.
My dad also spoke during the ceremony, and his words were a beautiful testament to his own love story with my mother, which is in itself an affirmation of the power of marriage and commitment. Honestly, I expected to cry uncontrollably through the entire ceremony. But instead, I giggled. I think I’m laughing in just about every picture. It’s not that I wasn’t taking it seriously; as I laughed, I could also feel that gentle sting of emotion welling behind my eyes. But it was just so damn nice, standing up there in front of all those people, letting everyone love us and giving all that love right back, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
I will say that our ceremony was spectacularly under-rehearsed. We had no idea where to stand, and at one point Lorenza had to ask us to move so that she could see us better. We had never used the mics before, and there was a lot of adjusting up and down to compensate for height differences. At one point, The Boy got a little carried away and tried to kiss me before we were even done. Lorenza’s voice shook, and she looked like she was just barely holding in tears as she delivered her address. These aren’t the kinds of things that you necessarily imagine when you picture your wedding ceremony, but they made it feel so much more real, and that was the best part of all. What’s that, you ask? That would be a smoker. We smoked meat on site. I will say unequivocally that this was the best wedding decision I made, aside from, you know, the getting married part. I really don’t have any other words about our amazing caterers, except this: those pulled pork sliders, with their delightful little pickle slices, will haunt my dreams.
Officially married! Like our photobooth? Tutorial to come!
I’ve written and deleted a lot of things about this wedding. It’s so hard to talk about that wild feeling of spinning madly through love, but I think the most wonderful part of all was getting to share this special place with all of our guests. This yard, the yard we have so casually wandered around, picking raspberries and playing games, was suddenly the backdrop for the biggest day of my life so far. It felt simultaneously larger than life and also wonderfully ordinary.
That yard has been our Secret Garden, our Whangdoodleland, our Terabithia, and for so long The Boy and I alone were the keepers of that secret magic. All those years, it felt so wonderful to be the only ones who knew the truth, to hoard it for ourselves and share it with no one but each other. In many ways, that was the foundation of our relationship: we learned to love each other in that magic yard, and as we wandered through the world together we would sometimes smile at each other conspiratorially, proud of the secrets we had learned one summer, secrets that no one but the two of us knew.
But on July 20th, we invited everyone we loved into the clubhouse, and if I ever had doubted its power, it was on that night that I knew for that sure that this place was enchanted, because I could tell everyone else was feeling it, too. In my vows I spoke of The Magic Summer, as I often think of it, the summer five years ago when The Boy and I fell in love. I said that in my mind, the whole thing kind of shimmers in this haze of green and gold, and no matter how old and grown up we get, our life together will always be touched by that. At one point in the night, a friend of mine looked around and said, “You know, I think I see it. All that green and gold.”
Photos by Kateryn Silva. All this would not be possible without our amazing vendors, any one of which I would happily recommend.
Catering: Pitmaster BBQ Catering Dessert: Rosie’s and Michele’s Pies Flowers: Butternut Gardens Furniture Rentals: New England Country Rentals Tent: Events Party and Tent Rentals Bride’s Dress: Patty Castillo Makeup: Courtney Murray Paper Goods: Danielle Young, Xander Keeping, and Sparkvites