There is so much I could write about my experience. But I will save you the pain of hearing about it all and just share a few highlights of the Big Day. Since the wedding was scheduled for a 4 PM start (which we almost made ... but we were delayed by what I have discovered to be the number one reason for delay - late arriving grandparents!) - we had all morning to endure (that's what is was for me since all of the bridal party arrived at our house to curl their hair, put on makeup, etc., etc., etc.). In the midst of all the estrogen in the house, I looked for a reason to leave! Kate wanted to make a special delivery to Ryan (who was at his parent's house in Quarryville). I readily agreed to do so. But I decided to spice things up a bit ... and go as the "ninth bridesmaid" (red wig, garish mask, Eagles cap, purple polo (Kate's wedding color was plum), grey tie, tuxedo coat and shorts). I was quite the sight!
When the time finally came to leave for the church (for me this was about 1:45 and for the gals about 2:00) - I was more than ready to get going. And basically from 2:00 onward I did what I typically do for weddings I officiate - just make sure everything is proceeding as it should. At one point (around 3:00 - a friend suggested I "slow down" and just spend some time reflecting - so I went into the quietness of my office, sat down and thought on who it was that was getting married that day -- my daughter! It proved to be a very special and teary ten minutes alone with my thoughts.)
Finally ... the big moment came to walk my daughter down the aisle and give her away to the groom standing in front of the sanctuary, a broad smile etched on his face as he saw his bride for the first time arrayed in all of her beauty! It was a moment I will never forget!
I cannot express just how privileged I feel to have led my daughter and her husband through their vows ... and then pronounce them "Husband and Wife!" My heart warms at the memory of that moment!
The reception was all that I thought it would be and more. To be sharing this moment with family (both my family by my first birth AND my family by my second birth) was a real joy! My only regret was that more of our church family could not be present (believe it or not - the wedding guest list began at over 500 and had to be whittled down so that everyone could fit into our sanctuary!).
Would I want to "relive" the day all over again? Not in real space and time. But I have been enjoying reliving the day in my mind ... and I am sure I will continue to do so for quite some time.
I want to go on public record to thank the following: First and foremost, my God and Father who in the outworking of his plan brought Kate and Ryan together. May He be praised! Additionally, I want to say thanks to Joyce Horning and Jessica Julian (who introduced Ryan and Kate to one another at Jessica's wedding), David Julian (who continued to encourage both Kate and Ryan to pursue a relationship with each other), Dave and Wanda Aument (Ryan's parents who did such a phenomenal job in raising him!), Greg Aument (who orchestrated such a wonderful day last Friday in D.C. as we celebrated the end of Ryan's bachelorhood and faithfully fulfilled his duties as Best Man), Pastor John MacRae who led Kate and Ryan through many sessions to prepare them for their marriage (and who assisted with the ceremony), Jen Balmer who served as Kate's wedding planner and who put many hours into preparing for the wedding (and who along with her husband Doug helped haul the many wedding gifts from the church back to the house after the reception was over), Emily Smith (my daughter) who went the extra mile in her role of Maid of Honor, all of the members of the bridal party who added so much to the beauty and dignity of the day (including flower girl Cheyenne Cultler and ring-bearer Caleb Cutler), Rachel, Hannah, Sarah and Rebekah Heilenman who served as guest book attendants, Jessica Keefer who served as wedding day coordinator, Matt Helm (who ran sound at the church), Cheryl Griffith (whose floral arrangements added such beauty to both wedding and reception), Ron Hoover for the loan of his classic 1965 Thunderbird, the photographers, videographer, disc jockey, and people at Willow Valley - all who worked together to make the day such a splendid day!
There are indeed more people I could have thanked - but I will not bore you any further! But I do want to thank my dear wife who has walked with me (and was a huge support to me) on this journey. Indeed, as Ryan will discover over and over again in coming years, "He who finds a wife, what is good and receives favor from the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22).
Thanks for stopping by . . .