Dawn & Lisa: Chosen, Holy, Beloved
Lisa and I met at my 40th birthday party. Several years later, when we were both unattached, we began a whirlwind relationship. Within 6 months we moved in together with Lisa's 3-year-old son, we moved to another state for Lisa's job AND, as circumstances would have it, we took in a 6 month old baby girl that we eventually adopted.
All that being said, 9 years later, we began planning our wedding. Our children are a very big part of our lives, so this wasn't just our wedding, it was our families' wedding. Needless to say, our children played a significant part in the ceremony. Our faith community plays a large role in our lives, so we asked our pastor if she would marry us in our church, although it is not currently an open and affirming congregation. She took it to the deacons and a resounding "YES" resulted. So our planning began.
We lived in a rural, Maine community at the time, a beautiful setting. A friend and her family owned one of the most beautiful Victorian Bed and Breakfasts in the region so we talked with her and started planning. We rented the entire Inn for three days and provided this to all of our invited guests. It was an incredible experience. We spent 3 wonderful days with all the people that meant the world to us as individuals and as a couple.
We had a fantastic ceremony in the sanctuary of our church and had it open to the entire congregation. A few words from the ceremony:
"Dawn and Lisa, your marriage is intended to join you for life in a relationship so intimate, so personal, and so profound, that you will be forever changed. If you endeavor truly and faithfully to care for each other, if you strive to speak and act from genuine affection, if you practice the arts of forgiveness and forbearance, relying on God's grace, you will grow in wisdom and strength, and the family which you have established will abide in peace."
The wedding planning was hectic; we were trying on the dresses, looking at flowers, and last but not least, taste testing possible meals, which is a really delicious part of the process. During the wedding planning, our daughter asked us a question that floored us: "Who will I live with when you get divorced?" Her ideas about marriage were apparently formed from seeing the other children at school, divided from and by their parents divorce.
We talked with our pastor about this and decided to make a public promise to our children that day. The promise was and is as follows:
"Dear Son and Daughter, we, your mothers, have joined our lives through the vows we make today. We also make sacred promises to both of you, that you will always be our son and daughter, cherished and honored as the unique human beings you are. We promise to nurture the gifts you each bring to our family and the world, striving to be the best parents we can be, always thanking God for your life with us and for the love that makes us a family."
As a symbol of our oneness, as a family, we lit the unity candle. There was not a dry eye in the place. As the recessional ended, the children present began ringing the church bell. We held a formal tea in the fellowship hall, a repast fit for two queens indeed. There were strawberry topiaries, towers of petit fours, and scones along with a multitude of other confectionery delights.
Later in the evening we had a "by invitation only" dinner at the Victoria Inn. Roast beef with pan sauce, raspberry chicken, and a beautiful three-tiered wedding cake that matched our gowns. I had set up a table at the reception with pages for our guests to fill out, asking them to tell us their special wish for us and their memories of the day. I then took the pages, along with hundreds of photos and had them laid out and bound into a beautiful keep sake book, a book we now treasure and look at frequently. We did everything exactly the way we wanted it, and to this day there are no regrets.