News And Views
My Catholic Marriage
Weekend Wedding – Part 5
Being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Hammond to a room full of everyone we love was an amazing experience. The deejay played instrumental music that made it sound like we had just won a game show or something, but in a good way. We walked through the door, grinning brightly. The room looked even more beautiful than I had imagined it. Everyone cheered, lots of people standing up from their seats. We made our way through the tables to the head table, which was a round table like the others, but right in the center of the room under the biggest chandelier.
We sat down with our parents to wait for the food—a brunch buffet was set up along one wall of the room, but in the meantime there was a fruit and pastry table open, plus the coffee and tea station. My mom went to get me a cup of coffee, which I was very happy to drink. I was starving, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat much of anything when the time came, either because of the excitement or because I’m a slow eater and would spend most of the mealtime talking.
I was right about that; the lady in charge of catering served our table rather than having us go up to the buffet like everyone else, and my plate was absolutely loaded with a wide variety of everything that was being served. I ended up swallowing just a couple of bites of a ham and cheese omelet, and I think one small slice of Canadian bacon. I did have another cup of coffee after the first, so at least I had my caffeine!
After everyone had eaten, the deejay announced the toasts; Daniel’s brother John, the best man, would be giving one. And although my sister Marie, maid of honor, had originally told me she didn’t want to do a toast because she would be too nervous, she changed her mind while we were at the reception and wrote a speech on her napkin. Marie started to give her toast first, but John took over when she couldn’t stop crying. His speech was very nice; he had everyone laughing but it was also very sweet. Marie tried again, struggling not to cry, with the people around encouraging her. My mom thought Marie just wanted a hug of encouragement when she walked over to our table a sentence or so into her speech. We were all surprised though when, amid many “aww”s, Marie handed my mom the napkin and cried, “Can you do it?”
“What makes you think I won’t cry?” my mom replied, somewhat laughing. So my mom ended up reading Marie’s speech with Marie sitting beside her, listening and crying. It was fairly simple, but beautiful. We toasted with champagne mimosas.
The last piece of the day that I was really nervous about immediately followed the toasts: the first dance, and then the father-daughter dance. But I shouldn’t have worried; Daniel and I were perfectly comfortable, as though we weren’t actually in front of all those people. We sang to each other, along with Steven Curtis Chapman as we twirled, dipped, and attempted to waltz (that part didn’t work out so well). But it was so much fun!
After the two special dances, Daniel and I went around to say hello to every table. I was worried that once we had gotten to everyone, we would have no time to dance any more at all. But we ended up talking to and hugging everyone with time to spare! We cut the cake, took some pictures out in the hall, I tossed the bouquet (which took two tries, since my first toss hit the ceiling) and danced to “Chicken Fried,” “Then,” and “Save the Last Dance for Me” (which, as you may have guessed, was the last dance). By that point, most of the room had cleared out. Daniel and I left to go to our hotel room, which was on the premises since we got a free night in a suite with our reception. I stood in front of the full-length mirror there in my wedding dress and finally started to cry.
I couldn’t believe that the wedding was over. We were married. Really married. All of the emotion of the past several weeks/months came crashing down on me then. Good and bad. I just had never experienced an emotional roller coaster of those proportions before. I imagine having our first child may be somewhat similar…
Once I had calmed down and realized how incredibly starving I was, we went out for dinner at a little Italian restaurant nearby. Of course we changed, but I kept my wedding jewelry on—I wasn’t ready to completely de-bride myself yet. Actually, I wore the jewelry to church the next morning, too!
While we were eating dinner, I couldn’t help but think about how everyone had told us to remember that no matter what, at the end of the day we would be married. Well, it was the end of the day. And we were!