Thursday, September 15, 2011

Always & Forever: The Show Must Go On!

After the officiant welcomed our friends and family, it was time for my father to kiss his little girl and hand me over to Sothea.
Daddy exchanged a few words with his soon to be son-in-law and confidently handed me over. As no other man could love or care for his daughter as much as Sothea did.
Completely in his hands, I handed my bouquet over to my MOH and made our way onto the stage.
Properly in place upon the stage, tears were quickly replaced with laughter. And lots of it!
This is a serious matter at hand. Marriage. So we re-composed ourselves like the mature adults we are and proceeded as rehearsed. The officiant first explained the foundation of marriage. Marriage is a chance to fulfill life long dreams and an opportunity for great personal and spiritual growth which will endure the aging of trends and fads. Marriage is bring sadness. Apprehension. And sometime pure relief! It is something to be nurtured and cared for, protected and cherished, challenged and strengthened - together.

Proceeding the Foundation of Marriage was the Hands Ceremony.  With my hands on his with our palms up, the officiant read powerful words of so such love and devotion in something so simple.
          "These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. 
            These are the hands that will work along side yours as together you build your future. 
            These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
            These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way. 
            These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
            These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.
            And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch."
 Commence more tear wells building up in Sothea's eyes. Apparently, not everyone was as emotional as we were...

During our ceremony, we also wanted to honor and thank our parents for all that they have done (and put up) for us. Without hesitation, we knew just exactly how to tell our parents everything our hearts wanted to say, yet no words would ever suffice. The tea ceremony.  I knew my parents yearned for this moment and I wasn't going to deprive them of it. While we modernized this by not kneeling nor donning traditional Chinese outfits, my parents were grateful of this inclusion.

To ensure we weren't disrespecting our other elders, the officiant announced that we would do another tea ceremony at the conclusion of this ceremony for the bride and groom's family members. After respectively and honorably serving our parents tea, we made our way back on stage to exchange vows and rings. And where more laughter ensued.
And more re-composure was needed. The officiant continued without hesitation to explain the importance of our wedding rings. "Without beginning or end and with no point of weakness, the circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Let the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of your endless love."

Sothea placed my wedding band half way up my ring finger to where my first knuckle resided and was told to listen intently. "Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?  Do you promise God, Alice and all of us here that from this point forward, your arms may be her shelter and your heart may be her guide? Do you promise to support her and nourish her and to love and respect and honor her for the rest of your days on earth?  If so please answer “I do.”
With his "I do", he slid the ring the rest of the way onto my finger. It was my turn to place his wedding band half way up his ring finger and to listen intently to the officiant's words.
With my promise of "I Do", I too slid Sothea's wedding band the rest of the way onto his finger. He was officially mine. Someone else was just as excited as I was too!
With the exchange of vows and rings complete, there was only one final important manner left in hand unfinished that everybody looks forward to at a wedding ceremony...
More laughter, of course! No?
Oh! You meant the action following the announcement of, "I now pronounce you, Man and Wife. You may kiss, the bride!" We did that too!
With much enthusiasm, cheers and applause rounding up in the Peacock Terrace, the Officiant pronounced us Mr. & Mrs. L.
During the recessional, all I could think about was "Eeeeep!! I'm a wifey and a Mrs!! I have a hubby!!!"

 I'm a wedded woman!! WOO-HOO!!!!!

*All photos above were taken by Colorband PhotoArtisan.
  The ceremony was officiated by Marty Younkin of Love Notes Wedding.

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