Tuesday, April 27, 2010

paul and rachel's wedding

This month I have been to the best two weddings of my life -- and am currently trying to figure out if my own will ever be able to live up to either!

Paul and Rach's was amazingly touching, hysterical, tear-jerking and beautiful -- simultaneously. From the congregational singing of the processional ("How Great is our God" and "How Great Thou Art") to the recessional (Beyonce's "Single Ladies") it was absolutely amazing.

We started off the afternoon with a picnic in the park (Which park, you ask? Why, Bradfield Park; you know, the one under the Sydney Harbour Bridge that looks over to the Opera House. Ah, yes, you say. That one.) and had a lovely time milling about, reconnecting with old friends and munching pine nuts and craisons.

An hour or so before the ceremony they cut the cake, while Paul pointed out it would be the perfect photo op (if only I hadn't had four layers of people in front of me). I have no idea what actually happened to the cake after the pictures; presumably someone ate it.

There were really hundreds of us (400? ish) and we trekked to the church en mass when the picnic was done. Having heard there was something of a guest list, we mostly filed obediently into our place in the hall or courtyard.

However, shortly before the service was to start, an announcement was made that there was room for 10 or 15 to stand in the back of the church. I seized the opportunity and came along -- only to be told that actually there was enough room at the very front if I wanted to sit there. And so, instead of perching on a table in the hall, I got to sit in the alcoves of the church, much like being on stage for a Shakespearean performance, except so incredibly much more meaningful. Being able to be part of a church stuffed to the brim with Christians singing of our great God and His love for us was an experience that locking eyes with Iago simply can't hope to compare to.

After the processional, we got to hear heartfelt speeches from each mother, followed by hilarious anecdotes from friends. ("Rach, we're so glad you're marrying Paul -- we were getting so tired of having to alternate going to the blokey and girly movies. And besides, now he can cry on your shoulder and hold your hand at the scary parts!")

That segued somehow seamlessly (go figure) into "Amazing Grace" and "His Glory Appears," which in turn segued into the Bible reading (the first chapter of James). The sermon talked a lot about words (very apt for all the English teachers in the crowd) and the Word, and led then into the vows, which were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen, the Archbishop (we won't mention any alternative pronunciations here) of Sydney.

Aside from nearly forgetting the parental presentation of the bride and groom, the vows went beautifully. Though I didn't actually hear the phrase "you may now kiss the bride," the groom still managed to remember.

Prayers followed immediately, and then the signing of the register. After that, Paul and Rach each offered many thanks and then spoke of their love for each other. (Paul, as he said, being rather unable to be up front at a church and not get a word in edgewise. It was the first time, though, in my recollection, that his most memorable word was "hot" -- as he told his bride she was!)

Finally, two hours later, we sang "Lord of Lords" and "Mighty to Save" with even more abandon than we'd sung the processional, which really was saying something. After the recessional, we waited to greet the newly married couple and all shared lots of hugs and tears and Kleenex (or napkins) before the entire congregation stood on the steps and sidewalk of the church and, after one last photo op, cheered and clapped and waved goodbye as he helped her into the car and they drove off into the Kirribilli evening.

It was simply gorgeous and altogether untoppable -- yet I'm still holding out hope I might find mine even better!


Garry with 2 Rs said...

Freaking awesome.

And you're right. "You may now kiss the bride" doesn't actually appear in any of the traditional liturgies. There again, neither does "You're hot," so I guess it's neither here nor there.

I don't actually know where that first line came into it from, but I choose to assume it was America. Australians just wouldn't bother to wait for permission.

KIM said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

I didn't realize that line wasn't in there -- there was a little "go ahead" sort of gesture on the part of the Archbishop, but I thought he just mumbled quietly or didn't feel like saying it. Interesting.

And -- yet another reason I'm glad I moved to Australia!!

Regina said...

It's a real shame you missed my wedding Kimmy. You would have loved it.

KIM said...

I know, Gina!! I would have had a blast ... and that rainbow ...!!