I’ve been writing this off and on for the past month, month and a half and decided that I just need to publish what I have, and update as I remember more details. When I make updates, the changes and additions will be in bold.
Ah, my wedding day. July 14, 2012. Quite easily, the best day of my life. As those of you who are married, or are in the process of getting married know, it is quite possibly the most stressed out time of your life. It was for me, and I don’t tend to get stressed easily, although, I’m sure that those closest to me would disagree.
Throughout the entire engagement process, I was more involved with wedding planning than the average guy. I don’t say this to be boastful and prideful, but I state this to show that I was serious about the marriage (I still am mind you). So, I’m sure I was more stressed about how things were going, I wanted to know a lot of the details so that I could help my bride-to-be de-stress and to let her know that I was there for her and want to make decisions with her for the rest of our lives.
I’d say that men, if you are engaged or are single and are called to the vocation of marriage, you really really should help your bride out on a lot of these things. Yes, society makes it seem that planning the wedding is her work, but a marriage is a two way street, constantly giving and receiving of each other, through all of the enjoyable moments, as well as the not so enjoyable moments. There are a lot of fun memories that we have created by being together. Living outside of the Twin Cities, we don’t spend too much time shopping and spending time at different places, so Saturdays became our “shopping dates” in which we would knock off items off of our master to-do lists and get lunches and sometimes dinners out at local fare.
Leading up to the wedding, I was really stressed out. Kathy was far more stressed than I was, but it felt like a big deal for me, as nothing was going right. We were arguing over a lot of little details (mind you, we never argue) and it seemed like my input was being ignored. Looking back now, I realize that it wasn’t really that I was being ignored, but rather, Kathy had her mind and heart set on something, and my view was contrary to that (and we failed to communicate that these items were important). Had I known what I know now, a lot of petty arguments could have been avoided. However, it did teach us good conflict resolution skills and the importance of communication.
I was incredibly fortunate enough that my family drove out to spend the entire week before hand to help out and to just hang out. It was awesome.
But, let’s fast forward to the wedding day. I woke up rather early, 8 AM. It was a beautiful morning. I had a good breakfast, eggs and bacon and I believe some hash browns. I believe I even got myself a cup of coffee as well. The morning kind of dragged a bit, the anxiety was probably the most obnoxious part about the entire morning. I was super excited and more or less couldn’t wait for 2 o’clock to hurry its way on.
At about 10:30, I went with my dad up to the gas station (separately) and got the car washed. I figured it’d be wise idea to get the car looking good for the wedding. Afterwards I got showered and dressed, and after that, it was about time to go to the Church to take the pictures. Kathy and I had decided that we wanted to not see each other until she was walking down the aisle. Thus, we had to take pictures separately so as to not waste too much time after the wedding for our guests.
I was one of the first ones at the Church, with the exception of our wonderful wedding coordinator Michelle, and Dan our videographer. My brother Sam and I went down to the “basement” to get the water and snacks that we had brought the night before for the rehearsal. We noticed two of the bridesmaids (Francie and Kirsten) as well as an usher Peter down there hanging out.
We went back upstairs and divided the snacks and water up in half, half for where I would hang out with my groomsmen, and the other half where Kathy and her bridesmaids would end up. I helped set up a little bit, then went and hid so that I wouldn’t see Kathy arrive.
Slowly my groomsmen started to arrive, Nic was first, then my friend Brad. Brad is a funny guy because when he usually goes to weddings, he generally wears a polo and shorts (especially in the summer), so Sam came up to me and said “Brad’s here, and he’s wearing a t-shirt and shorts”… “What?!”. “Yeah, he’s going to go get changed now”. Oh okay, good. I thought that that was a funny moment.
Eventually Father showed up. I was glad to see him. We talked a bit before and he decided to tease me a bit by asking “Are you sure you want to go through with it?” to which I immediately responded “definitely!” and to add more comedy he went “really?!?”. He is pretty good at ribbing me, but then again, everyone is, I just make it easy. He then said a few things about how he felt that Kathy and I were a great match and that we’d have a wonderful marriage.
My side did pictures while Kathy was hiding, at least the pictures that did not include Kathy. Kathy also did pictures that did not include me while I was hiding. It was a fun little game of hide and seek. The Church was also incredibly hot, as they did not have air conditioning. What they did have was lots of electrical fans that they were going to use all over the place, so that did help, but being in a black tux didn’t.
Finally at about 1:55, 5 minutes before the wedding was about to start, I started to get incredibly nervous. Father had mentioned that I would walk out when he did as the music was about to start praying. Before though, I realized I hadn’t spent any time praying, so right then and there, I did. I prayed that I would always be a good husband to Kathy and that I would treat her right. I also asked for the ability to be a good father to our future children. Then, I walked out of my side, and Father walked out of his.
My first thought was “wow, how the Church has filled up”. I saw a lot of my friends from out of state visiting, as well as my family, Kathy’s family and how everyone was pretty much ready to go. It was really exciting to see a lot of my friends. I saw my “big sister” Al-Lee, and she got her camera out so I made sure to make a couple of good faces for her.
The music began to play, and one by one, each couple (bridesmaid and groomsmen) started walking up after the parents walked up. I knew that soon, after they all finished walking up, Kathy would soon be walking down the aisle.
After everyone finished walking up, the doors opened up, and in the distance I saw Kathy and her dad. I was stunned, Kathy looked incredibly beautiful, my bride, my almost-wife. I was beaming. Kathy had her hair done completely different than I had imagined, but she still looked amazing, and to top it off, because of all the fans, Kathy walked out and it blew her hair around a little. It was truly awesome. I watched as they walked down, her dad smiling and happy. We shook hands, and Kathy and I joined each other, arm in arm. We walked up to the altar and the Mass began.
The Mass went extremely smoothly and incredibly well. I wasn’t sure what kind of Homily Father was going to give as he likes to rib me a lot, but he gave quite possibly one of the most pro-life, traditional Catholic homilies I have ever heard. It was awesome. If only each Sunday all Catholic priests gave homilies like that.
We got to the part where we exchanged our vows. Kathy and I repeated after what Father said, and we spoke it loud and proudly. I’m pretty sure everyone was able to hear it. After our vows, that was it, we were officially married, but, we still had the rest of Mass to get through. We went to the statue of Mary and gave her red roses. We prayed that she would assist Kathy to be a loving wife and an amazing mother. I know the prayer was recorded by our videographer, but I don’t recall what exactly was said. We walked back, finished the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and received Jesus, fully present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
After everyone who was Catholic received communion, Father announced us and Mr. and Mrs. Jeff and Kathy Stempel. Father then said “you may now kiss the bride”, as Kathy really wanted that, and Catholics don’t generally say that anymore. Obviously we kissed, and exited the Church. We were ecstatic.
(Check back for more updates, as I remember more details as well as look for part two, the Reception).