The day dawned early for some and cold for all. We girls arrived at the church about 7:30 to get ready. The single and newlywed bridesmaids got ready first, and then the mommies showed up a little later.
The girls and Cathy Jo sang songs.
They also made sure to practice the whole-walking-down-the-aisle thing.
Coffee also arrived with a very kind brother of ours, so a peppermint mocha with the needed caffeine gave a delightful boost. Mom, Anna, Mary, and I helped with the little kiddos, and then, suddenly, things switched into high gear. All the children needed to be dressed, hair fixed, bridesmaids totally ready for pictures, etc, etc. If you haven’t experienced being IN a wedding, well, I hope you get the opportunity. It’s really such a special thing!
We are grateful for the Lord’s protection. On John’s way into the wedding, his truck hit ice on a bridge, and he slid sideways across it. The oncoming vehicle managed to pull off onto the shoulder, avoiding an accident. Wow! Praise the Lord for His mercy.
Anyway, back to the wedding morning. The photographer did a great job of working with such a huge bridal party. Most of the pictures finished about noon, and then we grabbed a quick lunch in the basement. Although I have to say, at this point, I didn’t have much of an appetite. The day’s excitement and reality of what’s happening hits about this point. At least for me!
John and Chelsy’s goal for the wedding was for the Lord Jesus to be honored and glorified. Another goal they had was for each guest to feel welcomed and loved. As their wedding party, we were their ambassadors, so we enjoyed mingling with the guests and talking. John was also greeting guests. People invested so much to come. They drove through bad weather and traversed many miles.
Ten minutes before 2, it was time for all the bridesmaids, flower girls, and bell ringers to gather in the back room. I figured we had awhile to wait–I knew John was giving a welcome. We talked, and prayed, and talked. And tried to relax.
But suddenly, it was time. The doors swung open, and we quickly became a jumble of trying to get in line. With 14 bridesmaids, and going in the opposite order, well, you have to think quick.
I quickly followed Anna, and stood in the back of the sanctuary. Everything blurred together: the music playing, the wedding coordinator giving instructions for when to begin walking, and realizing the time had come. John stood at the front beaming!
The flower girls and bell ringers made for an adorable group.
Mr. Bontrager shared a message, and the most powerful part was when he talked about the blessing of children and allowing the Lord to choose the number a family has. The Lord’s done a mighty work in our family, because I was supposed to be the last child. God changed my parents’ hearts, and they allowed the Lord to plan their family after a seven year gap. Mr. Bontrager said there wouldn’t have been a wedding if that hadn’t been the case. Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and Mary stepped forward, and tears sprang to my eyes at the amazing, beautiful picture of God’s mercy.
John and Chelsy exuded such joy as they became husband and wife. There were two slight issues, though. When it came time for Chelsy’s personalized vows, she said she didn’t have them. So, off she and John ran to go try to find them. They couldn’t locate them, so Chelsy read them on John’s phone. Well, she got part way through, and his phone popped up with a warning that the battery was about to die! Thankfully she did get to finish. She told us later she still doesn’t know where the vows went!
I knew one of the best men was up to something when I saw a pair of scissors in his back pocket. Sure enough, at the ring time, when asked for it, he couldn’t produce the ring. A drone came flying in from the back, with Chelsy’s ring attached! Much laughter followed, and Joseph cut the ring off when the drone flew to the front.
A special part of the ceremony came when John explained to Chelsy that as he’d thought of what he could give her to symbolize giving his earthly goods to her, he wanted to give her a key to his house. It was now their house. A very special moment as he presented her that key.
Some of us in the bridal party dismissed the guests by rows. Then, people headed for the reception site, about 20 minutes away.
When we arrived, the reception bustled with activity. But somehow, everyone fit! Dinner was taco soup and cheesecake for dessert. After eating, people shared memories of John and Chelsy, and then John thanked everyone for coming. Following that, the reception hall turned into a big fellowship event!
These are my amazing sisters: playing games with the little kids at the reception.
The send off!
The guys did an incredible job decorating. The best part was the inflatable.
We are grateful to the Lord for a beautiful day to celebrate John and Chelsy becoming husband and wife.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”