We made a lot of budget-friendly decisions, but hiring a string trio probably wouldn't be considered one of them. That said, it was a fantastic decision. Francesca at Caprice Strings was super easy to work with, and having two contemporary songs arranged especially for the ceremony made everything so much more meaningful. As we all took our places to begin walking down the aisle, I was feel good...smiling and excited. Then Caprice Strings began playing Badly Drawn Boy's "The Shining," and by the third note, I couldn't hold back the tears. Walking down the aisle, hearing that song, and seeing all of our friends and family gathered around, I'm pretty sure I was teared up all the way to the altar.
When I joined JT at the front, David (or friend/officiant) casually said "how you doing?" To which I replied, "I'm already crying!" Interestingly, once we got going, I mostly maintained my composure and was able to get through the rest of the ceremony relatively tear free.
We began with two readings. The first was Corinthians. Neither Jeff nor I practice any religion, but our families do, and this was incorporated to honor them. And to honor my family specifically, it was read by my grandfather in French (did I mention that my family is French?). He began by saying that he would read Corinthians 13 in French, just as it had been read to him and my grandmother at their wedding nearly 60 years ago. People commented all day on how beautiful and moving it was. The next reading was a Native American blessing read by JT's mother, which she picked out. Here, again, the tears started to flow. As she began, she got very choked up, which in turn got everyone else very choked up.
For our vows, JT and I worked on crafting our own based on literature. We reviewed several books of "wedding friendly" literary quotes, selected a few that really spoke to us, and crafted those words into vows that David spoke, having us repeat them to each other. It was absolutely perfect, having our vows say exactly what we wanted to express but exchanged in a traditional way. The vow exchange even prompted a few laughs, as David read off a rather long line, and I got halfway through before stopping and asking him to prompt me. Think of President Obama and Justice Roberts doing the Presidential oath. It was a little like that, and frankly, it was kind of a nice way to lighten the tension.
After exchanging rings and the, as David would say, "ceremonial exchange of cooties," we turned and headed back down the aisle to Caprice Strings playing "Summer is Coming" by Matt Pond PA. Amazing.
A little funny side note from the ceremony: Our adorable flower girls (my sister's daughter and JT's sister's two girls) apparently were having difficulty figuring out how many petals to throw and exactly when to throw them, so when they got up to the end of the aisle, JT's brother-in-law said something to the effect of "make sure you use up all the flowers." So the three of them then stood at the end of the aisle emptying their baskets. I wish I could have seen it, because everyone said it was incredibly cute.