Wednesday, November 29, 2006

About Our Wedding - WARNING: Super long and wonderfully sappy. And it's not even written by me.

(Ok, so it's been almost four months since Jason and I got married. And you would think that verbose, spotlight friendly, share-it-all me would have written a nice long juicy post about it. But I didn't and I haven't. Instead I gave you pictures and one story. Here is my sister's take on the blessed event and I love every word. Thought you might too...)

Together with their families

Leslie Ruth Unger
Richard Jason Petree

Request the honor of your presence at their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of August

My sister has been married for a few months now, and as she pointed out so unabashedly, why had I not told the world about it!? After all, she knows you're all dying to hear the details of this amazing event. Not amazing because Leslie and Jason were finally getting married, but amazing because most would agree with me that this wedding was unlike any other. I will say, especially for me, because I was the Maid of Honor. And while I have been a maid to Leslie many times over the years, because she would pay me to do her chores, this is not what that meant. But you knew that already. J I had no idea what I was stepping into, besides the fuchsia dress I had to wear at the wedding. That's right kids, I said fuchsia. I also knew I had to throw the bachelorette party, which went well if I do say so myself, and even managed to get a picture of Lu being "arrested" on the streets of Chapel Hill.

The wedding weekend started with the bridal luncheon at a cute place in the city hosted by my mom's sisters. Then Lu, mom, and I went to get manicures before we headed to the wedding rehearsal. I did not know that I was supposed to keep all the ribbons from the bridal shower and make a bouquet to be used at the rehearsal! But mom made it to the church with something that resembled a bouquet. I did not know that I would have a bouquet handoff with the bride! (thank you for years of track and field baton hand-offs to prepare me for that moment. Ha ha). I did not know that I would get to walk up to the platform with Lu and J during the ceremony! I guess I could have made a shorter list out of things that I did know to do. Hmm, show up, wear fuchsia dress. Oh, that would've been it! So for me, here came the "honor" part of maid of honor. This place of honor, that I was just beginning to understand, meant that I got to stand a foot away from my sister and look into the face of the man marrying her as they said their wedding vows. I guess at this point, you may need a little history lesson:

My sister has always dreamed of getting married. She has an incredible heart and desire for raising kids in a loving family, and God has prepared her to exhaustion over the years to honor that part of her as she honors Him. I have always known that my sister will have the fairy tale, and deserves it! I, not having these same feelings myself, wanted to dream that dream for her. And I have, and she can back me up on this one. She and Jason got engaged really quickly, and he was actually home asking the family's blessing the first time I had met him. I just met him! I didn't know if I could trust him with my sister for the rest of her life! Marriage and love, for my sister and I, is a BIG DEAL! We had always promised each other that we'd be friends with the other's spouse, but where had this promise gone? I felt left out, and yes, I know this sounds juvenile, but she's MY sister. We watched our parents' marriage fall apart and were both more solidified in our idea of love and the decisive nature it requires. It takes work, people, because love is so much more than an emotion. It is a constant selfless act, tireless in its demand for faith and trust. And here was a man who wanted to enter into that with my sister and I did not know him. You are asking me to give her to you! I realized later of course, that the I was placing that demand for faith and trust on a man, Jason, when in reality, I needed to put my trust in something much bigger than any of us. After a few tearful conversations, I needed Lu to understand that I needed to know this man. Not so that I could approve, it wasn't about that, but so that I could stand next to them on their wedding day and be able to hold them accountable to their words and also to take on a new dream for the both of them. Long story short, I got an incredible opportunity to spend time with both of them in Colorado and I came back with one thought in my mind, "he's the one for her".

Back to the story. After the rehearsal, we all went to the home of a good friend of Leslie's who hosted the rehearsal dinner. After the dinner, there was the roast and toast. People made fun of Lu for her messiness and Jason for his cleanliness and joked about how they would manage together. People made fun of Lu for having so many "the one's" over the years, and even though she didn't appreciate it, it was a little funny. People gave toasts and best wishes all night. Friends and family relived moments of humor and humility in both of their lives, and showed all of us the incredible things that each of them was bringing to their marriage. It was breathtaking to be in that room that night. I listened to stories about my sister that I had never heard, and stories about Jason that I felt honored to hear. We definitely were all crying at one point or another, and I could go on about that night, but I'll stop myself here.

The next morning there was a women's breakfast at Rita's house, and then a few hours later I was supposed to pick Lu up for her hair and make-up appointment. I came into the house where Rita met me at the door to tell me that we had a problem. My sister came around the corner in tears, face all red, hysterically talking about Jason's ring. They had gotten the shipping dates messed up and the ring was not going to get there by noon! It wasn't going to get there at all actually. Rita's husband, Dave, was already on the phone with UPS trying to find out just where, in transit, the ring was. We ushered Leslie away and asked her to keep getting ready as we would surely solve this problem. I got on the phone with the ring company, but they had no way of helping us find out where the ring was with UPS. Meanwhile, Dave talks to the cops about getting in the shipping warehouse who say they can't do anything unless the alarm goes off, to which Dave says that they should meet him there. The ring company agrees to pay for a back-up ring if we cannot get the real ring. Sure, 6 hours before the wedding is a great time to go buy a wedding ring. We hop in the car to go to her hair appointment and manage to stop in a jewelry shop on Franklin Street who we have called ahead to explain the situation. We walk in the door where my sister is immediately recognized as the frazzled bride and shown bands to choose from. He even offered to engrave it for her, and so "oops! 8-5-06" is on the wedding band.

We head to Aveda where Leslie has already had a practice run with her hair. I, however, am stupidly willing to let them do mine this one time. I try and stress how important this day is and how easy my hair is to this girl that looks like she just rolled out of bed. Things did not look good. When we got to hair products and I told her what I use, because I do use Aveda products, she grabbed something "similar". Seriously? 10 minutes into drying the hair on the left side of my head flat to my face and at an awkward angle, I couldn't take any more. I got up and told my sister that I had to go back to the hotel and shower and do it myself. Her E-ranch girls were there taking care of her, so Debbie took me back to the hotel. Somehow I managed to shower again, do my hair, grab all my stuff, and get to the church before anyone else. Only a few of us were actually on time. We all got ready and took photos before the wedding, and then Dave calls.

He got into the warehouse, convinced a few workers there to help him find the ring, and found it after searching through, I think, 900 boxes! He brought it to the church just in time before the ceremony. Fast forward to the actual ceremony…now all of us are in place at the front of the church and we're just waiting on the music to play for those doors to open for Leslie escorted by our dad. Lu and Jason had agreed on her processional song, but she had a surprise for him. She had told the wedding party that she had changed the processional to the theme song from Lonesome Dove, Jason's all-time favorite movie. It began to play, and after two notes, Jason welled up with tears and looked around in disbelief. He was choking back his tears now, which I'm pretty sure made all of us cry that much more. I know I was trying not to cry. Something so simple, but to see his face when he realized the gift she had given him; absolutely priceless. Those doors opened and out walked the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. I'm a little biased, but I am not kidding you! I had seen her just a minute ago, but there's something about that moment she gets to be captured in. Everyone's eyes were fixed on her walking down the aisle, and thank goodness, no one stood up! (per the bride's request) My dad gives her away, and then I forget all the details, but there was a successful bouquet handoff and dress fluff as she walked up the stairs.

So, one thing we failed to practice were the hymns that we were supposed to know. Leslie was the only one that knew the words, and her back was to the congregation! We were all up there lip-syncing about every other word, if that. The vows and all that were fairly short. Jason missed some of the words, made up some of his own, apologized to the congregation that Leslie was just too beautiful and that's why he couldn't speak. I think Lu got all the words right though, maybe. I got to hand her J's real wedding ring at the right time, and it is a really cool ring. They said all the rest of the stuff and then they were married! I almost forgot to hand her the train of her dress after I gave her bouquet back to her, but I think two other bridesmaids were telling her to wait at the same time. Oops.

We took one huge photo of everyone in the congregation and the wedding party on the front steps of the church, and then they all went to the reception. More photos after all that, and some how there is no photo of Leslie, me, and my mom! My mom has threatened to make us dress back up at this point to get that photo. Yeah, ok, sure. We all headed to the reception, anxiously awaiting the newlyweds arrival. There was food, but I don't remember it. I definitely had a wedding cupcake but that was about it. Then they showed up and it was toast time. Stewart Nelson introduced them as husband and wife, then my dad gave a Jewish toast. J's brother gave a great toast, but I didn't hear it all because I was trying to get Lu and Jason a glass of wine so they could actually toast the toasts. Then it was my turn and I do not speak easily in front of crowds. I was nervous, but I had been planning her wedding toast since I was like ten or something. I kid you not. Here it is:

"If you know Leslie at all, you know she believes in fairy tales, the idea of forever, and that drama is the spice of life. As far as fairy tales go, she's always dreamed of Jason, although he's better than anything she could've imagined.

I came across this one bible verse in high school that I took on as what I wished for Leslie to find in a man. It's Song of Songs chapter 4, verse 9, "You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes." You can tell by this verse that God believes in fairy tales too, and that's just what He gave Leslie and Jason. It had to be one glance, because they only knew each other for a day and then didn't see each other again for six months! Even as great as it is to see that verse come true for them, we all know that love is much more than a fairy tale. Our mom raised us with one thought on love; that it's not just a feeling, it's a decision. So with that in mind, I have one more wish for the two of you…..

(If you'd all raise your glasses and join me.)

May you wake up everyday with two intentions in mind. The first, that you never doubt your decision to love each other. And secondly, that you choose to love each other more with each new day."

And then I had the privilege of inviting them to take their first dance together as husband and wife. They went to dance and I promptly went into the arms of two of my cousins as I started to cry. It was a weird mix of happiness and sadness that made me cry, and the realization that I had done the last thing I was supposed to do for her. Jason and Lu danced beautifully together as you can tell by the photos on the slideshow, and then we all joined in and danced the night away. My Aunt Betsy had decided earlier in the weekend that the some of the girls, herself, and Angela, would dance and sing for Jason to "Any man of mine" by Shania Twain. Yes, we made fools of ourselves, cowboy hats and all, but it was fun. More dancing, and then finally they were off to the Carolina Inn before heading to Hawaii the next day.

They've been married for almost four months now, and it's really great to hear how they're doing, but I can't wait to get to see them both two short weeks from now!

1 comment:

  1. There is something so wonderful about a sister's love. You two are both great writers - I loved this story!


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