Friday, September 09, 2011

Our Story - Part Eleven - The Wedding

If any of you have ever had the nightmare privilege of planning for a wedding then you know how very few details I'm going to be able to share. There are details, details and more details!  I also had a very unique situation in that my mother and sister had been planning for a very long time! So, since I was too busy (with work and school) to plan, and they had already been pulling things together, we decided to let them go ahead with their ideas and Philip and I would be responsible for the actual ceremony. So I'm just going to give you the highlights of some of the fun memories during that period - basically in bullet form.

  • The first thing we had to do was pick a date. It couldn't be too soon because it was already March but I had restrictions on time off in August so it had to be somewhere in the middle. July 28, 2001 gave us four and a half months to get ready
  • One week after Philip popped the question, the main members of the planning committee (Mark, Bonnie, and Jennifer Slagenweit, and Carol and Brian Jones) converged on Mrs. Tomlinson's home and it was "Wedding Weekend" - We got my dress (the first one I tried on but we still had to drag my dad to North Carolina to make sure there wasn't something better out there!), the material and patterns for the girls dresses and all the main details hammered out.
  • I made a trip to Florida after school was out to pick up my dress which my aunt Carol had fixed. The bodice needed some filling in and the skirt had to be taken off because I am so short. When I tried it on we realized that the skirt was going to have to shortened again - now that's a labor of love!After the second time of taking it up, a full underskirt and a high set of heels - it worked :o)
  • The Easley Church offered to fix up a little house they had purchased across the street from the church as a place for us to live. I cannot even name all the people who worked on the project - even through our honeymoon so that it would be livable. It was a bare bones mill house - it had no tub or shower - just a sink and commode when they bought it.
  • Teresa Armstrong helped me get invitations and then addressed all them because she can do calligraphy. What a blessing that was!  

  • We originally figured between 150-175 for the reception and had a hard time finding a place to accommodate that many people. The week before the wedding we had 200 RSVP's and it was too late to change venues! It had to work and the lady at the reception site worked with my mom to make it happen - but she also quit after my reception :o(

  • We had three showers leading up to our wedding - the ladies I worked with outfitted our kitchen with everything from paring knives to appliances! We still use those items today. Philip's co-workers threw a surprise shower and purchased a crock-pot for us. My church ladies also had a shower for us. I'm still pulling out towels and washcloths from those showers. What an outpouring of love from so many people! God used them to bless us abundantly. We started out VERY WELL!

  • The most fun was planning our ceremony. Philip and I enjoy tradition but we wanted the tradition to have meaning. Both of us enjoy good music and had such a good time choosing songs that reflected our commitment to God and to each other.


  • Philip came up from SC on Wednesday so we could get our marriage license (you have to wait three days in PA to get married) at the Orphan's Court (?!) and finalize the ceremony with the wedding planners. Sometime I helped to decorate some for the reception but I only remember going to Wal-Mart to get more mirror tiles and glass bowls.
  • We went through the rehearsal meal Friday evening(to which my mom and dad and I were a tad late due to construction ;o) then on to the rehearsal where it was discovered that the organ was broken. Paul Peak had to tear the thing apart because over half the food pedals didn't work. Of course these are things they don't tell the bride before-hand. I was shocked to turn around during practice and see my friends, Bill and Ruby Oldaker, from West Virginia there! So many people came from all over! Florida, South Carolina, was quite the gathering!
  • By this time things were starting to feel surreal again! And my nerves were probably like any other bride's - I seriously thought about putting a "party-pail" behind the altar just-in-case! God was very gracious to allow that part to not hit until after everything was over! :o) It seems like I got to bed the evening before the wedding in good time but I couldn't go to sleep - my whole family was out and about getting this and that done before the big day arrived.
  • On the way to the church I dropped off the icing for the groom's cake for my (future at that point) mother-in-law who had made the Italian Cream Groom's Cake. Then on to the church to comb my hair and get dressed. I combed my hair twice....why I don't was hidden under a veil....nerves maybe?!
  • I had wanted stargazer lilies used in my flower arrangements and the florist did a beautiful job of fixing two very large arrangements for the candelabra. My mom had these picked up on Friday evening and they were actually in place for the rehearsal. But when we arrived at the church on Saturday morning every last one of those stargazer lilies had closed and died! A lady from my parent's church who lived next door had a whole bunch of them blooming in her garden and willingly donated them to replace the ones we lost! So thankful for Mrs. Pardoe!
  • Philip and I decided to do all of our picture taking before the ceremony so we had a few minutes alone in the pastor's office beforehand. He asked me to marry him and I said yes in a more dignified manner this time :o) and we prayed together - that God would be glorified in the ceremony and asked that His presence would be there to hallow this sacred time.
  • You know how it is with wedding smile until you feel like your face is going to fall off!!!! and just when you think you can't stand was time to go downstairs for the formal pictures while the congregation was gathering in the sanctuary. Now during this time we were doing all of these shots and it dawned on me that we hadn't gotten any pictures with Philip's family! When the photographer said something about being done I brought this up to him and he said that we were running out of time and that we'd take them after the ceremony. The truth was - my mother-in-law had left that morning to put together the groom's cake at the reception site. But she had in her mind that the wedding started at 1:00 (it started at 11:00) and so was taking her time. No one carried cell phones (that were left on) in those days (I know....long time ago! - When gas was $.99 - no kidding, that's what we paid on our honeymoon!) so no one could get in touch with her. It was 10 minutes before she was to walk up the aisle that she arrived and got her clothes changed, straightened her hair and the wedding happened right on time. But I didn't know this until later :o) So we have no formal pictures with his family :o( I wish we could go back and do that again.
  • The next thing I knew I was alone again! All my bridesmaids were up in the nursery (with the one way window) watching all the goings on! I finally made my way into the stairwell so I could hear some of what was happening even if I couldn't see everything that was happening.
Here's a picture of those in our wedding party:
From left to right: Rebecca Lomeo (my friend from college) Faye Parsons (my aunt who is only 10 years older than I am) in front of her is her daughter Janelle (my cousin) who was our flower girl, Becky Holtry (was a friend from way back - we spent time in Eastern Europe together), Jennifer Slagenweit (my sister who was my maid of honor), Shelly Getty (my roommate in college), the bride, the groom, Nathan Brown (Philip's brother and best man), Dan Wagner, Bryan Smith, Ted Miller - all friends/office mates and fellow PhD candidates at Bob Jones, Mark Horton - friend since grade school, and Kent Forney who was our Bible bearer.

  • The ceremony was beautiful. My family did a good job of all the trimmings but God answered our prayer and blessed our wedding with His presence. My father-in-law didn't have us practice our vows beforehand and so I bumbled my part at the beginning when he gave me too much to say :o) Probably the most special time for me was when our families joined us on the platform and John Parker prayed a prayer of blessing. It was just so good to stand before God, our family and friends with a clear conscience knowing that we had followed His paths and plan. There were no regrets or heaviness - we were doing exactly what God had planned, abiding by His guidelines. In many ways I still didn't see how this relationship was going to work (I know, most people aren't thinking about that on their wedding day but I was) but I knew without any question that God knew what He was doing and I was going to continue to follow in obedience. 
  • There were funny things that happened here and there but this post is getting long :o) The reception was wonderful! We fed 253 people if I remember correctly and my mother and her crew had it organized so beautifully that it went without a hitch! Mom knew that many people had traveled a long distance to be there and would be traveling home in order to be at their services on Sunday so she wanted to be sure they were fed. We had tossed salad, stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked corn, green beans with almonds, rolls, and cake. 
  • Our wedding cake was another funny story. A family friend, Judith Hosetter, made it for us but had to transport it some distance. In the process of getting there she ran off the side of the road and hit a pothole which compressed the main layer of the cake. This caused it to be very lopsided and unable to be assembled for fear of falling. As soon as Philip and I arrived, we walked in, she set the top layer in place, we cut it, and it was taken apart.  We were able to get a picture of it leaning into the camera and you can't even tell. I felt sorry for her......someday that's going to be me :o)
  • I'm so thankful for the many friends who sacrificed time and resources to make our day so very special. I hope it was an encouragement to them as well. As I look back through the pictures I'm amazed at how many of them are in heaven already; my grandmother ( Eleanor Slagneweit), Will Holtry (his daughter was one of my bridesmaids), Joanna Robley (the first person I worked for) Bill Oldaker, Joann Hobbs, Virginia Hollingsworth. God has blessed us with a host of friends who have supported and encouraged us over the past ten years. They've been such good ones! 
  • We spent our honeymoon traveling along Skyline Drive and doing some hiking and canoeing. It was a blast! I know some people have horrible honeymoons but ours was great (after my case of nerves calmed down - nothing like showing your spouse that part of life right away!). 
  • Sometime I get the pictures scanned in I'll do a post on our arrival home. Some members of our church family decided to welcome us home (Scott Hester, Matt Bowen and probably some others)! Oh my lands! Like I said, I'll have to get the pictures scanned. 
So there it is folks. Our story......or at least a goodly portion of it. Thank you to all who have left such kind comments and to those who have pushed me to get the next edition out!  I can't believe the number of people who have followed this. I hope it's been an encouragement and your faith has been strengthened. God really does know what He's doing! And waiting for Him is never wasted time. God doesn't lead everyone the same way but He always leads the right way. And I'm so grateful that I followed His leadership. My life has been blessed beyond measure because I chose to put my faith in something that I couldn't see or understand.


Laura said...

Thanks again, Marianne, for sharing it. I rejoice with you in the goodness of God.

knightfirstlady said...

Wow! Wonderful last chapter--yet just the beginning of the first 10 years! Life is good when you have married love like this! (We know from experience too!) Paul even read your whole story last night from start to finish. Blessings to you for the next 10+ years. Love, Sharon

Anonymous said...

Marianne, You probably do not know me but Philip does. What a beautiful God-centered story! So glad you shared it! You and Phillip have a beautiful family!

LindaJo49 said...

I have enjoyed every word and am a little disappointed that this part of the story is over ... however, I look forward to reading the regular updates along the way!!!

The Dickinsons said...

I don't know how I missed your last neat post about y'all's getting together...(Well, come to think of it, I probably do...since I was busy sorting, packing and moving with my family to Buenos Aires, Argentina =) but we were happy to find it today and I enjoyed reading it. So glad that God brought y'all together and that y'all are touching lives there where you are. =)
I'm rejoicing at how WONDERFUL and AWESOME our Heavenly Father is to every one of His children. =)