After we officially tied the knot, we took some brief family photos while our friends helped do last minute prep for the reception. I’ll only bore you with the one awesome whole-family shot!
I absolutely LOVED how our reception decor turned out! The dip dyed tablecloths and Mexican prayer flags looked awesome with our super amazing floral arrangements made by my friend Melissa. That girl seriously needs to make a career change! And just check out that blue Arizona sky!
As guests munched on appetizers, we signed our marriage license with some help from our witnesses.
And another witness watched from inside…
Our wonderful friends helped us heat up all our tasty taco buffet ingredients and brought it out to our rented catering dishes. For the record, no one seemed to mind that we didn’t serve any meat. We still had way too much food, a variety of vegetarian taco options and sides, and it was all delicious. I know because I did make sure to eat! We had worked too hard not to enjoy it! While we ate, two friends and two siblings of ours all gave toasts. Only one was slightly awkward (always prepare your speech, people!).
Then it was time to cut the cake! I was super excited for this moment! I know people always have strong feelings about cake smashes and whether or not they are appropriate. I, for one, think they are hilarious and too once-in-a-lifetime to miss! What made ours a little more risky, however, was that the cake we decided to cut was all chocolate! It could’ve been bad but thankfully we had a good splash and I didn’t end up with any chocolate on my dress!
Coming up with a meaningful wedding ceremony from scratch proved to be quite the challenge! We ended up using many sources…traditional Christian ceremonies, literature we both loved, inspiration from wedding blogs, and my amazing Grandfather/officiant. In the end, I’m so so so happy with how personal and emotional our ceremony was! Here are a few highlights!
We used “Sigh No More” by Mumford and Sons as our processional music.
Walking down the aisle, I couldn’t believe it was finally happening! All I tried to do was breathe and stay present in the moment as much as possible. After some introductory words from my grandfather, one of our friends read our first reading, a poem by e.e. cummings that we love!
“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”
Instead of a unity candle, we decided to include a ritual that was much more “us” in our ceremony. So we planted a tree! Much of the credit for this idea goes to the awesome blog 2000 Dollar Wedding. We played “Old Pine” by Ben Howard while we got our Aspen sapling into the ground.
Grandpa: Zach and Carrie have chosen to symbolize their commitment here today by planting a tree with the help of their parents. Just as the love and support of their parents has helped them grow into the people they are today, so will the water and soil here support and nourish this tree. While it is now a small sapling, over time, with proper care, it will grow and flourish into a strong and mature aspen tree. Given the same care and attention, the marriage of these two will similarly flourish and prosper.
One of our best friends gave our next reading, a quote by Louis de Bernieres:
“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
I loved how this quote also tied in the tree metaphor! Next was the hardest part: our vows! We wrote our own vows and didn’t share them with each other beforehand. I was so afraid I would start bawling! Zach went first, and I just tried to absorb his words without starting to cry!
Zach: When I met you, my life was good, but there was always something missing. After only a few dates, I knew you were the person I needed. I knew you were the one. I found a new satisfaction in life that was exciting and real. I felt whole. Carrie, I love you because every day you expect me to be a better man than the day before. You’re never satisfied with the normal thing, only greatness. I love you because there is no one like you in the world. You’re caring, thoughtful, and the funnest person that I have ever met. I promise to love you no matter what. I promise to wake up every day with the thought of making our lives better. I promise to work as hard and as long as I need to make sure we accomplish all of our goals. I promise to listen to what you need and continue my quest to be your perfect partner. I cannot wait to spend my life with you.
Next was my turn! Ahhh!!! Thankfully, my acting training from back in the day kicked in, and I was able to keep a clear and strong voice, despite the emotional weight of the moment.
Carrie: Zach, when I met you, unexpectedly, the timing was horrible. But it didn’t take me long to fall in love with you. For the first time ever, I felt that my life was not all about me anymore. You were the first and only person who I ever considered changing my best-laid life plans for. When we were continents apart I laid under my African mosquito net and dreamed of our future together as I fell asleep. I think I knew, even then, that we would someday be standing where we are right now. Zach, I love that you are constantly seeking to learn more about the world. I love how you can’t ever read a book or watch a movie without something making you say “I want to do that!” or “I want to go there!” I love that you are so calm under pressure, so laid back, and so optimistic and joyful about life. In you I find a balance I desperately need, and I am so grateful for that. I love that you have so many talents and are wildly successful at anything you try, from hockey, to science, to music, to cooking. Every day I am more proud that you are mine. Zach, because I love you, I promise to always be by your side. To take care of you when you’re sick or sad or tired. To seek to understand you more every day. I promise to control my temper and impatience, to be a better partner for you every day. I promise to appreciate the ways in which we are different, as they make us perfectly compatible. I promise to use my skills and abilities to make all of our adventures unforgettable. I promise to support you and to prioritize our relationship no matter what obstacles we encounter. Love, I believe, is an action and a choice and I will choose to love you even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, and even when I don’t want to. And I promise that I will be faithful to you, and God willing, we will keep exploring the world together until we are both old and gray.
Since we didn’t buy new or different wedding bands, we exchanged the same rings we had been wearing as engagement rings all along. The symbolism of rings was still an important part of the ceremony for us.
The rings on our fingers, we were almost done!
Grandpa: Forasmuch as Zachary and Carrie have consented together in holy wedlock and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have pledged their faith each to the other, and have declared the same by joining hands and by giving and receiving rings; by the power vested in me by the state of Arizona, I now pronounce them husband and wife. What God has joined together let no one put asunder. Zach, you may now kiss the bride!
For the closing of our ceremony, we couldn’t help but include the commonly-used but wonderful Apache Wedding Blessing. This blessing spoke perfectly to our love for travel, adventure, and each other!
“Now you will feel no storms, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of you is companion to the other, You are two persons, but there is one life before you, and one home. Turn together to look at the road you traveled, to reach this—the hour of your happiness. It stretches behind you into the past. Look to the future that lies ahead. A long and winding, adventure-filled road, whose every turn means discovery, new hopes, new joys, new laughter, and a few shared tears. May happiness be your companion, May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead; And through all the years to come. Go this day to your dwelling place and enter into your days together. May your days be good and long upon the earth. Your adventure has just begun!”
As we recessed down the aisle in a haze of exhilaration, “That’s What’s Up” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played and all of our guests clapped and cheered for us!
Totally unexpectedly, the recessional actually produced some of my favorite pics from our day! Aren’t the looks of pure joy on our faces just unbeatable?
Editor's Note: Today, Carrie is dishing about the wedding photographer that made her change her mind about hiring a pro. I just wanted to take this opportunity to shout this from the rooftops - a professional wedding photographer is ALWAYS worth the splurge. (You'll notice I said a "professional" wedding photographer. While hiring a newbie or handing the task over your cousin Buzz might save…