January 20, 2014

our wedding story: part four // the ceremony

the heart & the soul of a wedding day. the moment where a marriage feels its first heartbeats and is brought to life. the moment where all of the dreaming, the praying, the planning, the learning, and the loving finally intersect and flourish into something deep & profound. we strongly believe that a marriage rooted in love is one of God's greatest gifts. that we are forever connected to another soul, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually is an indescribable thing. nothing can or ever will tear us apart. for the rest of our lives, we are one. 

we also believe that marriage is a mission. a call. through our unconditional love, we can reflect Christ's unconditional love. when we forgive each other, Jesus is in the middle of that. when we face hardships and still choose each other, every day, we model the kind of dedication and devotion God demonstrates toward us, no matter the cost. no matter how many times we hurt Him, fail Him, or let Him down, He always chooses us. and we are known intimately by each other. marriage brings out all the uglies in your heart, but it also brings out your best. together, you encourage each other to become better, ultimately, to become more like Jesus.

i wish i could relive this hour. it was so powerful. most importantly, we wanted it to clearly point to our Savior, who brought us together in the first place, who, by grace, has called us to a life of love. the music, our officiates (who made us laugh, cry, and overall feel deeply encouraged), and our guests all helped make this a sacred moment. 

praying with my girlfriends moments before the ceremony was the moment when suddenly everything felt so real. i was so touched by their words, and so excited for what was going to happen next...at the end of it, we were all a sobbing mess. 

every girl hopes their groom will cry when he sees her for the first time. but honestly, i highly doubted Travis would. i fully expected him to just smile the biggest smile i'd ever seen. oh but he lost it, and it was awesome!

every girl also dreams of the day her father will walk her down the aisle. but that's a dream that just wasn't meant to be for my sisters & i. he was so present, so there in our hearts, but i was privileged to have my mom and my brother take that role and give me away. i couldn't be luckier to have them in my life. 

we also officially "unplugged" our ceremony by asking all of our guests to leave their cell phones and cameras in their pockets and purses. during a wedding, i'm always surprised at how many people are watching it all unfold through their camera lens rather than actually being there as a witness. we knew we had a phenomenal photographer, and we didn't need a dozen amateur instagram shots of our ceremony. that's not what it was about anyway. we wanted it to be an intimate time between us, our family, and our closest friends - not gadgets, electronics, and the internet world. as a bride and a photographer, it was one of the best decisions we made. 

our second officiate, george, was one my dad's best friends, so it was so moving to have him there with us on our wedding day. he brought an element to the ceremony that no one else could, and honored my dad in the most genuine way. 

after we exchanged rings, promised our vows, and sealed it all with a kiss, we were finally mr. & mrs. gilley - and then the partay started! stay tuned for more tomorrow! =) 

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