The Magic Number
Three. That is how many years I have been officiating weddings. As I close out my third year of following a dream I didn't realize that I even had, I have grown a little nostalgic remembering all the couples that I have married in that time. It is well over 100 now... enough that I stopped counting in terms of numbers and have started counting in terms of memories. I remember the full-custom ceremony that I did for a couple that I did not know prior to being contracted. Devin and Kait. Our initial meeting was held at a Longhorn Steakhouse almost an hour from my house. I arrived early, snagged a table, and used the time practicing for the ceremony I was performing the following afternoon in which I was supposed to be speaking verses in Arabic at the request of the Bride. My nerves were shot as I did not want to make a single mistake. I knew how important it was for the Bride to have these words spoken while she stood with her Father and I didn't want to let her down. I wanted it to be everything that she dreamt it would be. So, I stared intently at the little notecards on which I had phonetically spelled out the entire paragraph and continued to perfect it. Before long, it was time for Devin and Kait to arrive. Since we had never met, I sat at a table with the best vantage point of the front door and waited to try and identify them. All of a sudden, the door opened and this extraordinarily beautiful couple walked in the door and began to look around expectantly. I waved timidly and they both broke into enormous smiles and greeted me warmly as they joined me at the table. We sat at that table for almost 2 hours. It was like meeting with old friends and I was so honored when they told me on the spot that they wanted to sign the contract right away, they had no doubts that they wanted me to perform their ceremony. They paid the deposit right away and we got to work!
The day of their summer wedding arrived quickly and it was as hot and sticky as you can expect in Georgia when it is late June. The ceremony and reception were held at the stunning 9 Oaks Farm in Monroe, GA. For anyone looking to get married in Walton County, this should be on your list of places to check out, without a doubt. So many details pop into my head when I think about that day. I remember the groom cake that was decorated to look exactly like a huge bottle of protein powder; the heartbreaking board of "stars" that displayed pictures of all of the family members that had transitioned from this world too early, all the mesmerizing twinkle lights that filled the room with a warm glow, the bride waiting in the bridal suite and completely relaxed in her Converse AllStars, the groom losing his vows and being able to save the day since I had printed a copy for him "just in case", the guest who looked so much like a cousin of mine that I ended up standing and talking to her longer than intended, hoping the multiple mic-packs that were attached precariously to my bra didn't drop out of the bottom of my dress at any point in the ceremony, and their wedding planner that was so down-to-earth but so good at keeping everything running smoothly. But most of all, I remember feeling like a rockstar as I returned to the back of the wedding hall and was stopped every few seconds by a guest who wanted to gush over what a beautiful ceremony I had written. They asked for cards, dropped their jaws when they found out I was not an old friend of then newlyweds, and hugged me as if I were part of their family. It was such an amazing experience. There have been so many more custom ceremonies since that day... but that was the one where I was sure that I had truly found my calling and knew I was doing exactly what I loved. I left that day completely soaked with sweat and floating on a cloud of joy!