We went super high tech and played all our music on our Beats Pill. Melissa was my maid of honour AND in charge of music. She handled it like a pro. (We had tested the Beats Pill beforehand to make sure it would be loud enough. It was. But our wedding day was windy which affected the bluetooth I guess, so the music cut out a bit at times. One of a few things to "go wrong" but it really didn't matter. In the end, we were married!)
Hours before the wedding we made a quick trip to the mall and ended up buying umbrellas because it was calling for rain. We ended up not using them (yay!) and just gave them away at our reception.
I love this photo.
My dad walked me "down the aisle" to Sara Bareilles' "I Choose You." No particular significance, I just found it a couple months before the wedding and liked the lyrics.
And this one.
I don't remember what Sally, our officiant, said here, but I know there was no "giving away" talk. I'm my own person; no one's giving me away.
I sifted through many possible readings for our wedding and as soon as I read “Union” by Robert Fulghum, I knew it was the one. I read it to Tony and he agreed. I also knew that Cara would be the one to read it, but I don't even think I asked her until she was already in Fredericton.
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance
to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry.
From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed,
you have been making commitments in an informal way.
All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal,
or during long walks – all those conversations that began with,
"When we're married", and continued with "I will" and "you will" and "we will" –
all those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe" –
and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.
All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make
are a way of saying to one another,
"You know all those things that we've promised, and hoped, and dreamed –
well, I meant it all, every word."
Look at one another and remember this moment in time.
Before this moment you have been many things to one another –
acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher,
for you have learned much from one another these past few years.
Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life,
and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.
Tony and I wrote our vows separately, but while we were in the same room. We agreed that we would read them to each other before the wedding; we wanted to know what we were saying to each other that day and weren't sure we'd be able to fully absorb it at the time.
As soon as I was done writing mine, I read them to Tony and I cried.
Tony finished writing his the next day, read them to me, and I teared up. Then I read mine to him again (we wanted the full effect) and he cried.
Because of all this, we weren't sure how things would go during the ceremony. Would we cry or would we just be too excited?
Tony, I feel like my whole life has been leading me to you.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a worrier. I have been my whole life. And when I was young, I used to worry, “What if the person I’m supposed to be with is on the other side of the world?!” It turns out, you were. Literally.
Anyone who knows me also knows that I read blogs. About a year before we met, I wrote this comment on a blog:
“I’m the girl who screams in excitement when I notice the Christmas stuff is out. Or when I find a bottle of lemonade in the fridge that I had forgotten about. And I’ve been called everything from fun, to interesting, to eccentric, to weird. I get compliments on my “sunshiney-ness” and I get called annoying. But I’m just being me and I think that’s a good thing.
But because I’m the way I just described, I sometimes worry that I’m not going to find someone who will love me, not just despite these things but because of these things. I worry that I will annoy anyone that I’m around for that much time.”
Babe, I remember, very early on in our relationship, I think two weeks? We were walking home from hot pot and I was singing to you. Any song I knew the words to. “Daddy’s Girl,” I think. And maybe some John Mellencamp. You looked at me and said, “You’re crazy... I love it!”
Tony, you are my best friend. That is such a cliché, but it’s true. We are just as likely to walk down the street with our arms slung around each other’s shoulders as we are to hold hands “romantically.”
We also argue sometimes, as friends do. I remember a year ago, after one of our bigger arguments, I said, “Maybe love is making the same choice again and again, choosing to love each other." Tony, I promise to make that choice every day.
I remember sitting on Nan’s deck about three months after we started dating, and I looked at her and said, “Nan, I’d marry him right now if I had to. I know I don’t have to, but I would, happily.
That same summer, two years ago, I was reading Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand, and right there on the page, was a line that I knew would someday describe you, describe us: “He did two things for me every single day of our marriage: he made me laugh, and he was my friend.”
I promise you that I will try to do those same things for you. I promise that I will never forget how lucky I am.
One more thing: Wǒ xǐ huān nǐ xiàng hái zi xǐ huān bīng ji líng.*
Tony started to cry as he read his vows so I stepped closer and for some reason grabbed his pockets for the rest of the time he was reading.
From the very beginning until today, it hasn’t been that long, but we’ve been through a lot—ups and downs. We are very different in some ways—I always say “I’ll do it later” and you like things done a certain way—but maybe it’s these imperfections that make us perfect partners.
Every time you feel sad and cry because of unhappy things, I feel sad, too. My heart hurts. I wish I could take the sadness away and make it my own, but I can’t. What I can do is just stay quietly by you and calm you down until the pain is gone.
When you laugh very big because of tiny things, I will be touched by you, indescribably, and I feel happy, too. You said you like my laughter but I like yours more, because when you laugh I feel happy. From your laughing I know that you have a good kind heart. And your laughing is more important than anything else to me.
You gave up almost everything, left Canada, came to China, all these years later, I think when you come back here again, you might feel lonely sometimes, because everything is changed than before, cannot feel a complete home now, of course Beijing won’t give you that complete home feeling either, but I promise you that from today on, wherever we go, I will make that place your home, wont let you feel lonely any more.
We always say “Go Team!”, I feel very grateful about that, because I will have you as my teammate in my life. I also wish that we could be a team forever, help each other, understand each other, compromise with each other, and trust each other.
Thank you for being the love of my life and my best friend.
Tony and I agreed that we wanted to say "traditional" wedding vows, too, because we think the words, the promises, have value. So we did the whole repeat after me thing:
I, Amanda, take you, Tony, to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
I, Tony, take you, Amanda, to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
Our rings, including my engagement ring, were handmade by Kristin Coffin.
And then it was time to exchange rings!
As we were exchanging rings, we each said: I offer you this ring as a sign of my devotion and desire to make you happy every day for the rest of your life. (Tony chose this because he said making me happy is his goal.)
I was probably thinking, 'Oh my God! We're husband and wife! Yay!'
First kiss as husband and wife!
I think I was tearing up.
While we signed our marriage license, Phillip Phillips' "Home" played. This was Tony's choice; here's the first time he played it for me.
For real, we said, "Go team!" This is something we say often—after making an important decision, folding laundry together, eating a delicious meal somewhere.
*I like you like kids like ice cream.
P.S. More wedding posts, including our invitations, our Chinese wedding, the 7 wedding dresses I tried on, and my bachelorette weekend in Hong Kong.
(Photos by Kandise Brown)