Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We Finally Get to Honeymoon!

Image via Tourist Destinations
I'm interrupting my recaps for the next few weeks because we are finally leaving for our honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand this week (woot woot!!)  As some of you may recall, we decided to put off the honeymoon until this month for a number of reasons;
  • Since we had a destination wedding, that itself was like a vacation so we didn't want to take two trips back to back
  • It was winter down in Australia and New Zealand in May
  • With all the wedding hoopla over, it gave us something major to look forward to (and most importantly, gave me something else to plan!)
We have a jam-packed itinerary put together for us by Down Under Endeavours that includes 8 cities, 10 flights and a number of once-in-a-lifetime activities/excursions (Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef? Check.  Hugging a Koala? Check.)  We've even invested in a sweet Fuji underwater digital camera (paid for by one of the Amazon gift cards we got from our registry--HOLLA!!) so we can get some cool shots while doing water activities.
We will be gone for nearly a month and will be traveling to regions varying from 100 degree weather (Daintree Rainforest in Australia) to 45 degree weather (Queenstown, New Zealand).  So the major thing on my mind is--how's a girl to pack for all seasons utilizing only one big suitcase?!?

To start, I basically threw a bunch of personal care, beauty and medicinal stuff together and divvied them up into separate carrying cases.  Then, I threw my clothes in a huge pile and started eliminating items that can't be worn multiple times or mix n' matched.  But the hardest part were the shoes--I somehow whittled it down to only 7 pairs (ooh the humanity!!)  I know that may sound insane to some of you, but each shoe was chosen carefully based on it's practicality and versatility.
It was a long, arduous process, but somehow I went from this hot mess;

To this;

Nice, neat and ready to go :)  Because we're traveling so far, Mr. M and I have decided to put half of each others' stuff in each suitcase--that way if one bag gets lost or delayed, we'll both at least have some things to hold us over.  We also bought a few packets of Tide so we can do laundry a few times while we are there (allowing us to pack less stuff).

But really, at the end of the day we just need our passports (plus ETA visas for Australia) and each other--anything else can always be purchased abroad!

So ciao for now--looking forward to sharing our honeymoon hi-jinx with you all when we get back!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This Modern Love: Ceremony Finale

After the emotional vows, it was time to exchange rings.  Remember my post months ago about what to engrave in his ring?  We ultimately decided on the name of our favorite Bloc Party song (and one of our relationship "theme" songs), our initials and wedding date.  So inside his ring says This Modern Love M+C 5/25/13.  Bonus points for that being my recap title as well :)

But before that, Brother Rolph had to get the official blessing from our guests--in French and English of course.

Brother Rolph: Et vous famille, amis, voulez vous donner votre benediction et leur promette amour et soutien, dites "Oui, nous le voulons".
Guest: Oui, nous le voulons!

Brother Rolph: Friends, do you give them your blessings and support? Say "We will".
Guests: We will!

Then, it was time to get the rings from his brother/best man.

All photos by Sarelle Photos

I love this part of the ceremony where he explains the tradition behind the wedding ring.  Many of our guests have never heard it before, so this was something that struck a chord with a lot of people.

Brother Rolph: The custom of exchanging wedding rings is a very beautiful and ancient tradition which existed in the time of the ancient Egyptians. They offered and placed a wedding ring on the 4th finger of the left hand in the belief that this finger had a vein which connected directly to the heart. Christopher and Martine, may these rings seal the pledge of love and loyalty between both of you. Love, freely given, has no beginning and no end. Love freely given, has no giver and receiver separately. You are both receiver and giver. 

Brother Rolph: Christopher please take this ring and place it on Martine’s finger while repeating after me: “Martine with this ring, you become my wife, and with it, I give you, all the treasures of my mind, my heart, and my hands.” 

Brother Rolph: Martine please take this ring and place it on Christopher’s finger while repeating after me: “Christopher with this ring, you become my husband, and with it, I give you, all the treasures of my mind, my heart, and my hands.” 

Then we did a unique version of the hand tying ceremony, using Brother Rolph's stole to wrap our joined hands.

Brother Rolph:  Christopher and Martine now that your hands are bound, remember that your lives are one and that wherever you may be, the Weaver of Love which has woven the tapestry of your lives together, is forever holding you, binding you and encircling you. Remain confident in this Love, knowing that it never dies. 

And finally, the moment we had all been waiting for!

Brother Rolph: And now, by that which has been bestowed as a Minister ordained to perform this ritual. It is my joy to announce you as husband and wife. You may now seal these vows with a kiss.

You can't tell from the pictures, but we were full on making out for a few seconds--whoops!  Guess we got a little carried away lol.  I finally pulled away and apparently he kissed my neck (something some guests hilariously pointed out on one of the video clips).  

To end, Brother Rolph said the following beautiful closing blessing;

“Now, you will feel no rain
For each of you will be a shelter to the another.
Now you will feel no cold, For each of you will be warmth to the other. 
Now there is no more loneliness, Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. 
Go now to your dwelling place 
To enter into the days of your life together 
And may your days be good and long upon the earth."

We were officially married!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This Modern Love: Our Vows (or, the One Where Everyone Cries)

After the readings and the declaration of intent (where we actually say "I Do"), it was time for the vows.  I am SO glad I had the foresight to stick some tissue in the bodice of my dress, because within the first 10 seconds of his vows, Mr. M had me bawling.

All photos by Sarelle Photos

He wrote what everyone agreed were pretty much the best vows ever. 

"Martine, no words can describe my love for you and what you mean to me. 

I struggled for weeks trying to write down our history together, from the first meeting in Hoboken, our first real kiss on a pier in the city, the first time I said I love you in Aruba, to when we decided to move in together during our anniversary dinner at Ibiza {restaurant}, to when I proposed to you in East Rock park. 

I had a hundred bullet points of what I love about you. Your attention to detail, your love for music, your passion for planning, your desire to be an amazing cook, your drive to be successful, your undying love for your friends / your family and my family, your unconditional love for me regardless of my actions and your faith, passion and support of our relationship. 

Then I tried to write down what promises I wanted to make to you today. That I will always be faithful to you, that I will always treat you with respect and listen to you, that I will support you in achieving all of your dreams, that I will always make you laugh and never cause you to cry, that I will take care of you no matter what happens, that I will always be a role model to you and our future family, that when our kids grow up they will remember having two loving parents like both have today and that when we both leave this earth... I will follow you into the dark. 

But no words can describe my love for you. I will show you every day that I love you. I will kiss you every morning. I will hold you every night. I will be there whenever you need me. I will show you that I believe in you and your dreams. I will be an amazing husband to you and father to our children. I will provide for you, I will love you and I will never be the same without you.  I love you."

The part that got me the most was his line "I will follow you into the dark".  Our favorite song by the band Death Cab for Cutie has the same title, and I pretty much lost it when he made that reference.

At this point, I didn't even bother with the tissue
Once he was done, our guests erupted into applause (and I later heard that every person in the room had tears in their eyes).  Next up, it was my turn.  GULP.  I was momentarily freaking out because I put two jokes in my vows.  His were 100% serious so I started to second-guess myself and considered skipping over them.  I didn't want to kill the buzz of the moment, but at the same time, the jokes I wanted to mention were SO relevant to Mr. M, that anyone who knew him would get it and laugh immediately--so I decided to keep them in.  And I'm glad I did!

Love that smile!  Glad I kept my jokes in
 "Chris, standing here with you today, I can't help but think back on the nearly 8 years we've been together. The fact that the first 4 of those years were long distance, and that we were only able to see each other a few days a month was both incredibly exhilarating and achingly heart-breaking.  Seeing you each time always felt like the first time and saying goodbye to you each time was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But despite that, I didn’t know love like this existed until I met you. Although we were physically apart most of that time, we grew closer than ever because we knew that no matter what the obstacles and circumstances, there was nothing that would stop us from being together. 

There are so many things I love about you. I love your unfailing self-confidence in any situation and your hard work ethic. I love your sense of humor and that you never take yourself too seriously. I love how open you are to new experiences and how we're passionate about so many of the same things in life. I love that you embrace everything about me and encourage and support all my dreams and aspirations. You’ve shown me the true meaning of unconditional love, dedication, companionship...even the importance of only flying Delta Airlines so we can get free upgrades. 

As we start our new life together today, I want to make a few promises for the future. I promise to be faithful and honest. I promise to always be your best friend, to celebrate your triumphs and comfort you through hard times. And I promise to not only learn to like football, but to also support the Green Bay Packers (unless they’re playing the Giants of course). 

I can’t say for certain that there is only one person out there for everyone. But what I believe with every fiber of my being is that you and I were put on this earth for each other. You are my best friend, my partner and I can't wait to become your wife. Only God knows what the future has in store for us but what I can say with absolute certainty is that Chris...you are, always have been, and always will be, the love of my life."

Mr. M got pretty emotional, and I LOVE the shots our photographers took of both him and his dad tearing up during my vows.

After more tears and applause from the guests, we all eventually regained our composure enough to finish up the ceremony.

If you want to see a few seconds of our vows "live", check out the video below at the :53 second mark.

Miss a recap?  Fret not!  Catch up below;
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This Modern Love: A Beautiful Start to the Ceremony

Guys, I'm kind of obsessed with our officiant, Brother Rolph.  He is the sweetest, kindest person we've ever met and we knew within a few minutes of meeting him that he would be the perfect officiant for our ceremony.  He was a Franciscan monk for 40 years, has studied all major religions and practices Inter-Faith ministry.  Although Mr. M and I are both Christian (he's Lutheran, I'm Catholic), neither of us are practicing so we didn't want an overly religious ceremony.  But we did want a spiritual one, and Brother Rolph was the perfect choice.

All photos by Sarelle Photos

Brother Rolph started off by greeting our guests in both English and French, and then said the following beautiful words.  FYI, I've bolded the lines below that resonated the most with me.

"Martine and Christopher, we, as witnesses, bind ourselves, to the labor of love that both of you are undertaking here now.  True marriage means to be a friend and a partner, to be open with each other, to trust and reveal yourselves to each other, even as a rose opens to reveal its beauty and fragrance.  Allow each other to be an individual.  Accept your partner as you yourself would wish to be accepted. Provide a refuge and sanctuary for one another, let your marriage be a true center of peace, harmony and warmth of soul and spirit.  Encourage one another, have confidence in each other and love one another. Love is your river of life, the eternal source of re-creation."

Next, my cousin Christina did the first reading--an excerpt from "The Prophet" by Khalil Gabran.

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, 
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping; For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together; For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Afterwards, my cousin Tiffany did the second reading, "A Traditional Irish Blessing".

"May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. 
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. 
May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children's children. 
May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, 
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward. 
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back 
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home 
And may the hand of a friend always be near. 
May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, 
May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.

Next up, our tearjerker vows.  Get your tissues ready!

Miss a recap?  Fret not!  Catch up below;
    Monday, September 9, 2013

    This Modern Love: A Walk to Remember

    After we were done taking the bridal party photos outside, we headed back to the penthouse to chill for a few minutes before the ceremony--at this point it was around 3:45pm and with a start time of 4pm, guests were starting to arrive, so we didn't want to be seen beforehand.  While up there, we actually took some awesome photos using the WeddingParty App, but I'll share those in a later post.

    Before we knew it, our wedding planner Rachel called up to the room to let us know that all the guests had arrived.  It was finally showtime!  We all headed down and as we were lining up for the processional, I heard the sweet sounds of our string quartet, Cadenza Strings, playing the songs we had previously chosen.

    All photos by Sarelle Photos

    The beautiful sounds of Cadenza Strings
    Guys, I can't rave enough about these musicians.  Prior to the wedding, I worked with the owner Brenna to choose all the music from the Pre-Lude to the Recessional.  Not only did they have a huge repertoire of the classic wedding songs, but they also had a vast selection of pop and modern songs.  There were a few songs that we special to us that were not included in their repertoire, so they charged a small amount to learn the 3 additional pieces.  

    They played so incredibly beautifully and in that moment, I truly felt the gravity of what was about to happen.  I was surrounded by my friends and family, about to marry the love of my life, while classically trained musicians played some of the songs that have defined our relationship over the past 8 years.  This memory is stored in my mind as one of the most perfect moments of my life.

    As Cadenza Strings started to play Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis, it was time for Mr. M to walk down the aisle with his parents, followed by the groomsmen.

    Mr. M looks like he's about to lose it
    And he regains his composure
    Mr. M and his brother/best man share a hug
    After the guys were done, the musicians switched over to the song I had chosen for both my bridesmaids and myself to walk down the aisle to--it was Fix You by Coldplay.  I had known I would walk down to this song about 8 months earlier, when I first heard the Vitamin String Quartet version of this.  I was on the train one day and it literally brought tears to my eyes.  I knew then that I absolutely had to choose this song as my processional.  You have to listen to it to really get a sense of the moment (and Cadenza played it just as beautifully as VSQ).  My grand entrance was around the 3:20 mark.

    Fix You by Vitamin String Quartet on Grooveshark

    The ladies lined up and ready to go
    My sister/MOH

    I love my mom's smile here!

     And with the long walk over, it was finally time to get married :)

    Here is a list of the music we had Cadenza Strings play.

    Falling Slowly (from the movie Once)
    Something - by the Beatles
    Haiti - by Arcade Fire
    Moon River - by Henry Mancini
    So Here We Are - by Bloc Party

    Groom & Groomsmen Processional:
    Can't Help Falling in Love - by Elvis Presley

    Bridesmaids & Bride Processional:
    Fix You - by Coldplay

    Home - by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

    Are you using any of these songs for your ceremony?

    Miss a recap?  Fret not!  Catch up below;