Wedding Recap: The Ceremony

Though I love dancing and eating wedding cake, my favorite part of any wedding is the ceremony. No contest.

It’s during the ceremony when I feel like I get to experience the love between the couple. Watching the bride and groom as they promise to be together forever warms my heart. If the groom cries, I’m done. I’m crying like a baby until the couple walks back down the aisle, arm in arm.

Well, guess what?

My groom cried. 001_CeremonyAnd so did I.009_CeremonyAnd so did my dad.

But we also laughed. 029_CeremonyOur wedding ceremony was all that I hoped it would be.

As I said before in a previous post, I felt oddly calm as I got ready with my bridesmaids on our wedding day. I wasn’t nervous. I simply felt ready.

I remember piling into the tiny hotel elevator with my six bridesmaids and my dad. I held onto my dad’s arm as my sister held my train. Everyone was chattering with excitement. Everyone except my dad.

He had a calm smile on his face, but tears in his eyes. I squeezed his arm and he looked at me.

"Are you ready?" I asked him. He nodded his head.

We exited the elevator and lined up inside the hotel while Ryan, his groomsmen and our guests waited outside in the tea garden. 075_CeremonyAt promptly 5:30 in the evening, our mothers were seated by Ryan’s best men. 069_Ceremony 072_CeremonyBack in the hotel, I told all of my bridesmaids how beautiful they looked. They had the biggest smiles on their faces. I literally squealed with excitement and anticipation. It felt amazing to be standing arm-in-arm with my father, looking at my best friends as they were about to walk down the aisle before me to Canon in D.

My sister was the last one to walk. She looked at me and my dad and smiled, giving us a tight hug before heading down the aisle. 086_CeremonyThen the music changed. Wagner’s Bridal Chorus.

It was my turn.

I looked at my dad, and squeezed his arm as he led me outside and down the aisle. 005_CeremonyI told him he was doing a good job as we slowly walked down the aisle. I couldn’t stop smiling. 008_CeremonyOnce I locked eyes with Ryan, my eyes began to water. I couldn’t stop looking at him. 003_CeremonyHe had tears in his eyes. I will never forget the way he looked at me that day for as long as I live. He was so strong through the rehearsal that I assumed he would handle the ceremony in the same way. To see him so emotional really moved me.

After hugging and kissing my dad, I faced Ryan and held his hands as our pastor welcomed everyone and blessed our special day. 024_Ceremony023_CeremonyOur pastor did an incredible job. His voice was loud and full of character and joy.

During the beginning of the ceremony, we presented our mothers with roses to symbolize the merging of two families. 040_CeremonyIn addition to the celebration of the love between Julie and Ryan, this wedding is also a celebration of family. It is the blending of two families, separate up to this moment, but united from this day forward. Julie and Ryan wish to honor this blending of the families by presenting a rose to their mothers — to thank their parents for the many selfless sacrifices they have made and for the unconditional love they’ve so freely given to their children. 041_Ceremony It was very important to us to recognize our mothers on our wedding day and we kept the presentation of a rose to each of them during our ceremony a secret. I love the look of surprise and emotion on my mother’s face in the above picture. And you can tell my dad is smiling beside her, which makes the picture all the better.

Following the presentation of a rose to our mothers, our pastor spoke about the three things we love most about each other.

When we first met with our pastor, he asked us to share the three things we loved most about each other with him. We were to write them down and send them to him. We wrote three long sentences each and sent them to Pastor Ryder a couple of months before our wedding. (You may remember when I first read Ryan’s three things back in July. I was so emotional!)

When Pastor Ryder read our three things aloud on the day of our wedding, he made everyone laugh by pointing out that we couldn’t seem to just list the three things we loved most about each other, stating that we "didn’t stop at five, six or even seven things" within our sentences. 028_Ceremony011_CeremonyApparently we are both long winded… as I’m sure you already know if you’re a regular blog reader. 😀

Our pastor kept the ceremony upbeat but still conveyed the emotion and love we felt that day.

I remember feeling so grateful when it was time for the first prayer. Ryan and I looked up at each other as everyone bowed their heads. We wiped our eyes, smiled and mouthed "I love you" before praying with our pastor and guests.

We got teary eyed again as our pastor read a poem we selected aloud and we repeated each line after him.

In your eyes, I have found my home.
In your heart, I have found my love.
In your soul, I have found my mate.
With you, I am whole, full, alive.
You make me laugh. You let me cry.
You are my breath, my every heartbeat.
I am yours.
You are mine.
Of this we are certain.
022_Ceremony Then it was time for our vows and the exchange of rings.032_Ceremony034_CeremonyI remember feeling like my whole body was shaking. I felt so vibrant and alive. I was actually becoming Ryan’s wife!

Before I knew it, our pastor was pronouncing us husband and wife and I was receiving my first kiss as a married woman.047_CeremonyI was so happy.

Arm-in-arm, we headed back down the aisle… officially married!

I love that our photographer captured my first look at my parents before we headed down the aisle. 050_CeremonyWe were all beaming.053_Ceremony055_CeremonyThe above picture captures more emotion in a single image than I could ever hope to in a million words. We were so excited, so in love.

To be continued…

(All photos courtesy of Gina Leigh. Our ceremony was led by Pastor Dean Ryder, whom I recommend whole heartedly to any brides in the St. Pete/ Tampa Bay area.)


  1. heather says

    bahahaha i just cried like a little kid reading this. what a blessed and beautiful day you had(to lead a blessed and beautiful life together, i’m sure). : )


  2. says

    Wow. Incredible. I can only hope my wedding will be that beautiful! I know it will but everything truly just turned out perfect for you! I agree that picture just shows how in love you two are. Its so precious!:)


  3. Jess says

    Another beautiful recap! I love that poem you chose-it captured the essence of your love for eachother. I may have to steal that someday to share with the love of my life 🙂


  4. says

    I just started reading you blog a month or so ago — and wow, so beautiful! This brings back so many memories of my wedding (almost 8 years ago!). I completely agree — the ceremony was the best part. It’s just you and your husband — nothing else matters. Thanks so much for sharing your day!


  5. Sarah says

    Ok, now i’m crying 🙂 Beautiful recap of what sounds like a very lovely and meaningful ceremony. Would love a guest post by Ryan to see what he remembers about the day!! A year later (or many years later), it’d be awesome to have a documented recap from both perspectives to look back on! I just went back to create a wedding album from my wedding in oct. 09 and it was really cool to go back and relive the day with pics, but having these posts to look back on will be really cool for you guys.


  6. says

    It’s hard to believe my sarcastic, cynical self is typing this, but the way you conveyed this experience – and the expression on your husband’s face, just brought tears to my eyes. I officially love witnessing, albeit from over the internet, people who are truly in love!


  7. says

    What a beautiful ceremony! Personally that’s always my least favorite part of weddings. Mostly because people don’t seem to make them personal. They always drag on and on with long boring speeches from the pastor going off in random tangents.

    I loved that my father-in-law married us so at least it was more personal.


  8. Lisa says

    Lately, ive been finding myself wanting a boyfriend sooooo badly! I couldnt figure out where this desire was coming from because I’ve been SO anti-relationship for over a year now! But after months of reading your blog and seeing the love between you and Ryan, I really really REALLY want a boyfriend!! Not just any guy, but my soulmate. The one I will marry and share an amazing day like this with! CONGRATS girly! May you be together forever and everrrrr!


  9. says

    Beautiful Julie!

    You can see the true love you and Ryan have and its so sweet! Thank you for sharing all the wedding recaps! They were all so amazing and the pics are beautiful!


  10. says

    This is such a beautiful post. Well, all of your wedding recaps so far have been beautiful. I love how your photographer caught the emotion of Ryan when he was watching you walk towards him. There was so much love in your ceremony. You can just tell that you and Ryan are perfect for each other. 🙂


  11. Melissa says

    Stunningly beautiful. How amazing that you have recorded all of this not only in pictures but also in words. You should have all of these posts compiled into a book & give it to Ryan for your anniversary. Thank you so much for sharing such an emotional, special day.


  12. Amber says

    Nothing like starting your day off with a good cry to ruin your make up lol. You’re wedding was absolutly breath taking, you can see how much in love you are in EVERY picture. What a wonderful love you have for one another, you’re adorable!


  13. says

    This is one of the most touching stories I have ever read. I don’t even know you but I feel as if I do in the way you expressed your thoughts and emotions here. Thank you for sharing this. It just makes me smile and tear up and reminds me how much I love my own husband. My husband and I have been married for 7 years and we were talking the other day that we love each other more and more each year and the funny thing is that when we got married we both thought that was as much love as we would have. We never dreamed that more would come. HA! But it does which is the most amazing thing. Enjoy your new married life, it is such a blessing when it is with the right person.


  14. Amanda says

    I am planning on my own wedding for Oct 2011, so reading your recaps is wonderful inspiration and great for gathering new ideas! Did you use a musician for your ceremony music??


  15. Leah says

    Great post Julie! I put on Cannon in D Minor and read that post. I couldn’t help smiling the whole post and getting the chills! What a special day it was!


  16. Allie @ Healthy Balance, Healthy Life says

    Oh my gosh this post is so beautiful my heart actually hurts from feeling! Congratulations girly 🙂 You have definitely met your perfect match.


  17. says

    Thank you for sharing this with us Julie! I mean that sincerely! It was such a personal BEAUTIFUL day, and I appreciate it so much that you shared your happiness and love! I love the way that Ryan looks at you! Your mother is a beautiful woman, and by looking at her you know that her inner beauty and heart are too great to describe with words. Your father is incredible, and such a GOOD man! Your sister is supportive and amazing! You are a lucky lady, and this happiness couldn’t have happened to anyone more deserving than you!
    Thank you!


  18. says

    I hope you also realize that you have definitely set the bar and standard HIGH for all future relationships and especially boyfriends/fiances/husbands! After reading your posts about Ryan and yourself, these guys will have A LOT to live up to! lol!


  19. Amy @ SGTC says

    “Are you ready?” I asked him. He nodded his head.

    I just started tearing up what I read this. I don’t even know how I ended up on this page of your blog!

    So cute!


  20. Janielle says

    Your pics are amazing! Having only been married for two months I am sort of sad to say good bye to all the planning blogs I used to read. But your blog and wedding pics are so fun to look at! Congrats!


  21. Laura says

    I just found your blog as I was looking through pictures on pinterest, and this post made me so excited for my own wedding ceremony. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow a few ideas of yours! 🙂


  22. says

    Your wedding is beautiful! I feel like I know you already and want to be your friend! Your site is amazing and I too am a health nut. I have just launched my first blog too. I will continue to read yours of occurs tho, you seem like such a sweet person and your life looks awesome! I am so excited to see everything else you post, keep up the hard work!



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