The sign outside the morning of the wedding.
The empty sanctuary the morning of the wedding.
I guess I should talk a little about how we decided to get married in the church. I grew up attending every Sunday with my family and as an adult was a very active member of my congregation. I am even an ordained elder in the Presbyterian church. I had been part of the Northridge congregation since I was 10 years old. It was pretty important to me to get married, not just in "the church"- but in MY church.
Ross is Jewish, but isn't practising. He had no desire for a Jewish ceremony, but had reservations about a Christian ceremony. When he first told me that he was uncomfortable with a church wedding I certainly shed a tear. Ross knew it was important to me and so we talked about his reasons for not wanting to get married at Northridge. I absolutely understood his concerns. He was mostly worried about things that he might be asked to say or parts of the ceremony that he wouldn't agree with. As he put it, our wedding ceremony was too important to him to say things that he didn't believe. I reassured him that I didn't think it would be a problem and that we could meet with the minister to talk about it.
Around this time, the minister of the past several decades was making plans to retire. I was actually on the search committee that brought Ben (the new minister) to the church. I knew during the search process that whoever was hired would be the one presiding over our wedding. At first I felt sadness about the fact that my childhood minister wouldn't be doing the ceremony, as he would have retired by that time. In the end though, it was so special to have Ben do the ceremony. Ben really only knew me as part of a couple with Ross, so we were able to both get to know him on equal footing. Had my childhood minister done the ceremony, he would have been decidedly "my" minister- rather than someone that both Ross and I had a relationship with together.
We had 4 pre-marital sessions with Ben that were really great. We got to know Ben and he got to know us. It was really helpful in tailoring a ceremony that we were all comfortable with. Ben was great in working to make Ross comfortable and letting him know that we wouldn't do or say anything that he didn't want to do or say. This really put Ross at ease and made it so that we had a very personal service that we were both really happy with. I think the flexibility of the church really surprised Ross.
Sadly, I don't have any pics of the rehearsal itself. It went pretty smoothly and helped me feel a bit calmer about how everything would go. I was actually surprisingly calm about the whole thing. Ben was more nervous about it than we were, I think. It was going to be his first wedding at Northridge. Being a father of 2 young children, he was especially nervous about our little ring bearers. We assured him that we were fine with rolling with their behaviour and whatever happened would be fine.
After we'd finished rehearsing the ceremony and teasing Ben, our soloist (the ring bearers dad) met with the church music director to rehearse his piece for the service. They butted heads a bit over artistic interpretation, which to be honest was pretty amusing. Then it was off to meet the rest of the family at Buca di Beppo!
All photos in this post by Shari Hunt