Mike Mullins was my guitarist for the evening and I asked him to create an arrangement of the song Free Falling to play while I walked down the aisle. Tom Petty’s song Free Falling is my all time favorite because it is associated with so many great memories and people. And what better memory to associate a song with than your wedding, right? So, when I heard the first few cords of Free Falling, my nerves drifted away, and I swear, I was smiling from ear to ear. I remember looking down the aisle at Jon and feeling my heart soar with joy. It was an amazing moment, and I’m not sure I have ever felt that level of happiness.
The beginning of the ceremony was marked by the ringing of a Tibetan singing bowl, and then our phenomenal officiant Rev. Dawn Smith-Camacho began officiating our heartfelt yet light-hearted ceremony. Throughout I was caught between wanting to burst into tears and wanting to laugh hysterically.
What are the Chances?
What are the chances, / That one in seventy thousand people, / Hails from Baltimore, / But has a dear friend in Nashville?What are the chances,/ That over five years and seven hundred miles, / One of those dear friends, / Shares a home with one bound for California sun?What are the chances, / That from an evening of playoff football, / Dining on and dancing down Broadway, / The offer of a coat is what’s most remembered?What are the chances, / A man raised on the Atlantic Seaside, / Chases after a girl from Tennessee, / Making her home amongst the Pacific Breakers?What are the chances, / The perfect ending to a love story, / Staring off into a Sunset above the waves, / Was really the perfect beginning?What are the chances, / That the space between Nashville’s crowded streets, / And the unrelenting pace of life in Atlanta, / Couldn’t strain or part two hearts?What are the chances, / Scorched pot roasts, / Time and time again, / Could seem to be a man’s favorite meal?What are the chances, / That a fearsome War Eagle, / And a feisty Gamecock, / Would come to be birds of a feather?What are the chances, / That a rock in a ring, / By a lake near a house, / Could so very deeply touch two lives?What are the chances, / Two people from different worlds, / Travel thousands of miles in opposite directions, / Only to find and love one another?What are the chances, / God Still Knows Exactly What He’s Doing, / When He Makes Two People For Each Other, / Then Joins Two Hearts By His Plan?What are the Chances? / A Sure Thing Isn’t Left to Chance.
Another favorite part was the rock ceremony. So, you are probably asking, what’s a rock ceremony? (just as all of our guests were when they received cloth covered rocks!) So let me explain. During my time as a group therapist, we would create closure for our patients departing the group by asking them to pick a rock. The patient would then pass their chosen rock around the group and each member would symbolically put their own wish, hope, or prayer into the rock for their departing peer. I loved this ceremony so much that I decided to include a version of it in the wedding. Each guest was given a special, polished rock to symbolize their unique individuality and their importance to our life journeys. As my friend, Meg Rew, sang the song Feels Like Homeeach guest was then invited to take a moment to make a wish or blessing for mine and Jon’s lives together and place their rocks in passed vases. Following the song, Jon and I combined our vases into one, and Rev. Dawn shared the following:
As the stones are now combined into one container, so now are your friends and family joined, through you, into one. What was once separate is now shared. In this new sharing, may you both find a new depth of strength and joy, as you now move through your life’s path together. The individuality of each stone is maintained, even as it is a part of this complex whole, just as you two maintain your individualities, but are now united as part of a vibrant collective of love and strength.
Now, our rocks are on our dinning room table, and I can’t sit down at our table without thinking of our wedding guests. Jon periodically picks up a rock and says, “whose do you think this is?” It makes me laugh every time!
(All wedding day photography by Katie Snyder)
To end the ceremony, we had my dear friend, Kathryn Palmer, read a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and then we were pronounced husband and wife!! The ceremony truly was a great representation of our relationship and personalities with its sentiment and light-hearted touches. I couldn’t have been happier.