Quick story. The sweetest part of our wedding day for me was when my brother, dad, and cousin came over that morning. Glen handed me a tiny gift bag. He told me it was from Sidney. Knowing it would be best to open in private, I went upstairs to see what it was. Sidney had written me a heartfelt note and knitted a handkerchief with a special message. It was a beautiful gesture and set the day off perfectly.
Now that I got that emotional moment off my chest, let me back up just a little bit. I woke up at our house at 7 a.m. Sidney had stayed the night at her parents. It was important to both of us that we didn’t see each other until she walked down the aisle a little after 1 p.m. that afternoon. I spent the next few hours packing for the honeymoon, writing in my journal, and just gathering myself.
It was at 10 a.m. when the guys came over. My brother was my best man, my cousin was a groomsman, and my dad also had a tux to match us. Kenny, another groomsman, was already with me as he stayed at our house. On the way over, my family had picked up breakfast from Bojangles. So before we started to jump into our tuxedos we all scarfed down chicken fillet biscuits. My west coast fellas couldn’t believe how good they were.
With breakfast completed, I hit the shower. I then got dressed with my dad helping every step of the way. He pulled my tie straight, helped me with my cuffs, and opened up the jacket for me to slip into. With my best man, my groomsmen, and myself ready to go, my dad jumped in the shower and then into his suit. There now wasn’t anything left to do except go to the site of the wedding. A little bit before noon, we piled into a rental car and made the drive to St. Andrew Catholic Church.
Once inside the church we hung out for about 20 minutes. We took some photos, tested out the geofilter, and talked amongst ourselves. Guests started to show up. Our priest, Father James LeBlanc, appeared from the front of the church and walked to the back to greet me. Word spread that the bride and her bridesmaids had arrived. My groomsmen started to escort guest to their seats. We were now only about 20 minutes away from show time!
For the month leading up to the wedding, I fielded the “Are you nervous yet?” question over and over. Each time I said no. A couple minutes before the service started I felt the same way. Although I had to work hard to keep my emotions in check, I never had strong nerves.
It was time. The organist played Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and I walked my mom down the aisle to her seat. My brother-in-law then walked my mother-in-law down the aisle to her seat. With my mom and Brenda in their pews, it was time for the procession.
I walked behind Father LeBlanc to the altar. When we arrived he shook my hand. I stood off to the side and watched as my groomsmen made it to the front of the church. Then came Russel and Harrison, our flower girl and ring bearer. Following them were four beautiful women, Sidney’s bridesmaids (my sister, both of Sidney’s sisters, and Sidney’s best friend). With everyone now in their places except for the most important person, the time had arrived for the best moment of any wedding.
Sidney appeared at the start of the aisle looking breathtakingly gorgeous. With her dad to her right they started to walk toward me. St. Andrew has a looooooong aisle so it took a minute for them to reach the point of no return. When they arrived at the fourth pew from the front, Fr. LeBlanc nudged me to go get her. I walked to Mr. Sid (Sidney is named after her dad) and gave him a handshake followed by a hug. He then took Sidney’s hand and placed it in mine. Sid and I then walked to the front of the altar where Fr. LeBlanc stood before us.
Hallelujah! We had made it this far!
Fr. LeBlanc started the service, greeted the congregation, and said the opening prayers. Sid and I then walked up onto the altar and sat in our two chairs right next to Fr. LeBlanc. Just like at a regular Catholic mass, two readings are said at a Catholic wedding service. A relative of Sidney’s, Ed Galloway, gave the first reading. Before he read from the book of Genesis he spoke a few eloquent words about the Mathis family. After Ed spoke and did the reading, the responsorial psalm was performed. Then one half of our sponsor couple, the same man who said the blessing at our rehearsal dinner, Tim McCormick, gave the second reading. Call us cliché, but Sidney and I went with the standard “Love is patient, love is kind…” passage from 1 Corinthians.
The proclamation of the gospel and the delivery of the homily was done by Fr. LeBlanc. Looking over at us as he talked, Father stressed that it wasn’t him administering the Holy Sacrament of Marriage. Rather, it was Sidney and I. It was such a powerful way of saying that the two of us, along with God, held the power for a long and successful marriage.
Suddenly Father LeBlanc switched the tone of his voice, looked at us again, and asked, “Are you ready to do this?!”
Before we knew it, Sid and I were once again up in front of the altar. Although this time our eyes were locked and we were standing directly across from each other so the congregation could see us 100% as opposed to our backs being to everyone. My brother was standing on my side and Sidney’s sisters were standing on her side. At this point, we went off script just a little…
As part of his best man duties, it was rehearsed that Glen would present the rings. However, Fr. LeBlanc had a better idea. He asked Harrison, our three-year-old ring bearer nephew, to do the honors. Now it would have been totally understandable if Harrison got scared or froze during this very unpredictable time; but he didn’t. Harrison took the plate that the rings rested on while Fr. LeBlanc sprinkled them with holy water. He then let Harrison bring the plate to us so we could take our rings and say our vows. The little guy did a masterful job. Word is still out on whether my brother has forgiven Harrison for stealing his most important job.
We spoke our vows with sincerity and conviction to each other. We could feel the Holy Spirit within us. Fr. LeBlanc talked about how we were now one. He then gave a blessing over us and that was it…WE WERE MARRIED!
Ode to Joy started to play and Sidney and I shared a kiss. We then walked back up the aisle. I had successfully held in my emotions for the entirety of the service but once we hit the vestibule of the church a few tears flowed. We were congratulated by family and friends but we couldn’t bask in that glory long. We had to go back down to the altar and sign our wedding papers. The photographer then took some photos of us and that sealed it. Our business at the church, very important business might I add, was finished. It was time for Mr. and Mrs. Reser to head to the reception. Don’t Blink.
* A blog post centering on the reception will come soon. Professional photos were taken at the wedding but not used for this post.