Weddings are magical – or they should be, anyway. What with all the love and gooey-ooey emotions flowing about, they are a touching affair. This past weekend, Mike and I got to be a part of one such-type weddings, such as...types…of such. We’ve recently become a marriage prep couple at our church. We’ve been a presenting team for Engaged Encounter (marriage prep weekend retreats) for 7+ years now (wow!). On those weekends we share our story with about 30 engaged couples. For marriage prep at church, we meet one-on-one with a soon-to-be-betrothed couple. They take the FOCCUS (a Seventeen-magazine-type-but-Catholic-version compatibility test). We then have the honor of working with this couple as they receive and talk through the results of their exam. They find out the areas where – they probably knew already – they most differ and may run into occasional struggle. Meeting with a couple one-on-one is amazing. That they’re willing to share their deepest struggles with us, and allow us to talk things out with them, is seriously humbling (and a huge responsibility)!
Thankfully, our very first, rookie, guinea pig couple turned out to be Superstar Couple. We had SO MUCH FUN with Jason and Julia…maybe a little too much fun. (But we did also get to see them do some seriously good relationship-communication too). Look, not that it’s a contest, but Jason and Julia will be a hard couple to top. We were just perfectly matched with them, and I can safely say that we all enjoyed our “Companion Coupling.” Wait, that sounds wrong and, um, bad. We were their “Companion Couple”…we did not couple with them.
Anyway, on Saturday they got married at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. The only word I can use to describe it is beautiful. Mike and I were honored to be asked to be the candle bearers. We processed in behind Jason’s brother who carried the cross. The ENTIRE St. James Cathedral Choir then followed behind us as we slowly made our way down the aisle and around the altar to the accompaniment of some seriously rockin’ church organ. Goosebumps. As soon as the wedding coordinator opened the double doors and we stood in the door way with the music filling that amazing sacred place, I had a lump in my throat.
The wedding was followed by a super swanky, super fun reception at the Fairmont Hotel – ooh la la! The wine flowed (yes, yes, it sure did), the food was delectable (all sorts of appetizers followed by your choice of filet mignon and crab macaroni and cheese or salmon with garlic mashed potatoes), the cake was delicious (dark chocolate, baby!), and the dancing…oh, the dancing.
We are ridiculously blessed at our parish to have – who I like to call – the Rockstar Priest. We knew Father Bryan in college and through the years had said, “If we could find that Father Bryan guy, we would MOVE to be in his church.” Well – haha! – he came to us! And sure enough our church has probably doubled – if not more – in size since his arrival two years ago. Basically since the day he arrived though, I’ve been pre-mourning his departure. He is so down-to-earth and approachable. The old ladies love him, the young adults love him, and the kids love him – holy majoly, Zachary ADORES him. Sadly, I’m sure our days with him are numbered (not that he’s dying ‘cuz you’ll see that he’s incredibly young). He brings so much life, energy and joy to a parish; I imagine that we won’t get to keep him for too long. Sniff sniff. Anyway, he has committed to performing our wedding-do-over (our TEN YEAR renewal of vows in August 2011), so I’m super excited about that. He’s awesome and yes, he knows how to have a good time – as can plainly be seen from his fist-pumpin’, raise-the-roof dance moves. It’s not every day you get to see a Catholic priest doing that!
I’m just thankful that we’re making great friends – like Jason & Julia – at church. I know we’ll need to be a really strong community to hold together once Father Bryan has to move on (hopefully that won’t be for YEARS though).