Young Love (#134)

November 29, 1969… 6:45 PM

A done dealAfter Nate and I had untangled ourselves from our post-wedding twirl-around, Mary straightened my veil and train, and we headed to a room behind the platform to wait while the sanctuary emptied. Wanting to spare guests a 2 hour receiving line, we had decided against having one. Instead Nate and I would move through the reception tables to connect with each person.

Siblings.Our caterer was waiting for us with fruit platters and congratulations as we let the joyful reality of our marriage settle in – a lovely sensation. Shortly there was a call from our ever-present photographer wanting the bride, groom, maid of honor, and best man back on the platform for another round of pictures.

 

Posing-Posing...As we posed he had to repeatedly remind Nate to look at him and not me. I found it mind- boggling that Nate was still as smitten as he had been 3 years earlier when we’d met.

Though I’d never understand it, I knew I was a very fortunate bride.

OnwardAfter then it was off to the reception downstairs for a light supper. Cousin Patti, 15, was eager to handle the guest book. “I hope you can get everybody to sign!” I said. And I knew her infectious giggle would get it done.

 

 

Eats.

 
In the church’s massive basement hall we found wedding guests having a good time while sharing a light supper. And I made a mental note to tell both Mom and Aunt Joyce how pretty the table skirts looked.

 

Our 6 sophisticated servers were busy making sure each guest had what they needed. I was thankful 3 apartment mates and 3 others had agreed to help and was impressed with how hard they were working.

Reception hostesses

(L. to R. Roommates Clarlyn and Marti, cousin Elaine, college chum Leslie, cousin Yvonne, and roommate Marsha)

Their long skirts, made from extra bridesmaid fabric, looked elegant as they gracefully moved through the room, never stopping to eat or drink themselves. True friends indeed.

PrivateAfter Nate and I took our places at the head table, the rest of the wedding party filled in on either side with their plates of food. It was a feast we all welcomed, and as we ate, Nate and I shared a few whispered words about what might happen after the reception.

Specifically we wondered about the shenanigans that might occur as we drove away from the church, though technically we had only 1 mile to our honeymoon destination. Champaign friends John and Cathy were ready to drive us away whenever we gave them the word. More than likely, though, we’d have to race around the city in the heavy Saturday traffic to lose our followers before we could safely go to The Drake Hotel.

For now, we would take pleasure in our wedding reception, in the people sharing it with us, and the tasty foods that had been prepared. It was going to be a long, late (and exciting!) night before we slept, and our dinners would fortify us for everything that lay ahead.

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.” (Joel 2:26)

 

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.” (Joel 2:26)

Young Love (#130)

November 29, 1969… 4:00 PM

 

Sisters.With two more hours before the ceremony, we were right on schedule. The photographer told us he had all he needed from the men’s dressing room, but he continued to direct traffic in the ladies lounge where all of us were ready.

Looking up from his clipboard he said, “Where are the mothers?”

The mothers

I was won-dering the same thing, hoping they weren’t in the basement rearranging table skirts. But just then, in they came – dressed and holding hands. Mom, familiar with all the nooks and crannies of Moody Church, had found a private place for the two of them to dress. No doubt they had been getting to know each other better, too.

The six children had arrived also, in a group, with their mothers. They had dressed at home and looked adorable. I was thankful for their willingness to cooperate and that none of them had gotten sick or were experiencing stage fright.

The childrenTimmy, the ring bearer, asked for his satin pillow, and once he had it, came to me with a question. “Mommy said these rings aren’t the real ones,” he said, fingering the two bands tied on with ribbons. “Is that right?”

I squatted down in front of him and tried to explain that the rings he was going to carry were real rings, though I didn’t tell him they’d come from a dime store. “They’re very important,” I told him, “because just like the other rings, they’re circles that go ’round and ’round. The circles represent love that goes around forever and ever. Just imagine that!”

“Oh,” he said, fingering his rings. “OK.” And he wandered off.

That reminded me. Where were our real rings? Relying on my responsible fiancé, I assumed he had them in his pocket and would see to it that Mary, my maid of honor, would have the ring for him, and his brother Ken, the best man, would have mine.

Our wedding bands weren’t fancy, but we’d had them engraved inside. Both included our initials, the wedding date, and the reference to a Song of Solomon verse (“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”). My ring for him said, Sol. 2:16    M.A.J. to W.N.N    11-29-69. His for me said the same, with initials reversed.

MomAs we posed for photos, I kept glancing at the door (now open), watching for Nate. The mothers stepped forward for their pictures with the bride, and as we were arranging ourselves for the next photograph someone said, “Hey – there’s Nate!”

 

 

The groom appears

 

 

I turned around, and my heart melted. There was my good-lookin’ guy, outfitted in his English tail coat, causing my heart to skip a beat. It was a moment of passion in which I could hardly believe that this wonderful person was actually willing to marry me.

“Could I have Meg for one minute?” he asked the photographer.

I thought, “You can have me for a lifetime!”

We came together with a meaningful embrace and stepped into the hall where he pulled our rings out of his pocket. “See? Engraved just like we wanted,” and he let me study them.

Nate's ring“When you put this ring on my finger,” he said, “it’ll be the highlight of my life.”

I smiled and kissed him. “Me too.”

He gave me his ring for Mary, just as the photographer stuck his head into the hall. “Time to assemble everybody in the church sanctuary for group pictures.”

And off we went, followed by a parade of all our nearest and dearest.

“[We] walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God with joyful and thankful shouts.” (Psalm 42:4)

Young Love (#126)

After a couple of weeks of happy traveling, I’m home again, savoring the joys of having been part of Linnea and Adam’s happy family in Florida. Granddaughter Emerald was my traveling partner, bringing the grandchild-count to 6 of my 12. From the trampoline to the sandbox, from bike rides to lively meals, from church to the home school group, it was all pure pleasure.

Cousins!

L to R: Isaac (3), Micah (7), Autumn (5), Emerald (4), Skylar (8) and little Nelson (15 months) in my arms.

But now it’s time to get back to a frustrated bride who is an hour late for her own wedding rehearsal.

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November 28, 1969

As I sat in Chicago’s rush hour traffic on the way to my rehearsal, I felt powerless and sad. What must my family be thinking? And Nate’s family, responsible for the dinner afterwards? And Nate himself? All of them were assembled at the church…. and waiting on me. But there was nothing to do but wipe my eyes and keep the car pointed toward Moody Church.

The long aisleWhen finally I walked into the back of the giant sanctuary, Pastor Sweeting was the first to see me. “We have a bride!” he shouted, waving his arms in my direction. While the whole group applauded, I ran down the aisle toward Nate, who met me in the middle — so relieved I hadn’t been in an accident. When he saw I’d been crying, he hugged me tight, and the tension melted away.

Connecting with a handful of my former kindergarten students was a special treat, and listening to their stories of 1st grade was a joy. I made sure they knew what their wedding day jobs would be, how and when they would do them, where they would stand during the service, and where their parents would sit.

ProgramWith the hour of the rehearsal dinner bearing down on us, our time at the church had to be minimal. So we quickly handed a wedding program to each participant and chalked their marks on the floor. The 7 bridesmaids sang through their song, and Pastor Sweeting sketched out the service for us, asking Nate and I for our favorite Bible verses.

Everything seemed rushed, but we had asked Helen (our Thanksgiving host) and Connie (my forever-friend) to “run” the wedding, and I knew we could depend on them to steer us through the important moments of the day.

 

Germania ClubNate’s parents had chosen The Germania Club for our post-rehearsal dinner, an elegant venue conveniently located one block from the church.

 

 

 

Carved oakThis beautiful building, constructed in 1889, had an old-world feel to it with carved oak décor, bronze light fixtures, leaded windows, and massive ceiling beams. We dined on delicious German cuisine and were toasted by the groom’s parents.

 

But we didn’t stay late, knowing we still had many gifts to open back in Wilmette. Before we made the drive from city to suburb, though, Mom wanted my opinion on a decorating problem back at the church.

Apparently she and Aunt Joyce hadn’t been able to agree on how the table skirts should be attached in the room where the reception would be. And they wanted me to choose. So as the other dinner guests were calling it a day, the three of us walked back to the church – where some unexpected tears awaited.

“The Lord works out everything to its proper end.” (Proverbs 16:4)