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.




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 (#133)

November 29, 1969… 6:30 PM

Our wedding was very solemn. We’d wanted it like that, especially after Pastor Sweeting had challenged us to make it so. Partying would come later, but as we were actually being ushered into marriage, we hoped there would be no silliness, no nervous laughter, no antics from the children. And there weren’t.

Pastor Sweeting.The pastor had told us that all the couples he married were special to him forever-after. When we met with him weeks before the ceremony, he said that by marrying us, he was voluntarily taking on some of the responsibility for seeing to it that our marriage was a success. “If you ever come to a place in your relationship, where things get too hard to handle, please come to me, and we’ll work it out together. Remember that.”

We agreed, but on that day, standing at the starting line, we couldn’t imagine ever having a lick of trouble before we reached the finish line.

Once all of us were assembled at the front of the church, the bridesmaids sang “Thanks be to God.” Without 7 microphones in front of them, the congregation didn’t get to hear the words as well as Nate and I did, but the message of the song was perfect for the occasion, and I was so grateful they’d been willing to sing.

Thanks be to God for love divine, 
The hope that round my heart entwines. 
For all the joy that now is mine, 
Thanks be to God.

When we came to the part of the service where Nate and I would say our vows, we faced each other, holding hands, and the pastor nodded for him to start. He recited each line perfectly, looking me square in the eye without any nervousness. I could see the depth of his sincerity on his face and drank in every word.

Then it was my turn. I had the feeling I was going to fail, but I forged ahead, knowing the pastor would help if I went blank.


“I Margaret, take thee Nathan, to be my wedded husband, from this day forward, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…” and… what came next? I knew I’d skipped something, but kept going.

“…to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I give thee my word.”

Pastor Sweeting moved on as if I’d said it all without a mistake, and of course the minute I finished, I remembered the part I’d missed: “for richer or poorer.” I’d have to explain later.



In just a few more minutes the pastor was announcing us as “Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Nyman!” and everybody clapped. An exhilarating ripple went up my spine like none I’d ever felt, and as we headed back up the aisle, we clung to each other – like two who’d just “become one.”






Nate couldn’t wait to get to the back of the church, and we picked up speed as we walked up the aisle. Once we’d cleared the back doors, he grabbed me up off the floor in a big hug and began spinning me around.




I laughed with joy as my long train and veil wrapped around us like fancy gift-paper. We shared a very special kiss, and as our wedding party joined us two-by-two, we were still twirling.





From that point on, my crown was askew, but it was a small price to pay to get that passionate, timely kiss… a kiss that sealed our marriage, a kiss I’d never forget.

“Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:6)

Young Love (#131)

November 29, 1969… 5:00 PM

Nate’s and my wedding was tantalizingly close – one hour away. As we headed into the sanctuary for group pictures, several early-bird guests had already arrived. Connie and Helen, the ones running the wedding, quickly closed the many doors and became our protectors as we tried to get organized at the front.

It took quite a while for the photographer to assemble the wedding party in one long line on the platform, 20 people in all, and he had trouble getting and holding everyone’s attention. He had to stop twice to ask early guests behind him not to take their own pictures with flash bulbs, which was messing up his lighting.

In the end, he got the photos he wanted, and we were glad those time-consuming pictures were out of the way. There would be other pictures to take after the ceremony, but we’d checked off the most difficult ones.

Wedding party

After the large group had adjourned back to the dressing rooms for punch and cookies, the photographer asked me to stay, wanting to take what seemed like a hundred pictures of just me. “Now,” he said, “look at the ceiling. Now the floor. Look behind you. Gaze to the right… now left. Look at your flowers without smiling. Now look at them and smile.”

PhotographerDuring this process he had to turn again to speak to guests who were taking their own pictures. And finally he released me. Mary, ever the vigilant maid of honor, had stayed with me, and we were grateful to move back into the ladies lounge… to wait for 6:00.

Since we hadn’t included a response card in our invitations, we didn’t know how many people would attend, so it was a delightful surprise when Helen and Connie appeared and told us the seats were filling up.

Pastor Sweeting came into the lounge and gathered us for a special prayer time. I was glad to see him, not only to know he’d arrived on time but that he intended to help us focus our attention on the ceremony as a worship service that was meant not to honor us but the One who brought us together and who would be uniting Nate and I in marriage.

“Remember,” he said, “marriage was God’s idea, and His Spirit will be very active during the ceremony.” It was a grand thought and filled me with expectation for what was about to happen.

And then he was off to pray with the men.

ExpertsI was impressed with how well everyone was holding up as we waited, especially the children. Marea and Paul, the candle-lighters, not only had to manage flames at the end of their yard-long tapers but had to reach high to light the 54 candles – down both long aisles and up in front.

They would be the first ones into the sanctuary and were aware that hundreds of people would be watching them as they worked, not an easy thing. I asked them to keep an eye on each other, moving together, watching that neither got ahead of the other – a big assignment for such young kids, but both were confident they could do it. I told them I was really proud of them.

And suddenly it was time. Helen arrived saying, “Ok, candle-lighters. Come with me.” Their mom (the team teacher who’d taught me everything I knew about teaching school) went with them, more nervous than they were. The kids were simply excited to get on with it.

And so was I !

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart.” (Psalm 138:1)