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)

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 (#129)

November 29, 1969…. 3:00 PM

Mom's noteIt was our wedding day at last, and before Mom fed us all a nourishing breakfast, she jotted a note in her diary (right).

I’d written out the day’s schedule for every person in the wedding party and those helping at the reception, since Principal Scarce had let me use the school’s mimeograph machine.

MimeographedEach set of instructions was 5 pages long, and I was grateful for his gift. The last page was a sketch of the sanctuary platform marked with X’s and O’s for the wedding party.

A little after 3:00, cars began arriving at Moody Church from all directions. I rode with Mom and several others, and we were late of course. But it was gratifying to me, as I walked into the church “ladies lounge” where we would dress, that several of the bridesmaids were already there, outfitted in their gowns.

The photographer was there, too, and announced he’d be taking pictures of us getting ready, as soon as everyone in the room was presentable. While he and his assistant waited, they hunted for the groom. Wherever Nate was, I knew he had probably arrived early and was already available for photos. Later I learned that not only was he ready, but his father and brother were, too.

The groomFather and sons






I couldn’t wait to see him but forced myself to keep my mind focused on the schedule. Our timetable didn’t allow for dawdling.

As I took my gown out of its hanging bag, I had a twinge of nervousness, wondering if it would fit right. Had I gained or lost weight since the fitting weeks before? Zero-hour had arrived.

Stepping into it, I flashed-back to the happy days spent shopping for a gown with Mom, Aunt Agnes, Mary and others. Pulling the heavy satin fabric on felt just as good as it had on that day long ago, when I chose this dress. And I still loved it.

The smooth satin reminded me of Mom’s wedding gown from 1941. She had picked a dress without lace, pearls, or sequins, but it had scores of satin-covered buttons up the back that had always fascinated me. I wanted the same thing when I got married, and indeed I got them.

48 buttons“My girls” worked together to close all 48 buttons, and once everything was fastened, the gown fit perfectly. I felt “elegant,” a word I’d never applied to any other clothing I had ever worn.



When the photographer reappeared, anxious to start, he asked me to face the mirror and put on my lipstick. I had to laugh, since I didn’t wear any. After all, it was the sixties, and many girls were wearing white lipstick, so why bother.

LipstickBut I borrowed a tube from one of the other girls and pretended. In those days I didn’t wear makeup at all and had never worn earrings, so getting ready was easy. If it hadn’t been for the Swedish crown and its long veil (with multiple combs and bobby pins), I’d have been ready in 10 minutes.

But my eyes kept turning toward the door, hoping Nate would walk in. Since the plan was to take platform pictures of the entire wedding party ahead of the ceremony, we knew we’d be together before I walked down the aisle to meet him. Back in those days, wedding planners hadn’t heard of “a reveal,” so we had no special plan for getting the first glimpse of each other.

All I wanted was to get my arms around him on our wedding day, and I had full confidence that wherever he was, he was craving the same thing about me.

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 2:16)