Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Julia's Wedding (Part One)

They're only 22 years old, but it seems they waited a long time to get married.
They met in kindergarten, when Julia was five and Ben was six.
They used to orchestrate how to meet in the hallway at school,
and once they were there,
they would kiss.
Just little baby kisses.
I knew nothing of this.
The next year, in first grade,
they were placed in separate classrooms,
and Ben was very sad about that.

My daughters getting ready, early morning, July 29

Julia's dress

Many years washed by.
 Our little girl grew up, strong and gentle, capable and creative, lovely and easy to be with,
 and Ben grew up too (mostly in Georgia). 
They reconnected on social media,
Ben visited Julia in December of 2016,
and by February 2017, 
they were engaged.
Honestly, Nate and I were a little rattled.
It was so fast.
And we knew Ben, kind of, and he seemed like the sweetest kid.
 And we knew his family, both from school and from church.
But marriage.
It's such a big deal.
Do you really love him? I asked my girl.
And she answered with no pause,
Yes, Mom, I really love him.

Lipstick in mama's room. 
Those are my babies, there on the wall.
That little fluffy-headed girl between her big brothers
is our Julia, age two.

Sure. They were so sure of themselves.
Remember being 22, and knowing everything?
I found out later that they almost eloped.
They were tired of being apart,
Julia was tired of our loud household.
They wanted to be together.

 Julia's dress with a pink satin ribbon

So we began to plan.
It seemed like playing Wedding, at first.
Anna Kate started with lists and vendors and pricing.
The budget was tight, we'd have the wedding at home,
in the cute quonset-hut barn that Grandma Murphy had had built.
(Thank you, thank you, precious Grandma).
We had five months to empty out that full barn, and make it pretty.
Every other detail came together like a simple, beautiful weaving.
Emptying that little red barn took most of our time, most of our energy,
and we didn't get the last thing out of there (a huge ladder)
till mere hours before the wedding. 

 In a blur of emotion, I draped Julia's dress over her head, put her necklace (made by me, with love, over many weeks) on her neck, and tied her satin ribbon around her waist. I was crying so hard that I'm surprised any fotos turned out.

Months went by, Ben and Julia were able to see each other a few more times.
They were so sweet together.
Young love is new, unhurt, unsullied.
I was glad they were marrying quickly,
but the dread of her leaving home was making my heart heavy.
At first, I stalked her.
That got old (mostly for her).
I had to loose my grip on this sweetest girl of mine, 
and let her belong to somebody else.

 Giving gifts to the bridesmaids

Julia's bridesmaids were Linnea, Ellie, Lydia and Anna Kate. 
Her sister was her maid-of-honor
(And Chief Wedding-Planner).
Lydia is Ben's sister.
Ellie and Linnea are Julia's oldest friends.
The gifts were pearl necklaces, each unique,
in vintage beaded clutches.
Ellie and Linnea are emotive,
and they said so wonderingly,
"Julia! Julia! Oh Julia!"

 First Look

Ben and his best man waited patiently outside.
The girls did their own hair and make-up,
and it took much longer than we expected.
First look was out in the meadow, in the brilliant morning sunshine,
and it was lovely.

Always be humble and kind...

 And always, always make her laugh.
Humor softens everything.

Lydia, Anna Kate, Julia, Linnea, Ellie

They are so young, fresh and beautiful!

Roses and eucalyptus

I made the bouquets from Farmers Market flowers, several bunches of roses and a big spray of eucalyptus. Caleb and Krista went there for us. The bridesmaids' bouquets were in water-filled vintage glass beakers, they looked special. 

Ben and his groomsmen

These were the most relaxed, groovy groomsmen. Ben's best friend,
his two brothers,
two of his cousins.
They wanted a sunglasses pic,
but no one had sunglasses.
So they borrowed the girls'.

(Fun fact: Julia has two brothers named Isaac and Caleb,
Ben has two brothers named Isaac and Caleb.
All named before I knew Ben's mom.
Weird, huh?)

Julia Jordan-Rose, laughing...

....and pensive.

Luke, Austin, Joe, Ben, Isaac, Caleb

 My baby girl forever

The tent at the back of the barn, where the wedding party was seated.

Caleb and Krista, Ben and Julia, Anna Kate, and the two single guys: Isaac and Malachi

We are totally blessed by our five children.
We're grateful that they're finding spouses who follow Jesus.
We didn't have much of a plan, but God did.
We love them, we pray for them, we do our best to let them go.
That's been the hardest part.

Ben's family: Lilia, Caleb, Ben and Julia, Isaac, Lydia

Oh my goodness. Adorableness.

Julia with Nate and me

 I had to include a pic of Nate! He adores his daughter. 
Also, the wedding would not actually have happened without his hard work.
He built the stage, raked the meadow, took out 100 gopher mounds, cleared the last heavy things from the barn, set up the sound system, and showed up in time to walk his daughter down the grass aisle.

Praying together, right before the ceremony

.....and that concludes Part 1. 
The ceremony and reception will be posted after my friend Jess gives us the fotos,
and after I dry these pesky tears.
They keep falling and falling.

(Beautiful images by Justin and Jessica Wohlrabe, Minneapolis)