The last thing I expected to do was put on a wedding in January. When my stepson Ryan and his fiance Shera moved in with us on December 10, they talked about eventually getting married, something simple, maybe outdoors in the summer, once they both found jobs and had a place of their own.
Obviously, Heavenly Father had other plans for them.
Groomsman Jacob and bridesmaid Sarah start off the wedding march.
Through a series of events, they both grew interested in learning more about the Mormon religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Soon they were taking lessons from LDS missionaries, Sister Knight and Sister Wallace. We were stunned and thrilled when they accepted the challenge to be baptized at the end of their very first lesson on December 23rd, setting a goal for a January 18th baptism.
We all knew this meant a wedding was imminent. They set their wedding date for January 11th, less than 19 days away!
Best Man Dylan escorts Matron of Honor Christine up the aisle.
The good news was: I put on my daughter Sarah's wedding two and a half years earlier, so I pretty much knew how to proceed. The bad news was: My being divorce-lawyer-poor meant this wedding would have to be planned on a very limited budget. The good news was: We were blessed with the support of so many good friends and family who were more than willing to help.
And, best of all, God opened many doors and placed blessings in our path that made everything fall into place for a beautiful wedding. Ryan and Shera plan to spend eternity together. I wanted so much for their special day to be exactly as they dreamed, and the Lord made it happen.
Shera's cousin Sam gave her away.
One of the best blessings was having Shera's sister Christine and cousin Sam drive all the way from Missouri to be here for her. Shera loves Arizona but sorely misses her family in Missouri, so their presence at the wedding meant everything to her.
Ryan and Shera take their vows before Bishop Trace Wengert.
Another great blessing was the number of guests who came to celebrate with us. Ryan and Shera came to Arizona only 5 months ago, so they don't know very many people here. Yet they were lovingly surrounded by members of their new church family, more than 40 of them. Even Ryan's dad stayed long enough to witness the marriage ceremony.
Ryan and Shera exchange rings.
Everything went smoothly. Well, except when "The Wedding March" music suddenly turned into rap music right before the bride walked down the aisle! When my 16-year-old son Dylan put together the wedding music, I warned him to listen to the song all the way through before downloading it. Sometimes there are surprises at the end. It just goes to show, you should always listen to your mother!
Greeting guests in the reception line after the ceremony.
Cutting the wedding cake.
We did all the fun, traditional wedding things, from cutting the cake and toasting the bride and groom (with a non-alcoholic beverage, of course) to tossing the bouquet and shooting the garter to the waiting single gals and guys. There are so many pictures of Ryan and Shera's special occasion, in fact, that I have divided them up into 5 posts. Four more will follow this one before I've covered the entire wedding!
Cutting the wedding cake.
Ryan was complaining, "She said she'd kill me if I smeared her face!"
Dylan handled all the music, which went fine after the Wedding March incident!
The bride and groom enjoy their first dance as a married couple.
First dance kiss!
Dylan, Jacob, Ryan, Sam, and Chris get down to the Harlem Shake.
It was a magical evening. The bride was gorgeous, the groom was attentive, the guests were excited for them, and everyone had a wonderful time. These two are clearly in love and it was a privilege for me to be a part of the experience that joined them as husband and wife!