Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Wedding

Dylan and Jake with their wedding cake on their wedding day.
May 29, 2016

My youngest child is now a legally married man. Two days after Dylan graduated from high school, he and Jake were married in a modest ceremony in our front yard. The wedding ceremony itself was held at 10:30 a.m. while the reception didn't begin until 4:00 that afternoon. This was because the minister had to be at his day-job by noon!

Jake is very into Star Wars, so I used that as the theme for their guest book table.

Our family worked together to make this event happen. Jacob and Danielle made the wedding cake--a huge undertaking--and also made the guys' boutonnieres. Danielle and Sarah ensured that both Dylan and Jake had suitable shirts and ties for the event. Danielle and I shared the duties of taking pictures to capture these memories for Dylan and Jake.

As for me, I forced the boys to make decisions regarding how they wanted their wedding to look; hounded them to take care of all the little legal details (like a marriage license and finding a minister); helped them sort through all the possible venues where they might hold the wedding; took them shopping to choose the colors and decorations they liked; and sat them down to plan the food for the reception. I also assembled the flower arrangements, printed and framed photos, filled candy dishes, and decorated the tables, including the Star Wars-themed guest book table that greeted the guests as they entered the gate.

One thing they vehemently agreed upon was that the guest book at Walmart was too "bride-ish." So, instead, we purchased a journal and had See-threepio (C-3PO) instruct the guests to leave a message inside for the new couple.

Jacob (Dylan's brother) played the Wedding March on his cell phone while Dylan and Jake
made their unorthodox entrance from the gate, to the minister under one of our tall pines.

The wedding was performed by Josh ("J.R."), a coworker of Dylan's at Walmart.
It was his first wedding since becoming an ordained minister, but he did very well.

If the wedding seemed to come on rather suddenly, that's because it did. Originally, Dylan and Jake were thinking of getting married in August. At least Dylan would have turned nineteen by then. The deciding factor, though, was having Dylan's brother at his wedding. Now that Jacob and Danielle live a ten-hour drive away in Utah, they can't just drop everything and run down to Arizona whenever they like. They won't be able to take another big trip until our family vacation to Southern California in October.

And it was out of the question that Dylan should get married without his brother there. Not acceptable to Dylan and not acceptable to Jacob. I'm pleased to say that my children are there for each other like that, always. So, since Jacob and Dani were going to be here this weekend for Dylan's graduation anyway, it was decided that the wedding would also be held this weekend. That gave us about two weeks to pull it all together.

We discussed several possible venues for the wedding, from renting a hall, to reserving a pavilion at Woodland Park, to using the recreation room at the WorldMark Pinetop Resort (where Jake works). They finally decided on a quiet, small affair in our own front yard. As Dylan told me, "We don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."

Newly married!

The ceremony went off without a hitch, other than Dylan stumbling a bit over the vows, which evoked some amusement. Once the wedding was performed, everyone went inside the house to watch the signing of the marriage license, including Jacob and Sarah (Dylan's siblings) as the witnesses.

The wedding rings were presented to the minister by their friends Chris and Destiny.

"Getting down" with Sarah, Brenda, Chris, and J. R. after the ceremony.
A HUGE shout-out to Brenda (Chris's mom), who jumped right in and
helped out in so many ways, usually without even being asked. She is awesome!

The family dog, Diego, has to get in on the action, too.

"Stop the wedding!" I cried. "My baby is too young!"

So shocking!

We thought it would be fun to get a picture of everyone at the wedding
who works at Walmart!

This is almost everyone who attended the wedding ceremony.
There are at least three other people missing.

Between the wedding ceremony and reception, Sarah and I decorated outside
while Jacob and Danielle finished the wedding cake.

I provided subs, chips, candy, and punch.

Jake's co-workers brought potato salad, macaroni salad, and hors d'oeuvres.

The wedding reception was very well attended by Dylan and Jake's friends.

One of Jake's co-workers, Christopher, is a classical guitarist. He volunteered to provide lovely background music for the reception. He played for almost the entire two hours. I love classical guitar!

The traditional sharing of the punch...

...and the traditional cutting of the cake.

Are you ready for this?

They were brutal with that cake!

Danielle and Jacob with the amazing wedding cake they produced!
It is one ginormous cake!

The top layer of the cake was vanilla. It has been wrapped and frozen
so Dylan and Jake can enjoy it on their first anniversary.
The second layer was red velvet, which we served at the reception.

The huge bottom layer was triple chocolate fudge, which
we cut in four big wedges and sent home with each of the kids!

As you can see in the remaining photos, Dylan and Jake had fun
smearing more cake and icing on each other, especially their shirts.
Dylan even put a slice in Jake's pocket and smashed it.

The rest of the pictures in this post feature Dylan and Jake with their guests at the reception because, after all, it isn't really a celebration unless you're joined by the people who care about you. I think we got pictures of nearly everyone who attended.

I was so pleased at the end of the day when Dylan and Jake both told me that their wedding day was everything they'd hoped for. It was a simple event, but it was done with much love!

There may be those who read this and applaud me for my "open mind." There may be others who wonder how I could support a same-sex marriage in my own family. Both sides would be missing the mark.

Admittedly, this has been a difficult scenario that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would be an issue in my world. It has required a lot of soul-searching and much reflection on the beliefs I hold dear and how they apply in this situation. Dylan, Jake, and I have had many open, honest discussions regarding their relationship, and we've each listened respectfully to the others' feelings and opinions.

In the end, for me it boils down to a few simple concepts. First, I still believe firmly that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. Second, I believe just as strongly that God sent us here to make our own choices and that He forbids us to judge others for those choices.

Above all, I believe the greatest law is love. When Christ was asked, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" He answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22: 36-40)

If love isn't the foundation of everything we do, then none of the other laws hold any meaning. Does it make sense to study the scriptures if you don't love God? Then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Does it make sense to give to charity if you don't love your fellow man? Then you're giving for the wrong reasons.

Does it make sense to say I love my son and want to obey God's laws, if I refuse to accept Dylan's right to choose how he'll live his life? If I fail to be there for him or to nurture the bonds of our relationship? If I do not strive for unconditional, Christ-like love toward others, especially toward the son I love with every fiber of my being?

If I'm wrong, so be it. I choose to err on the side of love. 

I believe that Dylan and Jake's hearts are honest in their desire to do what's right. I respect the fact that my son decided to wait for marriage before becoming intimate, and I respect that both boys chose to make the commitment of legal marriage over simply living together. Ultimately, what matters most to me is my son's happiness, and I wish Dylan and Jake all the joy this world has to offer.

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