When we formed the concept of our new “Finding the Perfect Pair” wedding card, one couple came to mind – Kurt and Julie Gebhards. Kurt was our pastor many years ago when both Maffrine and I were single. Having observed their marriage on a week to week basis and having had the privilege of spending a little time with them in their home, it was evident to us that Julie and Kurt were not only down-to-earth and fun, they were a godly couple that put Jesus Christ first in their marriage.
This is why, as an introduction to “Finding the Perfect Pair” wedding card, I have asked Julie (who so graciously accepted!) to write a guest post about her wedding day – a perfect example of having all the fun while focusing on who truly matters, the God who creates “the perfect pair”.
When we hopped out the door the day before our wedding to go to Kinko’s Copies (do they even exist anymore?) to write our wedding program, my mom wasn’t amused. I’m sure little alarms were going off inside her head wondering what else we might have forgotten. My fiancé and I were immune to the anxiety.
We giggled our way through that hour at Kinko’s (or two or three…) including when we inserted “The Big Smooch” into the program. We sat there at that Kinko’s table, intoxicated with the thought of being just one day away from the most exciting day of our lives. We contemplated the right words to honor each of the participants in our wedding. “Fun” was the rule we followed that day.
By God’s grace (and a little bit of blissful ignorance), we hadn’t stressed (or really concerned ourselves at all) over preparations for the day ahead. Maybe it was naivete. Maybe it was trust in my mom’s ability to pull off a major event without a hitch (and she did, by the way). Maybe we were just too consumed and excited by what was ahead of us to care about details. Details like centerpieces. I didn’t pick centerpieces. Or flowers. I didn’t plan the decorations at all. We didn’t even discuss how we would feed cake to each other (my mistake)! And I didn’t offer my thoughts about the buffet that my mother herself catered. Oh.my.word. My mother catered my wedding with 250 guests. I owe her at least one more thank you. And you know what else? I didn’t have a manicure. I painted cheap clear polish on my nails the morning of my wedding, because I hadn’t thought about a manicure.
Guess what? Someone told me they thought our wedding was the most beautiful wedding they had been to. But what they mentioned in their praise wasn’t about the decorations. Or the centerpieces. Or my dress (Maybe that’s because it wasn’t all that pretty).
Despite so much inattention to details, my parents’ long time friends said that they were blessed by the ceremony, and the words that were shared by the pastor, who exalted Christ as the author of marriage. He also taught beautifully about the God-given roles of husband and wife. Maybe they liked that we sang a hymn because we wanted to exalt God’s faithfulness to us. They were blessed. And we were able to enjoy our day and still laugh that I repeated the words of the officiant to “take Kurt as my lawfully wedded wife”. We didn’t particularly care (or notice) if something didn’t go just as planned (well, my mom’s plan).
Buried somewhere in Kurt’s and my youthful exuberance and irresponsibility was a kernel of something noble. Both Kurt and I had minds and hearts centered on something more significant than the external beauty of the day. We wanted most of all to exalt Christ and make Him known. I think, in part, we accomplished that, while we can’t exactly take any credit for it.
I am so thankful that I didn’t miss the fun of having cake smashed into my perfectly made-up face (and hair and eyebrows, thank you Kurt). I’m so glad that I didn’t get so caught up in the details of the program that I couldn’t have a sense of humor when the pastor messed up the vows. I am grateful too that when I almost burned down the church when my dress caught on the base of the candlestick while exiting down the aisle- we all just laughed while my grandpa caught the stick, and someone “unstuck” my dress. And we lived. And we got married. And we are still married, 17 years and six kids later. God is good.