Jon Williams and Brandi Wyant/Williams (groom and bride)
Mike McComas and Cricket Smith (best man and maid of honor)
Matt Dixon and April Misner
Mike Williams and Annie Nims
Doug and Amy Sweetman
Mark Wyant (usher)
Matt Wyant (usher)
Stephen Wyant and Marybeth Fiser (father and stepmother of bride)
Donna Misner (mother of bride)
Bill and Nola Williams (parents of groom)
Other Direct Participants
Judge John Dewey (officiant)
Rachel Dewey (reader)
Justin Payne (musician)
Bill Jordan (photographer)
Jim and Audrey Chabot (caterers)
Not surprisingly, after Friday night's exploits, I woke up on Saturday feeling pretty rough, despite sleeping as long as I possibly could. Fortunately, I did an outstanding job of choosing my best man. McComas was knocking on my door less than five minutes after I finally dragged myself out of bed, and he really helped me get myself together for the day. Another groomsman, my cousin Mike and his new wife Lisa, came over shortly thereafter as well.
Our first item of business was to go over to the hotel to drop off tuxedos to those who hadn't gotten them the day before. While at the hotel we ran into Doug, who was on his way to find some lunch. As that was the next item on our agenda, he joined us. We went to Easystreet Cafe downtown, where we ran into Matt and Jessica (plus Jessica's mom, Connie). They were leaving as we were going inside, but Matt came back in with us and had a beer while the rest of us ate lunch. I personally ate very little of my lunch, as my stomach wasn't sure whether or not it was ready for food, but the water and the company made me feel almost human again.
From there we took Doug back to the hotel and then the rest of us went back to the apartment to start getting ready. Again, I wouldn't have gotten through nearly as well without McComas, Mike, and Lisa there to lend a hand. They made sure my tux was on correctly and that we remembered all the stuff we needed to take along to the chapel--trivial details like Brandi's ring, the marriage license, the songbook, and the sign to direct people to the parking lot. Once all that was squared away, it was off to the chapel.
The ceremony was at Prout Chapel on the BGSU campus. We arrived at 3:30, which was an hour before the ceremony was scheduled to start. McComas went to plant the sign while the rest of us milled about aimlessly for a bit, mostly talking to my parents and a couple of other guests who had arrived early. Soon, though, Bill (the photographer) showed up and we were occupied by being photographed for a while.
Then it was time for the girls and the guests to start arriving, which meant it was time for us guys to disappear until the start of the ceremony. They stuck us in a small, cramped room in the back of the chapel. The window wouldn't open, and with five guys in there, it got hot pretty quickly. Luckily there was a door that led to another door that led outside, so we were able to open those up and at least get some air. Once the girls were safely inside and there was no longer any chance of me accidentally seeing Brandi prematurely (a silly tradition, I think, but I was more than willing to play along), we were able to actually go outside and breathe easier. Eventually the guys all had to go to the front of the chapel to get ready to escort the bridesmaids down the aisle to start the ceremony, so it was just me and the judge. We chatted for a few minutes until his watch showed 4:30, and then it was time for us to take our places in front of the crowd.
I stood up there for a few minutes before anything actually started to happen. It was kind of cool and kind of weird at the same time to be looking at so many of my friends and family, especially those I hadn't seen for a long time or that I knew had traveled quite a bit to be there, and to know that they were there for me. It was pretty awesome, actually, in the most literal sense of the word. I had held everything together well up to that point, but that was when I finally started to let the moment get to me, and I felt the first stirrings of nerves. As I was looking out at everyone, I noticed that Jessica was making a face at me, and that helped lighten me back up. Taken totally by surprise, I laughed, and most likely Jess was the only one who knew what I was laughing at. So that's a mystery solved for everyone else.
Then things started to happen. The ushers opened the doors at the front of the chapel, and the groomsmen and bridesmaids filed in. The best man and maid of honor were the last ones through, and then the doors were closed again for dramatic effect.
When they were opened again, my bride entered the room, escorted by her father, as everyone came to their feet. I don't even have words for what went through my mind when I saw her, for none would do it justice. All I can say is that she was beautiful, and I was lost in it.
She made her way to the front, and the ceremony began in earnest. Brandi wrote the entire ceremony, which turned out to be pretty cool. One thing she forgot to include was for the judge to tell everyone they could be seated, so all our guests ended up standing the whole time. Fortunately, we weren't there for very long. Brandi's dad brought her up and gave her away, and then her friend Rachel gave a reading ("In Midsummer a Wedding" by Arnold Kenseth). The judge had a short spiel, then we each spoke our vows, which we had written ourselves. Then Cricket played piano and sang ("You're the Inspiration" by Chicago) while Brandi and I literally "tied the knot"--a symbolic tying-together of two cords. We exchanged rings and then a kiss, and were finally introduced by the judge as Mr. and Mrs. Williams.
We proceeded out of the chapel, where the wedding party formed the receiving line to greet the guests as they left the building. This was my first chance to see quite a few out-of-town guests that I hadn't seen in quite some time. Also, on his way through, my Uncle Mike gave me a silver dollar. His best man gave him one on his wedding day, which he has carried in his pocket every day since then--he showed it to me, and you can barely even tell what it is because it has worn almost smooth from being carried for so long. So that was cool.
After that the majority of the guests headed off to the reception while parents and wedding party stuck around for photographs. We had some shots taken in front of the chapel and at a couple of different locations nearby on campus. Finally it was time for us to bundle ourselves into the limousine and depart for the reception ourselves.