Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nothing Shall Quench its Flame

It’s been a long time coming.  But I’m finally making my wedding weekend post!  WARNING: This will be a long one, no matter how hard I try to keep it short.  So if you don’t have a good chunk of free time, I would suggest reading this later.  Or you can break it up.  I’ll even provide headings to make it easier for you to break up and keep your place.  You’re welcome. 
Arrival of Mom Fry and Paul
You’ve already heard the story of Jason and I going to Reconciliation a couple of days before our wedding.  On that same day Jason’s mom and best man came into town!  I spent the evening at my mom’s eating Thursday night dinner and getting my hair dyed by one of my bridesmaids, Stephanie.  She was my official hair guru throughout the wedding planning process.  Jason text me while I was at my mom’s asking if I wanted to go out with him, his mom, and Paul.  I wasn’t really in a going out mood and I thought it would be nice for them to have one last night with Jason as a single man.  Not to mention, I had work to do.  Namely, I had to fix our programs.  After looking over the programs 100 times before getting them printed and another 50 after getting them printed, I had found a mistake.  Kimberly Vrla.  Vrla?  Her name is Wagner!  Oh no!  I could have handled a typo, but this was just flat out wrong.  Solution?  I glued 150 tiny little pieces of paper that said “Wagner” into the programs covering up 150 Vrla’s.  Luckily, Jason, his mom, and Paul had gotten me started so it was probably only about 100. 
Our Program!
Friday January 6th
Tan and Brunch
Friday morning I woke up around 6:00am and went to the gym for a quick workout.  I ran about 4 miles on the treadmill and did some free weight arm exercises.  After this I dropped off some shirts, slacks, and dresses at the dry cleaners for Jason and I to wear to the rehearsal.  After this I picked up Jason at his apartment and we headed to Tan Dallas for our spray tans.  Unfortunately, they had run out of the clear spray and I was forced to use the tinted spray.  This resulted in a slightly oranger hue than I was going for, but nothing traumatic. 
I headed to my mom’s for my bridesmaid luncheon! I was so excited to see my friends!  I arrived to a yummy smelling kitchen and the warm smiles of my aunt and mom.  I’m pretty sure they thought something was wrong because I was wearing sweats and no make up.  But really this was just my post tan outfit.  I ran to the bathroom, slapped on some makeup, and wiggled into my skinny jeans.  Next thing you know my sister arrived as well as a dear family friend (family member) Lauren, followed by my best friends from college, Kendall, Ellie, and Sarah!  This was the first time I had seen Kendall since she got engaged so we took a moment to bask in her engagementness!  I was happy to pass on the wedding planning torch.  We then enjoyed a lovely lunch and went our separate ways.
I arrived back to the apartment and lounged around with Jason and Paul for a few hours.  I wrote some cards for our parents and the card I would give to Jason on our wedding day.  We then asked Paul to leave the room for a few minutes so we could practice our first dance!  We had thrown this together pretty quick with the help of youtube and a little creativity.  I was so excited to debut this tomorrow! 
Before you knew it, it was time for the rehearsal!  I was running a little late and the guys were nice enough to send me ahead and pack up all the wedding party gifts for me.  When I arrived at St. Ann much of my family had already arrived along with my photographer and Stephanie.  I was instantly overwhelmed!  Everyone was giving out hugs and smiles and the vestibule was filled with excited energy.  I about burt into tears in that moment.  Happy tears of course.  But the one thing I remember more than anything was the celestial music coming from the chapel.  Our musicians, Elizabeth Bivens and Julian Vera, were in the middle of practicing the St. Mary’s (Mike Macicek) version of “Litany of the Saints.”  I had been worried about this one because they were going to have to do some improvising.  There was no need for worry.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I wanted to just sit down and take it all in, but far too soon I was whisked away by the coordinator to fill out some last minute details about the wedding party and walking orders.  While I was trying to answer her questions, I was also being asked questions by family members and my photographer.  Man oh man I really wanted Jason to be there at that moment.  And what do you know but he walked in and took some of the pressure off me!  I love that man. 
The rehearsal was underway but I was missing three of my bridesmaids.  I was a little thrown by this, but not too worried.  I knew they would be there eventually.

 Sure enough they arrived just in time as the coordinator was instructing the bridal party on the processional procedures.
Having a good ole time! 
Ahhh so cute practicing! 
 My dad was not at the rehearsal, so I stood at the back of the church by myself looking down the aisle at my family, friends, and future husband!  Cue overwhelming feeling.  “Okay Rebecca, now you walk down.” Breathe, don’t trip, breathe.  Sigh of relief.  My amazing cousin Kyle stepped in and took my dad’s place and walked with me down the aisle.  Kyle and I grew up together, always in the same class, and we have about 20 pictures of us dancing together as children.  I cannot adequately express how grateful I was to have him there. 
Pulling triple duty...on top of stepping in for my dad, he also stepped in for my Papa Joe and his actual role of Usher
Together at last
So we go through the motions of the ceremony.  We get to the part with the vows and Father Petter goes over our lines but does not allow us to repeat after him.  But, when we get to the exchanging of the rings he says we should go ahead and practice this so we can work on speaking loud enough. 

Jason goes first.  Have mercy, I am about to lose it!  Breathe!  I’m going to have to talk soon!  Here it goes, “Jason, take this…” cue tears and laughter.  I barely get through all the words, and Father Petter just smiles.  He was just the sweetest priest!  He was so good at keeping the rehearsal on track and did so with a little flare.  
Starting to cry...
Reminding me how to breathe 
Finding my tears endearing :) 
We get around to the first kiss part but are only allowed to hug.
And then we walk down the aisle together as almost husband and wife!
After the rehearsal had ended and everyone was getting ready to go onto the dinner, I went back into the chapel to listen to Liz and Julian finishing up their practice.  I cried a little (happy tears of course) and couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  Months of planning had come to this, and here I was sitting before the tabernacle listening to some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.  It was a perfect moment (there were lots of those that weekend). 

Rehearsal Dinner
We decided to host our rehearsal dinner at Blue Mesa in Addison.  Excellent choice!  The food and service was delicious.  We were surrounded by everyone we loved and had the opportunity to thank everyone for their support.  I handed out wedding party gifts and cards to our parents.  The bridesmaids got blue pumps and headbands to wear at the ceremony, the groomsmen got airsoft guns to keep them occupied before the ceremony, my attendants got scarves and jewelry, the ushers received Texas A&M garden gnomes, and the younger guys received earphone buds.  It was time to say our goodbyes. 

Jason and I hugged and kissed for the last time as a single couple and I retreated to my mom’s house where I “fell asleep” to Bridesmaids and the sound of laughter.  
   Wedding Day January 7th 2012
Morning Hair and Makeup
I did not sleep much that night.  After retreating to the upstairs bedroom I think I woke up about every 30 minutes to an hour checking my phone.  I was so anxious and excited and nervous!  The past 9 months were coming to a close and I would be a wife in less than 15 hours!  I finally got out of bed around 5:45am and took a quick shower.  I then asked my sister to borrow a pair of non black sweat pants to go with my brown button down shirt…it’s the little things. 

Around 7am Stephanie Burrows arrived to start working on my hair!

It only took about three or four attempts and mirror checks before she had accomplished the perfect braid and curl!  In fact, she finished in perfect time.  Our next move was to head to L. Bartlet Boutique in West Village for my makeup appointment.  Stephanie and Kimberly were true life savers this morning.  Stephanie stuck by my side all morning, driving me around and keeping me calm.  Kimberly made last minute store runs to pick up socks and shirts as well as a stop by Jason’s apartment to get my backless bra.  I arrived at L. Barlett and met up with my makeup artist Lindsey.  She is a huge sweetheart and I highly recommend her!

Oh yes, Stephanie also bought me some Passion Tea to warm me up, I was shivering on our way into the salon. 
We dashed out the door and back to the car.  I made a phone call to my dad to let him know he would be giving a short “thank you” speech at the reception and then made a call to my brother.  When my sister got married he insisted not to see her or her dress before she was coming down the aisle.  He made this same request to me, but I had a different idea and so I made call to pitch this to him.  After a little talk I had convinced him J  
We made a quick stop by Kroger to grab a bouquet of flowers for our Mary devotional and a card because I had forgotten the one I wrote Jason the day before.  We also picked up some gluten free cookies for Kendall because my baker told me last minute she wouldn’t be able to make one.  And then we went to the Church!
Getting Ready
When we arrived the bridal suite was bustling with my bridesmaids and photographer.  Hugs were given out all around!

In addition to a hug, Kimberly also handed me the card I had forgotten See?  She’s so on top of things!
The photographer, Susan Gilbert, quickly reminded us of our time schedule and said we had better start getting ready.  So naturally, as people are still saying hi I ducked behind the little wall and slipped into my dress.  When I came out I got a “whaaaat are you doing?  Why are you already in your dress?”  That’s just the kind of girl I am, no fuss, let’s get this going kind of girl.

The rush of getting ready went by so fast.  Before I knew it I was standing in my wedding gown with my best friends so close to getting married! My heart was racing and all I could think about was getting to see Jason soon!
But before that could happen, my brother and I would have our moment.  You know how a lot of people do “first looks” with the bride and groom?  Well, I decided to do this with my brother.  We have a very close bond, and I wanted to be sure we had our own special moment and pictures together before the wedding.  I’m so grateful that he agreed to do this!

Groom and his Men
 I can’t say I know what all went on in the guys room as they were getting ready, but here are some pictures to give you an idea.

Before Ceremony Pictures
Before the ceremony we wanted to get a few pictures with our bridal party.  I wanted to be sure to get some serious poses as well as some fun poses.  I have to say, people were a little shyer than I was expecting when it came to the fun poses.  The girls did bring it when it was their individual turns and the guys brought it in their pictures with Jason.  Unfortunately, the girls’ pictures with Jason did not come out.  You can go to facebook to see all of these fun pictures.  Also, due to time constraints I didn’t get as many casual pictures with my bridesmaids as I would have liked. 

And then Brooklyn came outside.  The entire wedding party gasped. She was such an angel that day!  I can’t get over how precious she is and how much I love her. 
I also took pictures with my mom in front of the Mary Grotto.  This was important for me to do because my mom has been such an inspiration to me that past few years and I know she draws a lot of strength from our Blessed Mother. 

First Touch
Jason and I did forego the “first look” pictures, but decided we wanted to have a first touch around a corner.  My heart about jumped out of my chest to hold his hand.  It had only been one night, but it felt like an eternity!  We sqeezed each other’s hands three times, something we have done for most of our relationship as a silent way of reassuring and comforting one another “I love you.”  It was nice to be this close to him, but the time had come for him to head towards the chapel, we were going to get married!

But Where’s Rebecca Sams?
We were gathered in the bridal room and my mom said a prayer as all my bridesmaids held hands and bowed our heads.  It was beautiful.  I remember at one point her thanking God for the beautiful woman I had become.  It was one of the first times my mom had ever called me a woman.  I know I’ve been considered an adult and a grown up for a little bit now, but there’s something special about hearing your mom call you a woman.  This set off the waterworks for me.  I was grown, no longer a little girl.  I can’t imagine having gone through this day without my mom there!  She’s so wonderful! 
And then the wedding coordinator came back to the room to let everyone know it was time to go.  One by one the room began to empty, soon enough it was just me, my mom, and the second photographer.  My mom was being called, she gave me a kiss and squeezed my hands.  I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  I had fanned my eyes a number of times already throughout the morning, but I wasn’t sure if that would be enough this time.  I grabbed my mom’s hands tight and said, “But where’s Rebecca Sams?” And what do you know, she appeared around the corner as though she was waiting ever so patiently and gracefully to be needed. 
I had prearranged with Rebecca to have her stand in the back with me as everyone left for the ceremony.  This is not a typical thing to ask a person to do at a wedding, but early on in my planning something told me I would need somebody there and the only person I felt was right to ask was Rebecca.  She has been my shoulder cry on, my ear to listen to me, and my friend on whom I can always rely.  And this moment was no different.  She came into the bridal room as my mom left and did what any awesome friend would do in this situation:  Sang Tarzan songs with me.  That’s right.  We rocked out to some Phil Collins.  It was perfect and my eyes dried up in no time.
Gavin, one of our ushers knocked on the door and told me it was time.  I hugged Rebecca and walked out the door down the hallway to my dad.  I don’t know that I can describe how I felt during the next few minutes.  It felt like an eternity and a flash all at once.  I could hear “Beloved” being played ever so sweetly through the vestibule.  We were walking toward the doors to the chapel and I just wanted to run!  Don’t worry, not run away.  I wanted to run to the doors!  I wanted to get in there and see Jason!
 And then the time came.  I was escorted to the double glass doors as my cousins opened them and the coordinator fluffed my train.  I took one deep breath in and looked up to see my future husband looking back at me. 

Time must have stood still for a moment.  I know this because every other part of the day is a bit of a blur.  A memory in fast forward.  But this moment was pure bliss.  120 pairs of eyes were on me,  but all I could see in this moment were those deep chocolate brown eyes of Jason.  Tears welled up again, I let a sharp breath out and began to walk.  Finally, we were here!  5 long years of distances between us and I was walking that last bit of distance out of existence.  No more long goodbyes.  This was our time.
And this is a Great Mystery
The ceremony was beautiful!  I won’t go through everything…or at least I will try not to.  Jason and I both began to tear up during the second reading, Ephesians 5.  We had also teared up many months ago as we were choosing our readings for the Mass while reading this same passage.  It’s words spoke so deeply to us.  John Passmore, who read this for us, wrote to me after I emailed him the passage “I am of the firm belief this one should be required reading for all weddings. It speaks so concisely to the true beauty of Christian marriage and its reflection of even greater truths.”      I couldn’t have said it better myself. 
Father Petter gave a beautiful homily in which he touched on each of our readings. But first he commented on our choice of shoes.  He really liked that both of us were wearing our cowboy boots.   Here’s the concise version: Song of Songs – This reading should always remind us to keep that same joy and youthfulness in our marriage as we felt in that very moment.
Ephesians: See John’s quote above. 
John: We are to share this love to the world and be an example of Christ’s love for the Church.
And then it was time for our vows!  I was shaking.  I was also sure I wouldn’t get through more than three words before I started crying, considering how the rehearsal had gone. Jason went first.  At first I was looking down, trying not to let my tears loose, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t look into his eyes during this.  So I looked up, and there I was met with the most reassuring eyes.  I’m so glad I looked up; the moment became that much more real.  I know Father Petter was giving Jason the words to repeat, but I also know that each word and sentiment came straight from his heart.

Now my turn.  I took a deep breath in and began to speak.  I could feel my throat tighten a little and tears rush to my eyes.  I had little bit of a crack in my voice, maybe a tear or two, but I held it together!  Even better, I was married! How beautiful are the vows spoken at a Catholic wedding?  I can’t imagine writing my own vows when these resonate so strongly with me.  We exchanged rings and never broke eye contact.  It was as though no one else was even in the chapel. 

We then walked over to light the Unity Candle.  Jason’s candle had melted a little and the wax got stuck in the candle holder so he had to wrestle a little with it.  But, no fires were set so I’d say it’s a success.  It also gave our musicians time to finish the Unity Candle Song (Wherever You Go – Song of Ruth).

We moved on to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Our Offertory Hymn was Matt Maher’s “Set Me as a Seal” which was a perfect complement to our first reading.  Kimberly had sent me the song as I was picking out music and I am so grateful! Our musicians did a lovely version.  If I haven’t said so yet, I loved our musicians!  They are both graduate students in the music programs at UNT and TWU.  I was so lucky to have found them.  Each time they sang I became emotional all over again, they had such powerful voices and really put their hearts into the music. 
After the Consecration (read more about how amazing it was to experience this with Jason as my husband here), we stood to say The Lord’s Prayer followed by the sign of peace.  Gracious goodness!  This took much longer than I had anticipated as we traveled to our bridal party and parents to give them all hugs.  I was trying to hurry it up but didn’t want to skip over anyone. We then received the Eucharist together as husband and wife.

*Side note* I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kimberly for fluffing my dress every time I moved.  She was so dedicated to making sure my train looked beautiful in all my pictures. I did not realize how much movement was involved in a wedding Mass until I became conscious of the number of times Kimberly had to get down and re-fluff.  She’s pretty much awesome!  
For example:  This picture was taken just after Fr. Petter finished giving out Communion (see above picture where my dress is all folded).  How did she do it so fast and slyly?  
Next up came the presentation of roses to Mary.  Right before this I whispered to Jason (see above picture) to follow my lead when we got up.  I wanted to give roses to both our moms, even though we didn’t go over this in the rehearsal.  Then we walked over to the statue of Mary and knelt down.  This was a very special moment for us.  When Jason proposed we went to St. Mary’s and sat before a statue of Mary and asked for her intercessions for our engagement and preparation for marriage.  Here we were again, but this time asking for her to pray for our marriage and our future family.  On top of all of this Liz, our soloist, was singing the most beautiful version of Ave Maria (Caccini) I’ve ever heard.  All the feelings of that day became so present to me and I squeezed Jason’s hand as tears again rolled down my cheek.  I was beaming, I felt myself giving off the bridal glow people always talk about. 


When we returned it was time for our first kiss as a married couple!  It had been so hard throughout the ceremony to not kiss each other.  Kisses during the sign of peace has become a norm for us and throughout the Mass I wanted to lean in for a kiss on the cheek.  You don’t realize how natural kisses have become until you’re not supposed to do it.  But finally we were here looking out at all the people who have loved and supported us throughout our lives being introduced as husband and wife.  And then we kissed!  It was so wonderful, one of the best kisses I’ve ever had.  In a split second my mind went back to the first time we kissed sitting on my mom’s couch, waiting for my parents to get back from Christmas caroling.  And here we were now, married!  And then, well, we kissed again…I think Fr. Petter was ready for us to make our way back down the aisle, but he laughed at our kissiness. 

Going in for our second kiss...Fr. Petter asking my sister to get this show on the road

We made our way down the aisle holding hands.  I just couldn’t stop looking at my husband.  I was in total disbelief that this had all just happened.  And then as we approached the end of the aisle I hear “CHEESE AND CRACKERS!” I about die.  It’s my photographer.  The doors to the back of the chapel hadn’t been opened so she ran smack into them as she was backing up down the aisle.  Luckily, after talking to some other people, not many other people heard this.  We did however miss out on our fun “we’re married, walking kiss” picture and we didn’t get Kimberly and Paul’s fun pose.  But that’s okay.  We did get everyone else’s! 

Then it felt like pure chaos for the next hour.  I was thanking people for coming and giving hugs to some of the guests all while being beckoned to start pictures.  I wish I had had more time to make sure I said hello to everyone who was there.  We took our pictures with the priest and in the chapel, then headed outside for our family pictures.  I also wish there had been more time to take pictures with the bridal party and pictures of the two of us alone.  Somehow everything that cleaned out of the groom’s and bridal rooms.  I am so thankful to whoever did this for us.  Then we hopped in the car with Paul and headed toward the Hilton for our Reception!  



UP NEXT:  The Reception and beyond!

The VrlyFries 


  1. Simply beautiful.

  2. awesome photos ... such an adorable wedding dress. love it.Thanks for sharing all these blogs and phots are very useful to every one

    wedding planning education

  3. This is such a wonderful post! I definitely cried as I read it. I wish I would have written down little details about my wedding day...I most likely have forgotten by now.

    I think it's funny and awesome the you went back and glued in "Wagner" in all the programs! Let's be matter what I'll always be a Vrla. :P

    I have to commend you on your music choices for both the ceremony and reception. During both everything was perfect. I just loved it.

    I also had no idea how many times I would be fluffing the dress!! Though Fr. Petter put me in my place the night of the regersal when he said, "You do know it's up to you to make sure Rebecca looks good in all her pictures. No one wants to see a beautiful picture of the church with an dress that is no fluffed." I remember thinking, he is so right! I have to get this done. He we also kind enough to motion to me when he thought it needed fluffling and giving me time to get it done. He's so wonderful.