Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Wedding

What is it about girls and weddings? Most girls’ big dream-of-a-lifetime is their wedding. They think about it from the time they’re little toddlers running around pretending they are the bride of the most recent wedding they attended. As they grow older they form opinions on details such as colors and dress styles and bouquet flowers. A bridal magazine randomly arriving in the mail gets poured over for months and in moments of sheer boredom looking up wedding dresses on the internet is a sure way to pass the time.

I admit it, I was one of those girls. My wedding day was probably going to wind up being the ultimate hilt of my life. In fact, it would be so wonderful that it would surely be the best wedding everybody there ever attended.
And then I met Andy. We fell in love, we became engaged, and I discovered that I loved this guy so much I could hardly care less how my wedding came together.

In spite of the times where just eloping seemed entirely too practical, appealing and most budget-efficient, we stuck to our guns and made our plans for a small military wedding.

I won’t deny the fact that there were many times when it was just plain hard. We had numerous separations due to an army schedule Andy had to keep while complications and constant hurdles thrown our way seemed to be the story of our life. Sometimes it felt like Satan was working overtime to destroy what God had created for us. But the details began to come together. As the days went by, our wedding became more and more of a reality. It was exciting to think it was actually going to happen! The thrill wasn’t so much in the wedding… It was in loving this man so much and getting to be his wife that drove me to the crazy hilt of joy.

. . : : T H E R E H E A R S A L : : . .

The day of the rehearsal I was running around town taking care of last minute details. People kept asking me why I wasn’t nervous, didn’t I know I was getting married tomorrow? I was informed that I didn’t seem like I was getting married the next day. I guess the bride is supposed to be stressed out, and here I was offering to help my to-be sister in-law who seemed to have too much on her plate.

I went down to the church with my sister and her sister in-law to work on decorating. As the pink bows and hydrangea flowers began to change the atmosphere of the sanctuary the realization that this was indeed my wedding was slowly beginning to dawn on me. My sister sat down at the piano to practice the piece she was to play and as the music filled the auditorium my heart began to beat fast.

A glance at the clock told me that I needed to rush home and get out of my shabby clothes and do something with my hair and make-up or I was going to be the only grungy one at the rehearsal. I had less than an hour to make myself half-way presentable and make sure I had all my bags packed for the bachelorette party, wedding and honeymoon. It just so happened to be that particular hour in which all of the out of town guests showed up and had to come back to the bedroom to say hi; the emcee needed me to write lists for songs and bridal party attendants and proper name pronouncement; my phone was ringing off the hook and everybody was wondering if I knew what time the rehearsal started. That was the only time in which I began to feel a slight knot of stress in the pit of my stomach which would soon turned into excited happy butterflies. I was marrying the man of my dreams the next day!!!

It took about four tries of going down the aisle at the rehearsal before we got it down relatively pat. The deejay had a hard time remembering when to play which songs and to make sure the volume was loud enough for people to hear it. Would we wait behind the unity candle until the song was done…. And do take into consideration the train of the dress so it doesn’t get tripped over…. Make sure you move forward so the stage doesn’t look so crowded…. And don’t forget to hold hands…. No, you can’t rehearse the kiss. Other than that, it went off without a hitch.

The rehearsal dinner was delicious… or so I was told. I was cuddling my one year-old nephew at our table before I finally got up to get some food for my uninterested appetite long after everyone had sat down with their own. My other nephew announced to the whole assembly, "Oh look! Beemoo’s finally going to eat!" I don’t remember what it tasted like. I was in a pleasant state of shock sitting next to my tomorrow-to-be-my-husband realizing that the next time I would see him would be at the head of the aisle in his sharp dress green uniform.
. . : : T H E B A C H E L O R E T T E P A R T Y : : . .

That night my bridesmaids and a few close friends threw an informal bachelorette slumber party for me. Nine girls crowded into one hotel room with bags of interesting gifts and goodies for me to take on my honeymoon made for a very fun last-night-of-being-single. We did all sorts of interesting girly things like painting our nails, applying matching tattoos to various parts of our bodies and giggling. I don’t know how many times one or the other would squeal in excitement, "BRITTNEY!!! You’re getting MARRIED tomorrow!!!!" Wow. And so I was.

Sleeping was something of a joke for me. Our sleeping arrangements were a bit cramped—I settled myself in between two sleeping girls in one queen-sized bed. I was too happy to care if I slept or not. I was getting married. Life was good. Sleep unnecessary.

I probably would have experienced more sweet slumbers had one of the girls not been sleep walking on sleeping people and trying to add a fourth person to the crowded bed I was in. A few of us thereby developed an acute case of the giggles.
. . : : G E T T I N G R E A D Y : : . .

The alarm rang at 7AM. Looking outside at a clear blue sky promised an absolutely glorious day. I knew it was one of God’s special wedding gifts just for Andy and me.

We rushed around taking showers and putting our things together. The limousine arrived and we loaded up our bags of luggage and the arm-load of plastic-covered satin.

The next 5 hours were spent in a haze of hairspray and tangled curling irons. Dresses were ironed, make-up applied, and we girls oohed and aahed over each other’s awakened beauty. I knew that the girls in my wedding party were gorgeous, but never had they looked more stunning than on that day in their soft pink satin dresses. I was so proud of each of them and loved them so much!

The only thing that frustrated me to no end was knowing Andy was in the same building as I and I could not see him. It added suspense to the thrilling knot of joy in my stomach. How desperately I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how excited I was to be his wife!

Once my hair was done I was ready to slip into my dress. Accompanied by our photographer, my matron of honor and my mom I stepped into the satin and beads and sparkles of my wedding gown. Courtney patiently laced up the endless loops while other girls, one-by-one filed in and made exclamations of delighted excitement.

And then my dad was allowed entrance. I’ll never forget the huge smile on his face and his tender, "You look beautiful, Britt." I don’t know when I have ever seen him more proud, happy or handsome.

The veil was secured in place over my head and the next thing we knew it was time to assemble ourselves for the procession. I could faintly hear music coming from the auditorium and was tingling with joy and anticipation of walking down that aisle and looking into the eyes of the man I loved so much to forever seal the union of our lives.

. . : : T H E C E R E M O N Y : : . .

The processional music was playing. I watched as those beautiful smiling girls slipped out of sight, on the arm of a man in uniform, making their way down the aisle. The pastel pink satin against the dark green uniforms was amazingly sharp.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

I giggled as the little ring bearer and flower girl made their way up the aisle sprinkling petals in the cutest, most adorably classic fashion that becomes flower girls and ring bearers.

The music was reaching a crescendo. It was our turn. My heart was beating fast as I clutched my bouquet with one hand and slipped the other into Dad’s arm and we began our slow ascent.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,

With the fire of life impassioned,

Striving still to truth unknown,

Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

There was Andy, standing so tall and handsome at the end of the aisle that suddenly seemed so long, his loving eyes captivating mine. I could hardly tear my eyes away from his gaze from that moment on.

Here we were, our wedding day. Our love was being celebrated by all those present and the dream of our lifetime was unfolding with each slow step my white high-heeled sandals made down the petal-strewn aisle runner.

"Who giveth this bride to this man?" The pastor asked. And my dad’s strong, confident voice declared "Her mother and I." He brushed my veil aside to kiss my cheek and then placed my hand in Andy’s. My heart was bubbling over with such intense joy.

Truth is, I can but vaguely recall the profound things that the minister had to say after that, other than "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here together today to mourn the passing of a good man. Oops, wrong service." I was so tuned in to Andy’s gorgeous blue eyes, the way he tenderly caressed and squeezed my hand and his gentle whispers. "Brittney, you are so beautiful…. I love you so much…. I can’t believe today is our wedding day…. I can’t wait for tonight…. I’m so glad you will be my wife…. You are so beautiful…." Now I know what kinds of things couples whisper to each other at the altar.

And then my dad got up and sang a special song. He had asked me several weeks before if he could sing, but he wanted the song to be a surprise. Accompanied with his guitar, my mom on her upright bass and a violinist friend he began to sing…

Look at the two of you dancing that way,
Lost in the moment and each other's face
So much in love you’re alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago;
I was her number one, she told me so
And she still means the world to me just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

How could that beautiful woman with you
Be the same freckle-faced kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first
And I held her first
And a place in my heart
Will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew that the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

Someday you might know
What I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

Andy told me later that was the one part of the ceremony he noticed my eyes well up. My dad’s love and support for us meant so much to me and the way he expressed it touched me deeply. After the ceremony many people commented on how electrifying that song was to them.

The minister then shared words about this assembly gathering together to witness this covenant of marriage. I’m grateful he gave us a copy of his notes because someday I’m going to go back to remember what wise things he had to say, and not just the twinkle in his eye as he watched how oblivious we were to everything but each other.

The majestic orchestral music began to play "The Prayer" as performed by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church. Andy held my hand and looked deep into my eyes and whispered his love. I wondered why the kiss had to wait until the end of the ceremony.
I pray You’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer as we go our way
Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find Your light and hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

We ask that life be kind and watch us from above
We hope each soul will find another soul to love
Let this be our prayer just like every child
Needs to find a place, guide us with Your grace,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

As the song came to an end, we vowed our lives together forever—until death would us part. And then as a token of our love and a symbol of our unending commitment we exchanged our white-gold wedding bands.

My sister sat down at the grand piano and began to play a piece that she had arranged just for this special day. I had told her the previous summer when I first heard this song that I wanted her to play it someday at my wedding for our unity candle. Con te partirò, or Time to Say Goodbye, is a gorgeous song, and Courtney’s arrangement was so beautiful. While she played Andy and I lit the flame on our unity candle. As it flickered we held each other’s hands. Andy pressed my finger against his wedding band with a twinkle in his eye. "We’re married! Can’t wait to kiss you!"

A dear and very talented friend of my husband’s family sang a song that was very special to Andy and I. She made Steven Curtis Chapman’s "I Will Be Here" even more beautiful.

Tomorrow mornin' if you wake up and the sun does not appear
I will be here
If in the dark we lose sight of love hold my hand and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

I will be here... when you feel like bein' quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen
And I will be here when the laughter turns to cryin',
Through the winnin' and losin' and tryin' we'll be together
'Cause I will be here
Tomorrow mornin' if you wake up and the future is unclear
I will be here
Just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
I will be here
I will be here....
You can cry on my shoulder when the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you and I will be here to watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me
I will be here
And just as sure as seasons are made for change our lifetimes are made for years
'Cause I will be here....

We'll be together
'Cause I will be here
I’ll never forget standing there at the altar with my husband and feeling the impact of the words to this song and expressing its meaning by squeezing his strong hand. We gazed intently into each other’s eyes, feeling the emotion of our commitment and incredible gratitude to the One who gave us to each other.

And then came the best part.
We were pronounced man and wife.
Andy lifted my veil, wrapped his arms around me and tenderly kissed my lips.
In that moment everything else faded and it was just him and I lost in the moment, surrounded by the most beautiful love in all the world.

Handel’s Water Music announced the completion of our ceremony. Courtney handed my bouquet back to me, and with my hand on his strong arm we walked down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Hobein feeling happier than we had ever felt in all our lives.

. . : : I N S U M M A R Y : : . .

Our wedding was a dream come true. It was so perfect, so beautiful and so incredibly happy.

None of my dreams in the past could have ever created the perfection and emotion of this special day. No amount of planning could produce the beauty that was ours that day.

There was no doubt in my mind that God had planned this day for us. His gift of love to us was the most beautiful wedding gift that we received. I will never ever forget the perfection, the passion, the ardor, the most beautiful love and happiness that we experienced upon the commencement of our marriage.

So what is it about little girls and weddings? It’s the life-long dream and desire planted by the Father of Love inside their hearts. It only grows with time, and when they meet their one true love, they discover how small their dreams were in comparison to the reality of their love. From such dreams come perfect weddings.


NellBell said...

wow. I really enjoyed the post! :) I've been checking back every so often just to see if you posted something more about the wedding - and finally you had! :) I really liked that last picture of you... beautiful! And I wish I could have heard that song your dad sang!

Kate said...

Oh Britt, that was so beautifully written!!!

You two were absolutely precious the way you were lost in each others eyes the entire ceremony.
I think I grinned the whole time because I was so excited for you and Andy and I could just feel your love for each other radiating!
Your dad's song was so touching and sweet. I had tears welling in MY eyes!

It truly was a lovely wedding you, Mr and Mrs Hobein were lovlier yet!!!

Melody Brubaker said...

What a beautiful wedding!

Chantel said...

What you say is absolutely true. When you fall in love with the man God has for you, the wedding seems totally insignificant, and the marriage becomes all important.

God bless you and your new life together! I loved reading and seeing your pictures, and...waiting for my own moment. :)

Linda N. said...

Wow! Beautiful post! I so love that your Dad sang that song! It's one of my favorites!!!!

Ruth Ann said...

that is so beautiful, Brittney!! I'm one of those girls too. Isn't it amazing how God gives you more than you ever dreamed?Especially true when you have committed yourself to Himm for His choice!!

Thank you for your example!

Melissa Searle said...

Hell Brittney, :)
You dont know me but i came across your blog from a friend of mine. :-) I just loved reading your love story, and seeing all your beautiful wedding pics! You looked so beautiful, and your wedding was gorgeous! Congratulations on your marriage. :-) Hehe I would love to get to know you better, i am from Australia and love meeting new people. :-) I just loved your blog, so wanted to tell you. :)
Hope to hear from you soon! Pop by and say hi. ;-)

Kristin said...

Beautiful Brittney :) It made me cry...I'm glad everything went well!

Amanda said...

I stumbled across your blog today. What a beautiful and tender love story. You both truly are so blessed. I pray your love for each other just deepens more and more.

As you wrote your story of your wedding day, and as I read through some of your other posts (your engagement/proposal) I could just feel your love oozing from your beautiful words. You are truly living a fairytale, one that is real and true!

God bless you both,

CT said...

That is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your pictures.

It was a pleasure to get a peek into your life Brittney,

Christa Taylor

Leah said...

Beautiful Brittney!! Makes me anticipate my wedding one day.. :-) Many congratulations to you and Andy!

Leah said...

btw, I Will Be Here is one of my favorite wedding songs. ;-)

Mishel said...

Wow! I'm crying! That doesn't happen very often when reading a blog post.

What a beautiful story! And what a beautiful bride you were! The style of your dress was very similar to Ashleigh's.

Thank you for giving us a peek into your very special day. Congratulations!!

meg martin said...

Uh-MAZING post girl. I'm so happy for you as you experience the most amazing love you share with your best friend. Rock on ARMY WIFE!!!!!!

Heidi said...

Britt, it sounds like the wedding was perfect! Thank you so much for giving us a peek into YOUR day through your pictures, your post, and the music.
Love you girl!!!

Kristi said...

I enjoyed reading about your wedding day and seeing the beautiful pictures. You should do one of those picture books at Shutterfly and put all of those wonderful memories in it! Again...congratulations. I do hope you and your Andy have a very happy and fruitful life together.


Anonymous said...

Yay!!! A nice long post and lots of pictures!! :) Beautiful, Brittany!! Well written as always, and I love seeing all of the pictures. The last one is my favorite--what a beautiful bride!!


Mary Ellen said...

I am so happy for you Brittney!!
That was beautifully written and I felt like I was right there at the wedding!! I was having trouble not tearing up, myself!
I wish you and Andy the very best,

P.S. Your wedding looked beautiful, and the music was gorgeous. =D

Your Friend,
Mary Ellen

Natasha said...

What a beautiful post! And such sweet pictures - you looked absolutely stunning in the last photo!! :)

How precious that God has blessed you and your husband with such a strong love for each other... and how wonderful that your wedding day exceeded all your dreams!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm looking forward to 'getting to know you' better! :)

Arlene said...


Thank you for sharing all those little details about your special day. This definitely needs to be printed out and put up in a scrapbook!

Deborah said...

Congratulaions,Britt and Andy! I wish you all the best!

joygirl said...

Loved this post Britt! Made me relive that whole beautiful day all over again! Love you and Andy so much! <3

Ginger said...

Ahhh I loved it!!!!! Beautiful!!!!
I am so happy for you!

Hannah Michelle said...

Darling Britt!! Sorry you haven't heard from me in awhile, I promise I'm not mad that you got married. (LOL!!)

I SO loved reading this very personal account of your made me both smile and cry. Most brides don't detail the day like that and it was really special to hear your thoughts and those sweet little moments between you and Andy. And the pictures! My word...too much goodness to take in here. ;) You looked *gorgeous* and ridiculously happy. (But yes it's a little weird to see you kissing someone! Ha!) What a precious blessing the two of you have been given, and that beautiful day was only the start of it. ;)

Love you girlfriend!

Elizabeth said...

Aww ... this is SO beautiful. I don't USUALLY tear up reading blog posts ... ! :) Thank you for taking the time and effort to write such a beautiful account of your wedding. God has blessed you richly - and your readers, too, as they read of the wonderful wedding, marriage and love He has given you and Andy! Thank you for the encouragement to hang on in there and WAIT - for my "prince" to come AND for our "perfect" wedding. It's was a special, precious, lovely encouragement to my heart!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Eight said...

Mrs. Hobein:

I love green together with pink flowers! (It doesn't hurt those were my wedding colours as well! ;)

Your wedding was so beautiful, inside and out, and you are a beautiful person, inside and out. You have a beautiful talent for writing and communicating--has anyone told you before that you're quite the artist? Oh, God has blessed you in so many ways--you're a lucky girl and you know it--May God continue to bless and keep you and your husband.


Anonymous said...

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