I met Walter and Cat online last week (only four days before their best day ever). After five minutes on the phone with Cat I felt as if I had both made a new best friend and also, met my match in the category of “extrovert extraordinaire”. She had me tearing up as she made me laugh while sharing her story with Walter. In Cat’s words: “Life has been a crazy, difficult adventure and after all these years without him, I’m finally marrying my best friend. There’s no doubt about it: God brought us together!”
For their best day ever, they wanted a small ceremony at the beach in Golden Gardens Park in West Seattle. Of course, because being by the water is their favorite thing to do together, they wanted a ceremony standing out in the waters (with me included). This got me out of wearing a suit, so I 100% consented. But in all seriousness, there was an even more profound aspect of this setting for their special day. For them, water represents peace and refreshing, but also a washing away of old things to bring the new. We all agreed: bring the Kleenex because this is going to be a short but powerful ceremony!
However, Saturday morning I awoke to cold wind and rain. I reluctantly put on shorts knowing there was a possibility we’d still plan on going in the waters together. I arrived at the park and Walter bluntly informed me that he wasn’t planning on going in the water. Myself, the groom and all the guests sat under umbrellas and an easy-up tent waiting for the bride to make her grand entrance. I had prepared myself to officiate a brief ceremony under the little tent keeping my glasses unfogged and Ipad safe and dry…
… until Cat rolled up 10 minutes later.
The first thing that came out of her mouth was “Alright, everybody down to the water!” After knowing Cat for only four days, I knew that everybody was going to do exactly what she said. Two minutes later, Walter, Cat and myself were standing up to our shins in the cold waters of Puget Sound as the twenty or so guests watched from the shore wrapped in blankets and under umbrellas. As I began my opening remarks (through clicking teeth from the shivering), Cat looked up at me nervously and said, “Can we make this quick?”
Love keeps you on your toes. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. It compels you to ditch the norm while filling you with boldness for sake of something great and new. Love like this is what we were all there to acknowledge and celebrate.
I scrapped all my well-planned notes and took a 15 minute ceremony down to about 4 minutes and 58 seconds. I knew what we were doing and honoring together at that moment in the cold waters was more special and compelling than any words I could ever formulate and say: the beginning of something brand new and powerful that God had made!
We laughed through shivering vows, cried as the bride and groom wept tears of joy, my fingers were so numb I almost dropped the rings and I managed to wrap it all up and got the couple out of the water just as a whopper of crab was getting ready to eat Cat’s feet. As we all sat under the tent drinking hot coffee, eating cake and getting the feeling back in our toes, we all laughed and smiled agreeing that a day like this that kept us all on our toes truly turned out to be the best day ever!