Monday, May 17, 2010
Today is the anniversary of the wedding of our oldest son and his bride. It was a beautiful sunny Ozark spring day 13 years ago, filled with family and friends and all that goes into that sacred ceremony. My heart was filled and overflowing with gratitude and excitement. The girl that would soon be my new daughter had been in our lives and hearts for a few years and we all adored her. Andy and Jamie had been best friends during their college days and everyone knew they were meant to spend their lives together. We'd visited often with her family in their home and even vacationed together. We loved them too.
The wedding weekend had really begun a few days prior, but we were in Waco, Texas just 24 hours before the ceremony at Andy's college graduation, having flown in from Savannah, GA where we were living at the time. We were spending time with him and Philip, making last minute memories of our family consisting of just the four of us. Immediately after he'd shaken hands and posed for the picture with Baylor's President on that stage that Saturday morning he darted out the back door and we were off to Branson, Mo. Jamie's father had arranged a private plane to whisk us from one state to another. It WAS important that we arrive in time for rehearsal dinner which was our responsibility and joy to host. We got there in plenty of time to greet everyone at the saloon at Silver Dollar City following the rehearsal on that Saturday night. To say it was a busy time is truly the classic understatement.
Our big extended family had driven many hours from Illinois to gather for the occasion, several friends had come from Little Rock, AR and my best friend had flown in from Pennsylvania. Jamie's family and all their friends made it a big crowd. The officiating minister had come from England. Yes, it was a gathering, a weekend of celebration for many.
Guests of all ages filled the hotels in Branson. Most all the cabins of Lakeshore Resort held the Braner clan. For that many to gather together for such a happy event was a rare and cherished time. Memories were made and still discussed.
The ceremony itself was held in a beautiful serene chapel in the woods on the property of Kanakuk Kamps, Jamie's home and their family business. The pews were packed as the radiant bride made her way down the aisle. Her father gave the opening remarks, Honeybuns (best man) expressed how we had prayed for Jamie and how grateful we were that He had answered our prayers for our son in her. Philip was groomsman and had on his "game face". He'd confessed to me earlier that this was a very emotional and happy day for him as well.
Andy and Jamie made their promises to one another and to their God in view of all. It was a very precious and intimate moment. Pictures of the ceremony itself, the wedding party and family become more valuable with each passing year as some of those loved ones are no longer with us.
The reception was held on a grassy field covered with white tents, white roses, an abundance of delicious food, and much love. On that day even nature was shouting "glory", the grass could not have been greener, the sun never brighter. The PLATTERS provided the music for outdoor dancing and many light-hearted moments. The guests provided the warmth and laughter.
God had ordained and given us perfection! 5 children and years of memories later, HE continues to bless us through the new family that was birthed on that day.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to two of the most important people in my heart and life!