Jason and April wed at Mission Inn photo by Richelle Dante

The United States Wedding

 

Jason and April wed at Mission Inn photo by Richelle Dante

Unbelievable! That’s the only word that comes to mind when I conjure images of yesterday, wedding number one of our Wedding World Tour, held at The Mission Inn in Riverside. The day “started” (for me) by going to bed at 6am as I was finishing modifications to the ceremony after a VERY rough rehearsal. My normal grumpiness after about 3.5 hours of sleep never appeared, as Feb 11, 2011 was my wedding day, and I was excited! I also knew things would go “wrong” at times, but it was mostly out of my control at that point. (That whole point, though, depends on your definition of “wrong” … we loved every moment, whether it was planned or unplanned.)

April and Jason February 11 2011

With a pickup by groosman Mark, lunch with all the boys, getting ready in the “grooms room”, preliminary photos … it seemed no time at all that it was time to head to the chapel. I had just one moment of “OMG” before the ceremony … and then it was gone, and I was ready to stand in front of my family and friends and make the largest public commitment of my life.

What do I remember? Standing outside the doors with my mom, ready to walk her down the aisle; slowing walking down that aisle and looking in the eyes of the most important people in my life, one-by-one; standing at that altar waiting for the huge double-doors to open and instantly tearing up when I saw how amazing and beautiful of a bride April is (she was a blur coming down the aisle, I couldn’t help it!); having her sit down beside me up there and seeing the majesty of the dress she hand bejeweled; and the amazing moments of our ceremony: Dani just killing (in a good way) the incredibly difficult song that she had never heard one hour earlier; the look in the bridal party’s eyes at many of the special moments; our crying officiant; the meddling mom’s and storytelling friends; seeing an audience full of amazing, wonderful people … and most importantly those moment with April: the door opening mentioned; bringing her up to the altar; looking her in the eye and feeling her love and joy as we stood there; hearing her sing “Finally” (so amazing!); the incredible moment of walking from the back of the aisle lighting candles as everyone sang “Sunrise, Sunset,”  feeling the love of the entire cathedral as THEY said their “I DOs” to us; and the three separate, heartfelt, distinct vows that April and I said to each other … and yes, of course the “I Do!”s and walking down the aisle to Star Wars … memories that are 24-hours new, and yet will be with me for 50+ years.

Following that, a heavenly reception. April and a massive team of help planned and decorated with flowers, lighting, linens, t-shirt gifts, and even items from our home on each table … plus a cake that had been made for us that was out-of-this-world: red velvet on the inside, and levels of amazing on the outside that I cannot even begin to describe here. Imagine nearly life-size suitcases coated in a pearlescent coating, with books on top, and an entire “wedding cake” on top of all that … decorated with edible sheet music, fabrics from the wedding, and ornamented with edible flowers and pearls, our initials engraved in “leather”, photos of us and our destinations, and more. Simply incredible.

Michael stood up and announced that February 11, 2011, was officially proclaimed “Wedding World Tour Day” in Riverside … wow, thank you Riverside! And the speeches by many people … touching and “real” … also a highlight of the night.

And if that wasn’t enough … there was the music. With 3 fabulous bands — and a bride who we couldn’t seem to get off the microphone — I felt that I was treated to the best private concert of my life, attended by all my friends, in a beautiful environment, with the most amazing wife I could ever imagine. I so loved to watch her “rock out” on the mic!

I’ve heard many people say that they didn’t remember their wedding, or that it was just “nice” … but I can tell you, I loved every single minute of our day, felt more love than I have ever experienced, and am so pleased that I had the opportunity to create something so wonderful with my soulmate. We are truly, truly blessed. We both feel extremely grateful to everyone who helped make yesterday (and the upcoming days!) happen … thank you!

Tomorrow starts the “travel portion” of the Wedding World Tour! We’re so excited that we get to try Emirates Airline! After hearing so much about them, we will of course give the full review after landing in Thailand in just a few days …