Added 8 May 2001, last revised 16 September 2001
Greetings one and all! Welcome to Brian and Shannon's Medieval Wedding!
I hope this page will help give those who were unable to attend our wedding some sense of being there and fond memories to those who were able to attend. I also hope that it is of some use to others who are considering a Medieval wedding. I highly recommend it! In my opinion, it is a romantic theme and it makes the day more memorable.
28 JULY 2001 - THE BIG DAY
I woke up. I ran around. I got married. I talked with a few people. I opened thousands of cards until the wee hours of the morning. I went to bed. The end. That's almost what the day felt like. Everything happened so quickly that I scarcely had time to take it all in.
Unfortunately, my first conscious thought on my wedding day came at three o'clock in the morning and was something like, "I'm going to throw up!" No. I didn't have wedding day jitters. I ate something the night before that didn't agree with me and I was feeling very poor. I didn't actually throw up, but I came very close a number of times. I was, fortunately, able to get back to sleep after a while but I was pretty tired when I woke up in the morning. I felt only marginally better, but I didn't have time to let it keep me bed ridden. I barely ate a thing for breakfast, as my stomach was still churning.
Most of the morning is a blur to me now. I was running all over, trying to coordinate this and that and the other thing. I had to make a number of phone calls, help load chairs into the Webb's trucks for transport to the ceremony location, and many other things. What really sticks out in my memory though is going to the grocery store to get some food and the battery on my truck deciding to die on me. Like I had time for that!! Fortunately my dad wasn't far away and showed up quickly to give me a jump start. I went to the church where my extended was staying for our family reunion and drafted Jeff, dear friend and one of my groomsmen, into service. We took my truck to my parent's house in town and while I worked on stuff at the house, I had Jeff go buy a new battery for my truck. The last thing I wanted was for my battery to die at an even more inopportune time, like trying to get to the ceremony, the reception, or the airport the following morning.
Our original plan was for the wedding party to meet at noon for lunch before heading up to the Mogollon Rim for pictures and the ceremony, but nearly everyone was running late so that plan got the axe. I was still feeling quite ill and scarcely ate at all anyway. We were due to leave for the Mogollon Rim at one p.m., but that too got delayed because Devin (groomsman), Michelle, and Elizabeth (flower girl) got slowed down by some construction on their way up from Phoenix. I was in a controlled panic when I found out about the construction, as I worried about how many people wouldn't make it up in time for the ceremony. Fortunately the construction crew quit early and it wasn't an issue.
At any rate, the Mulkern's, our photographers, arrived at around one, Devin arrived shortly thereafter, and we all caravaned up to the ceremony site. When we got to the turn off I discovered that someone had taken down the flagging I had put up to mark the turn for the guests. As we drove back into the woods to the location of the ceremony, I had to replace more flagging that had been taken down.
The Webb family had parked their fifth wheel trailer near the ceremony location and had done an excellent job of preventing anyone from camping in the middle of the wedding site. They said that one man was belligerant and didn't didn't want to leave, but apparently his wife let him have it and they left. Shannon and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Mary, Elwyn and Josh for all of their hard work. And it was just beginning!
While the photographers were setting up, myself and the groomsmen got dressed in the fifth wheel. Once we were done, the photographers took pictures of me and the groomsmen while the women got dressed. The original plan was to have the ladies pictures taken before the wedding as well, but they weren't ready in time so we had to do them after the wedding. After our pictures were done, the guys helped the others who were there prepare for the ceremony. Everyone was extremely helpful and the extra hands helped out. While some people set up chairs, others worked on the sound system. Danny put up more direction signs along the route to the wedding site. Josh helped remove some stumps that were in the way. It was pure chaos.
When guests started arriving shortly before four p.m. it didn't click that I had re-assigned my ushers to other emergency tasks so all of our programs sat in a big stack on a stump until everyone had left after the ceremony. I was actually somewhat surprised when the guests started arriving because I didn't realize it was that late. The ceremony started at least 30 minutes late. When we were informed that Shannon was ready, we had Dana (our officiant) announce that the wedding would begin. When my father went to change the music from the pre-ceremony music to the processional music, the cd containing the processional music jammed in the cd tray and he couldn't get it to work. I had another (of many) moment of panic before I realized that there wasn't anything I could do, so we simply concluded the processional in silence. No one really noticed. In fact, some people thought that the processional was better without music as it lent itself to the outdoor setting. But perhaps they were just being nice.
The following is a transcript from the ceremony. Nearly everything was writen by Brian. The exceptions are Shannon's vows, which she wrote herself, and a small section of one paragraph, which was taken from someone else's wedding ceremony. I have inserted commentary on what ACTUALLY happened in red.
[After all of the guests are seated, Dana moves to the "altar" and turns to the guests.]
DANA: Hear ye! Hear ye! Let the joining of Lady Shannon Marie Stafford to Sir Brian Erik Jones begin!
[Brian proceeds to the front, turns, and faces the guests as groomsmen follow. (Don nearly trips over rock hidden under aisle runner. The look on his face was priceless.) The groomsmen take their places alternating on each side of the aisle with a space between each for the bridesmaids and face the center. Each bridesmaid then walks down the aisle, taking her stations in the aisle amongst the groomsmen and face the groomsman across the aisle from her. Brian kneels on one knee, signaling the groomsmen to cross their swords with the bridesmaid's peacock feathers .
Then Paul comes down the aisle with the ring chest, followed by Elizabeth spreading rose petals. When they get to the front, Shannon and Pat proceed down the aisle. (Shannon looked ABSOLUTELY RADIANT!!! I was beaming.) As they pass the wedding party, the groomsmen and bridesmaids take their positions up front. Pat plants his sword in the ground in front of Brian. Brian rises and plants his sword in the ground, at which Pat pulls his sword up and sheaths it. Pat and Shannon kiss and Pat goes to his seat. Brian takes Shannon by the hand and escorts her around his still planted sword. Brian and Shannon stand before Dana.]
DANA: Both of you have come before these cherished guests with intent to wed. If such is your intent take the hands of the other, left to left and right to right.
[Shannon and Brian join hands in the shape of the infinity sign.]
DANA: In so doing, though hast made the symbol of infinity, of eternity, opposing, but in perfect unity. A mirror, one to the other. Hands thrust into the boundless calm waters of each other. Right hand clasped to right hand, for each is right for the other. Left hand clasped to left hand, for each will be all that is le1ft, when nothing is left.
This bond you share is protected now by this earthly strand.
[Dana wraps the clasped hands 12 times with a vine.]
Whosoever has good cause to put these bonds asunder, do so now. For in this earthly form they can be cut or cast aside, but the invisible bond of the completed union can be rent by none.
Let he who might speak be warned, that sword looks sharp!
None have spoken. Step we gaily, on we go. Let us have a song!
[Laura and Dan sing a song.] (For those who don't know, the Swanson family is a very talented crew. My cousin Dan and second cousin Laura did such a wonderful rendition of a song that was a surprise for Shannon. There is a traditional Irish song called Maire's Wedding. I had Laura and Dan change the words to Shannon's Wedding. When Shannon started crying, I could barely hold the tears back myself.)
DANA: Certainly music to set a person to motion.
Each of us moves through this life with a body. So too does this union require a body. To climb obstacles, swim seas of sorrow, and to revel in achieving lofty goals. The body that makes a marriage is not whole without well grounded legs, a backbone of loved ones, a heart in harmony, and a head of ageless wisdom. Let us work our way from the ground up.
Each leg is an individual. One might be strong where the other is weak, or weak where the other is strong. One might trip, or even break, needing the support of the other. One must be ready at all times to give that support. If each leg is well grounded in itself, knowing it's strengths and weaknesses, the two together can surmount great obstacles, overcome adversity, and complete the sojourn that is a life together.
The legs, together, Shannon and Brian, meet in the torso, for a journey cannot be made alone by legs. The core of the body is in the spine, which is where each of you enter the picture. Each vertebra must be there to offer help and support, but there is only one spine for both legs, because now there is only one family, one set of friends, one set of loved ones. Each leg should be able to turn to any of you for direction and guidance. Such is your importance in this marriage. You have helped shape each leg, given each form, so it is fitting for you to help them work in unison.
None of this necessary framework would have come together without the most powerful force in the body of marriage, the heart in harmony. As individuals you may retain your differences, but each heart does now, must now, pump in unison so that they are one. Beat and counter beat. One incomplete without the other. Each making one love. And how wonderful that Shannon and Brian have chosen this beautiful place to share that love with us, here in the harmony of nature, an outward symbol of their harmonious hearts.
Equally important, for even hearts need guidance, is a head of ageless wisdom. How fitting then that this ceremony spans the ages. Young and old are gathered here. Youthful vigor and experienced wisdom.
Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls, has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time. The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to Life, posterior to Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of Earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this.
Charles Jones would now like to pave the way for this body standing before you with a song.
[Charles plays a song.] (As always, my father did a wonderful job at the keyboard.)
DANA: The vows you are about to exchange are the outward expressions of the ever deepening bond between you. With each promise, the bonds of this earth shall fall away to be replaced by the invisible bonds of your love for one another. Repeat after me.
Though thou art day and I am night, I shall try in every way to make our lives the light of the breaking day, mingling the best of both worlds into a continual loving rebirth.
BRIAN: Though thou art day and I am night, I shall try in every way to make our lives the light of the breaking day, mingling the best of both worlds into a continual loving rebirth.
DANA: I seek to cherish this union for all ages, partaking only of you, for you are all that I ever shall need.
BRIAN: I seek to cherish this union for all ages, partaking only of you, for you are all that I ever shall need.
DANA: I shall lift my quill and voice often in great praise of thee for you are truly deserving of the most beautiful words I have.
BRIAN: I shall lift my quill and voice often in great praise of thee for you are truly deserving of the most beautiful words I have.
DANA: I shall put to heel anger and impatience, embracing only love and understanding.
BRIAN: I shall put to heel anger and impatience embracing only love and understanding..
DANA: I shall lift mine sword only in defense of thee, which if I need do, I will do unto death.
BRIAN: I shall lift mine sword only in defense of thee, which if I need do, I will do unto death.
DANA: I receive you as mine, so that you become my wife, and I your husband.
BRIAN: I receive you as mine, so that you become my wife, and I your husband.
DANA: Respect. I promise to treat you with dignity by supporting your ideas and aspirations.
SHANNON: Respect. I promise to treat you with dignity by supporting your ideas and aspirations.
DANA: Cherish. You are the most beloved gift I will receive during this life. I promise to treat you gently and kindly, making every effort to think before spoken word.
SHANNON: Cherish. You are the most beloved gift I will receive during this life. I promise to treat you gently and kindly, making every effort to think before spoken word.
DANA: Caring. I will do everything I can to make you smile, keep you healthy, feeling warm and loved. If you are hurt or sick I will care for you unconditionally.
SHANNON: Caring. I will do everything I can to make you smile, keep you healthy, feeling warm and loved. If you are hurt or sick I will care for you unconditionally.
DANA: Loyalty. You are my one true love. I promise to commit faithfully and lovingly to you and only you throughout my life.
SHANNON: Loyalty. You are my one true love. I promise to commit faithfully and lovingly to you and only you throughout my life.
DANA: Honesty. I promise to state the truth simply. I will show you all that I am and share with you all that I have.
SHANNON: Honesty. I promise to state the truth simply. I will show you all that I am and share with you all that I have.
DANA: Love. I promise to be the one, above all others, who will listen, care, and love you unconditionally and eternally. One lifetime is not enough to spend with someone as extraordinary as you.
SHANNON: Love. I promise to be the one, above all others, who will listen, care, and love you unconditionally and eternally. One lifetime is not enough to spend with someone as extraordinary as you.
DANA: The earthly string that held you together now are gone, replaced by ropes far stronger. What binds you now is infinite love, as your still clasped hands attest. But though you might want to hold hands forever, you might starve to death going about like that. That is why you have brought rings, also symbols of the everlasting, to share with one another, so that you can continue to hold hands even when you are forced to be apart.
With this ring, I thee wed, this bond of love I thee give. With my body I thee worship and with this dowry I thee endow.
BRIAN: With this ring, I thee wed, this bond of love I thee give. With my body I thee worship and with this dowry I thee endow.
DANA: With this ring, I thee wed, this bond of love I thee give. With my body I thee worship and with this dowry I thee endow.
SHANNON: With this ring, I thee wed, this bond of love I thee give. With my body I thee worship and with this dowry I thee endow.
DANA: With the blessings of the family and loved ones present here today, under the authority vested in me by the great state of Arizona, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.
SHANNON AND BRIAN: *KISS* I love thee. *KISS* I love thee. *KISS* I love thee.
[Shannon Laine (best man) and Debbie (maid of honor) cross their sword/peacock feather on the ground, which we "jump" over on our way up the aisle. (The assembled guests throw bird seat at us. The nerve of some people! *smile*) ]
After the ceremony, we accepted the congratulations of many of the guests, then Debbie had to fix Shan's make-up where it ran when she cried during the ceremony before we started taking the rest of the wedding pictures. Our first step was of course to do the signing of the marriage licence. After that the Mulkerns took pictures of Shan and the bridesmaids, then started adding others into the mix. Dana returned and said she had gotten a flat tire, so I asked Josh to help her change her tire. I think that four or 5 people ended up getting flat tires getting to or from the ceremony. I feel really bad about that . . .
Once all of the pictures were done, I took one last tour around the wedding site to make sure that nothing got left behind, then we high-tailed it back down to Payson. We were running behind (again), and still had to stop at the house to get something that we had forgotten there.
We arrived at the reception late of course, so it was a bit of a rush. Our entrance was followed by the bridal party entering in pairs. Shan and I each had a candle, which we carried over to our unity candle on the cake table. We then went to the head table and almost immediately went and got our food.
Near the end of dinner, we had everyone in the wedding party give a speech. I started and, well, got a little long winded. We then handed the microphone down through the groomsmen, then the bridesmaids, then Shannon finished up. All of the speeches were wonderful. I even got choked up a couple of times. Shortly after dinner the toasts we did the cutting of the cake and the traditional first dances and later in the evening the bouquet and garter tosses (done simultaneously). Beyond that, the night was an absolute BLUR. I was pulled here and there, had no time to dance, and didn't have nearly enough time chatting with people. There were people there that I never even got to talk to! (If you are one of those people, I am TRULY sorry. I tried. Really I did.) I did get to see some friends I hadn't seen in a long time though, which was fantastic.
I have been lead to believe that the bride and the groom are supposed to be nearly the first people to leave the reception. We were nearly the last. That's how hectic the night was. It was with great relief that we finally got to leave and go to our very well appointed room at the Majestic Mountain Inn. The first thing we did is start running water into the jacuzi tub. It was such a romantic evening. In the jacuzi, while Shannon tried to untangle her hair, I read envelopes and wrote gift information down. When I had finished with that, I helped Shan untangle her hair. What a mess! We were up until three a.m. getting her hair undone. We were so glad to be able to finally go to bed. I am truly surprised at how coherent we both were the next morning when we got up at seven a.m. to get ready to head down to Phoenix to catch our flight for our honeymoon in Costa Rica.
Now for the pictures!
Medieval Weddings - Historical information about Medieval weddings. Added 18 July 2012