At four pm on 20 February 2009 we got married. Below are a small sample of the 800-odd photographs we have of the day. Many thanks to Erica Turner for the super job she did in capturing our day for us.
As this is a long post we’ve broken it up into more manageable chunks:
The wedding ceremony
Our wedding reception in Ebbets Field bar
This is what Jonathan said on our behalf during the wedding service.
In our lives, we all have expectations as to how things are going to turn out. As we proceed through our days, we see our future planned out ahead of us and we trust that certain things are always going to be true.
We know what we expect our career to be, how our dreams are going to unfold, and deep inside we all hope and pray to find a mate that completes us and makes us feel loved and understood. We are all looking for a soul mate… a best friend and partner…. whether we admit it or not.
But life never really works out the way we expect.
Gary and Ginger were going through the motions of their lives, separately, on different continents, in different and, as they found out, in many ways, in parallel worlds. One day these parallel lives crossed paths. And everything changed. You see, they knew instantly that they had found the fulfillment of that lifelong hope. Before they ever heard each others’ voices, they knew that they wanted to share their lives forever in some way or another. Today we have the pleasure of seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of that partnership as we gather together to witness the marriage of Gary and Ginger.
That was the beautiful homily that Ginger and Gary wrote.
I will add only a little.There is an interesting concept in both hard science and science fiction. It concerns parallel worlds. Physicists postulate that parallel worlds – or universes are implied by some of their important theories. And science fiction writers find it a useful tool for their characters to pop in and out and get from here to way, way out there with ease.
The interesting parts, for the scientists and the fictional characters, are the convergences — the points and moments where the parallels cease and the real encounters begin.
I have found that those encounters are usually unexpected.
Now we may expect something, we may have hopes and dreams, but those convergences can exceed even our outlandish hopes. Think back to the time just before you two met. Could you possibly imagine the relationship that you have now? Could you possibly dream that you would be in love, and sitting in a church — Gary in a place called the Ozarks, and about to get married? God is fully aware of the parallel worlds in which we live. And it is God’s business to make the convergences real and effective for us — to bring people together in love. The old-fashioned term is ― grace. It works even on the new-fangled Internet. It worked for you.
And we are privileged to witness God’s grace at work in your lives. The fact that you are together and your love for one another gives us real hope for the grace that each of us needs.
Thank you for being open to God’s work in your lives. Thank you for inviting us into your love. To paraphrase Solomon, many waters — not even the wide waters of the Atlantic Ocean can quench love.
Welcome everyone. Before we start here are some domestic arrangements. Please feel free to order from one of the menus we have provided, if you choose to order off the standard menu you’re on your own! We have arranged a dessert, so make sure you leave plenty of room. However, if you don’t like cheesecake you are going to be out of luck. There is a tab at the bar, once that’s gone you’ll have to start buying us drinks. But please stay as long as you like. The facilities by the way, are just along the corridor.
Maintaining the informality of our day, you’ll be pleased to hear we haven’t planned lots of speeches and toasts, but I would like to say a few words on behalf of the two of us before the festivities proper commence.
Life is a journey driven by our dreams. Dreams are strange things, when we are young we have such wonderful dreams of how our lives will play out, everything is black and white, and everything is possible. Then the reality checks set in, and we find that rather than being black and white, life tends to be a grey blur. Our dreams get buried under responsibilities and day to day trivia. Then over time they get forgotten and lost.
Ginger and I are lucky and have been able to rediscover our dreams. And one of those dreams was to be together. The journey toward that particular dream started some twenty months ago, it has been a journey of sharing and discovery. To get to today we’ve traveled the equivalent of twice around the planet, exchanged over three and a half thousand e-mails and at one point racked up what felt like the equivalent of the national debt of a small country in ‘phone bills. We’ve also had to battle bureaucracy, jump through endless hoops of red tape and we still have lots more hoops to dance through.
In the beginning our dream was just that, a dream. Before we had spoken to one another we were best friends and we wanted to be together to share our friendship. Once we started talking we quickly fell in love.
We decided we wanted to get married over a month before we first met in person, our friend Rebbie was partially responsible for that particular revelation. Ginger and Rebbie had a girls lunch out celebrating Ginger’s birthday, and when I spoke to Ginger she was, shall we say, a little the worse for wear. I’m not sure quite what I said, but Ginger retorted along the lines of ‘I won’t have a marriage like that.’ I of course being the mature responsible adult I am, retorted, ‘You said the M word, you said the M word…’ but we both agreed that that was exactly where we were headed, and where we wanted to be.
Just over a month later, we met for the first time in the arrivals area of Springfield airport. I stopped to ask the security guard where to collect my bags, and as I stepped away I caught a glimpse of someone running towards me. Ginger nearly knocked me over. I suppose we just meant to have a hug and say hello, but the hug and tears quickly turned into a kiss, and within a few seconds of meeting we both knew for sure that this was it.
We never wavered from our goal. Even when we began thinking of all the obstacles that had to be overcome. Even when we forgot how the other felt. Even when we faced the normal misunderstandings that every couple has. Even when we were falling asleep on the phone and trying to fit in a relationship into two busy lives six hours apart. We were committed to Us. And that meant diving head first into the unknown. We had so much to learn. About the process, and about each other.
We’ve discovered that despite living on different continents we have surprisingly similar backgrounds, we discovered that we are almost identical; two sides of the same coin. We both think the same way, have the same interests and personality traits – for good and ill.
As part of our preparation for our marriage we completed a questionnaire for Jonathan. I think even he was surprised, as he told us, that if he didn’t know better he would have thought that we cheated and just one person answered a lot of the questions. Of course we aren’t completely identical, we may have the same colour eyes, be the same height, and able to share shoes and gloves, but there are significant (and beyond the obvious differences) I’m organised while Ginger has lots of systems in place to try and be organised. I’m quietly stubborn, while Ginger is well, Ginger!
So here we are celebrating the completion of one journey, which by and large we traveled apart, and the start of our new journey together as husband and wife. Our dream now is to have a happy and fulfilling life together, though as Ginger has observed, happily ever after still means you have to clean house and pick up after kids.
The important thing is we have our dreams, and our message to you is don’t forget your dreams.
Finally, on a personal note, I’d like to thank all those involved in making today a success, I would also like to thank my family and friends, those present and absent, for their support during what has been for all of us, a difficult journey at times. And to all of you, my new family and friends, thank you for your generous support and welcome.
Footnote: The astute may have noticed that I stole a couple of paragraphs of the above from my work leaving speech. I’m sure I can be forgiven for plagiarizing some of my own words.