ST SIMONS ELOPEMENTS
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA
I recently had the opportunity to perform the wedding ceremony for a beautiful bride and handsome groom, here on St. Simons Island. Everything was a dream come true for the couple and their families, as they had rented the most magnificent estate on the tip end of Gould’s Inlet for the week of the wedding. The weather was just as accommodating as cool breezes flowed throughout the warm days to supply much comfort and relaxation to the wedding families and their guests.
I arrived early on Friday evening for the wedding rehearsal and to meet with the couple and their families. I took my place as the Minister/Officiant and the rehearsal began. A beautiful ceremony location on the manicured lawn overlooking the ocean was decided upon and white padded chairs were set in place in an amphitheatre type setting.
The ceremony processional was practiced twice through by all the wedding party, as well as the seating of the mothers. Several added touches would be added to this ceremony to make it the most sacred and meaningful time for the bride, the groom, and the bride’s daughter.
Although, I was invited to stay afterwards for the dinner, I declined the invitation and returned home to go over the ceremony and make last minute additions to the service. Although, every wedding ceremony is important and special to me, something about this particular wedding ceremony was pulling at my heart strings…..and I knew exactly what is was.
During the rehearsal, as I was standing with the groom, and just before the mother’s were seated, the groom was pleased to mention to me that his 97 year old grandmother would be at the wedding tomorrow. They were seating her up on the patio level in her wheelchair so that she could see everything. I told him how wonderful that was that she was able to attend and I knew he was so proud for her to be there.
Just then, the mother’s were escorted to chairs that had been placed on the lawn, specifically for them. The bride’s grandmother was seated, then the bride’s mother was seated, and then the groom’s mother was seated. The groom’s mother was a beautiful thin lady with dark eyes. She was older than me, but not nearly as old as she appeared. My mind was reeling……could this be the 97 year old grandmother’s daughter? Indeed, it was. The groom’s mother was escorted by another of her sons and she also used a 4 prong walking stick. He led her as she feebly made her way down concrete steps and across the lawn to be seated. As she sat down, she looked up and our eyes met. As I looked into her eyes and her eyes met mine…….I knew she was dying. She smiled a timid smile at me and I smiled back at her. This lady was dying.
Before I left the rehearsal, the bride’s mom mentioned to me that the groom’s mother was very ill and they were very happy that she was able to be here to see her son be married. Hospice had already been called in.
So much happiness and so much sadness in one heart will make it overflow.
The day was finally here and a magnificent day for a wedding on St. Simons Island! God gave us the most amazing day ever to bring this loving couple together in marriage. The ceremony was right out of a dream and a fairy tale story of a Prince rescuing his fair maiden. As I spoke the vows to the couple, to be repeated after me and as the rings were given as a symbol of their love, I looked out and again met the eyes of the groom’s mother. She winked at me and smiled.
I continued with the ceremony as the couple and bride’s daughter poured sand as a symbol of their unique selves never again to be separated. I began to read the Hand Ceremony. As the words came from my mouth, my voice began to quiver and tears welled in my eyes. Although I continued to read the words, there was a part of my mind that was asking God to help me get through this. He did. I was able to regain my composure, although with wet cheeks, and complete the ceremony with a prayer and the pronouncement of husband and wife. God is sure good like that!
After the ceremony, I introduced myself to the groom’s mother and told her what a wonderful son she had raised and I knew she had to be so proud of him. What do you say to someone that is dying? I hope someone would tell me my children are going to be fine.
In closing this blog, the message I am trying to convey is this: Don’t wait to tell the people you love how much you love them. Tell them how much they have meant to you in your life. Tell them everything you want them to know. They may not be here if you wait. Do it now.