It is just a Monday in October, nowhere near our wedding anniversary. Simcha Fisher reposted a reflection on her wedding and marriage over here, and I just had to respond with our own story.
my parents' Roman-rite parish- our wedding was Byzantine-rite, however- courtesy of our bishop, a future bishop-then-priest and a third priest and us cantoring...
We were as poor as church mice. No- really. When the travelling priest asked my future husband to buy toilet paper for the church mission where he was bunking, he bought the paper and lived on eggs and peanut butter for a few days. We bought gas with change, but not even quarters. He was in the states for almost 9 months with just a 'religious volunteer' visa (his Master's degree program didn't have enough credit hours per semester to qualify for a student visa with a right to work), so by the time we were married, we were really poor. The bride's maids' dresses above were just $25 at JC Penny! The photographer was a friend from church. The calla lilies- not really my favorite flowers, but now they have to be- were in season and free in various neighor's yards (my son just read the text above, shocked that we were poor when we got married- "but mom- look at your dress- it is such a rich, beautiful fabric!" Poverty is very, very relative, son).
Because of visa and money probems, none of my husband's family from Romania was there. There would be a Romanian couple to sing "Dance, Isaiah," but we would be missing so many of the traditions important to a Romanian family. I was determined to find the ladyfinger cookies to dip in my father-in-law's honey, a symbol of life being sweet in a holy marriage.
I did not get my hair done. My fingernails were unbuffed and bare. My make up was basically mascara and lipstick (ladies- you know that is nothing for a wedding!). I was nervous, knowing that I would have to cantor the wedding with my becoming-husband because our planned-for cantor decided to convert to Orthodoxy the week before. But I had one mission- to find those ladyfingers.
And after a few stores, in the hours before our wedding, found them I did. After a long, all-sung wedding ceremony and potifical Divine Liturgy on Pentecost Sunday, we shared the ladyfingers with honey and the common cup. And life is sweet, even when we are running around, distracted by the mundane. Marriage is about giving your all to the spouse, and we attempt to do that even in our sinfullness. I could have-should have bought the ladyfingers earlier, but I didn't because my future-husband got it into his head the day before that this was a tradtiion that he wanted to uphold. He didn't know that Ameria is a ladyfinger-cookie-limited-place. But we make it work, then and now, even through the limitations.