This past weekend we flew to the STL for an event I've only been eagerly awaiting for...too many months to count. One of my very best friends from college, MJL, and his bride, J, tied the knot during a beautiful nuptial Mass in a small-town church named after one of my all-time favorite saints (St. Dominic).
Before I continue, I feel like I should record a little background info so that anyone reading can understand just how excited I was for this wedding! If you don't care, then skip ahead to the photographs. ;)
I don't know what your college experiences were like, but I attended a Big Ten school with 30,000+ undergrads and 8,000+ grad students. I did not attend a tiny private school where everybody knows your name. Nor were my friends from one student activity usually the same as my group of friends from other avenues...because when you attend a school that big there isn't always a lot of overlap.
With that being said, I could not go anywhere on my school's campus without being recognized or running into people I knew. Let's just say that my multiple jobs (as an Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, Group Exercise Instructor, just to name a few) combined with my student activity involvement (not to mention my degree program) left me with many, many acquaintances and several friends. Why am I telling you all of this? To help paint a picture when I say that MJL was one of only a very small number of people that you could find me with in a variety of settings on and off campus. For real. I had campus ministry friends, dorm friends, Kinesiology department friends, RA friends, Orientation Leader friends, RecSports (our campus gym) co-worker friends, dance team friends, dance class friends, Spanish major and minor friends, and blah blah blah friends (you get the idea). I knew a lot of people from a lot of different things but everyone knows that you usually have your "main" group of friends that you hang out with more than any of the others. MJL was in my "main" group of friends before we were even at IU long enough to become campus ministry friends. And so our paths were forever crossing and anyone that knew us could tell you that we were sort of obnoxiously cute friends (in totally platonic, respectable ways that never gave our college boyfriends or girlfriends any cause to worry).
Oh, you want a visual? Here you go:
|My procrastination method of choice in college was heavily editing photos.|
You see, MJL is the closest thing to being the brother I never had. We were the type of college friends that could hang out in any kind of environment - at the bars, singing karaoke, singing songs together in the basement of the church after hosting the latest social gathering for Catholic students, in the tailgating fields, performing on stage with the band he and some other mutual friends started, leading Catholic retreats, or praying the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament while my sister was in labor with my first niece (my Goddaughter!). In this way, MJL is one of a small handful of college friends that I feel really knew all sides of me - both socially and spiritually. If you attended a small Catholic (or whatever religion you practice) school you may have a lot of those people in your life. And aren't those the best of friends?
Okay. Picture painted.
Needless to say, I was pumped for MJL's wedding because I am 1) SO VERY HAPPY FOR HIM(!) and 2) I hadn't seen him in person since my wedding (which he played the music for, by the way) a year and a half ago.
I was honored to be one of the lectors at the wedding, so we traveled seemingly all day Friday in order to arrive in time for the rehearsal dinner. What a lovely evening that was! Because of our friendship inside and out of the church, I got to catch up with multiple friends that I knew from varying avenues in college.
Saturday came and the weather was gorgeous. We got dressed in our wedding finery and headed to the church in time to hear MJL singing some of the prelude music (because he is that much of a musician that he couldn't even stay away entirely on his own wedding day).
|Gabriel's first wedding. "Why are we at church on a Saturday, Mommy?"|
The Mass was beautiful, I didn't stumble over any words during the second reading, and this happened:
After the wedding we headed to a local Mexican restaurant with a couple of my other campus ministry friends to while away the time until the reception began. Then, we ate delicious food and got ready to boogie.
|Blurry phone photo that captured what Gabriel thought about the entire day.|
I think he was in heaven being held by so many adoring friends and breaking it down to the beats.
|First dance together as husband and wife!|
|I just love these people!!! Especially that stunner in the green shades. ;)|
|Campus ministry friends with the groom! Can we talk about how my friend in the purple is expecting baby boy|
#2 on August 1st and looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g?! I bet you couldn't even see that cute bump until I just said that.
|It's been literally years since I was sandwiched between these two.|
|From the Newman Center's Student Life Team to IU's Dance Marathon to racing in IU's Little 50 to weddings and babies. I have nothing but love for this chica.|
|Gabriel letting loose on the dance floor - er, table. Babies can do that.|
I'm so grateful we could be there to experience MJL and J's special day (and am really thankful they hosted a party for so many of my friends!). Even though I didn't get to talk to MJL much because he was kind of busy getting married and celebrating with so many loved ones, he knows how giddy I am for him and his lovely bride.
Now I'm beyond pumped for another dear campus ministry friend's wedding that's coming up in only a week and a half!!! Seriously, May 2014 - I've been counting down to you for way too long and I'm happy that you're here!
"A bell is no bell 'til you ring it, a song is no song 'til you sing it, and love in your heart wasn't put there to stay - love isn't love 'til you give it away."