If you are just now joining us for this week’s very special anniversary series and have a hankering to hear all the details, you can catch up by reading Part One, Part Two and Part Three.
However, here is a nutshell recap of what I’ve shared this week that will explain the pictures you are about to see…
Following a strong conviction, my husband and I decided to shelve any ideas of celebrating our 10th anniversary in a distant location and to spend the day, instead, at the homeplace, with our children.
With a heart to make much of our marriage and to celebrate what God has wrought in our family, we each took two of our children that morning – the girls with me and the boys with him – and spent the entire day talking to them about marriage and walking them through the details of the wedding we had shared ten years earlier.
The girls accompanied me on a complete bridal experience in the big city, getting my hair put up, getting my make-up applied and then coming home to hide in the very same room where I had awaited my wedding ceremony.
And as afternoon turned to evening, we left that room and walked down the path my daddy led me down on my wedding day, meeting our boys in our fancy clothes in the EXACT same spot on the back porch where their papa and I said “I do”.
As I stated in one of the above previous posts, this was not a vow renewal, really, but “a meditation of vows already made, a proclamation to our little family that Papa and Mama spoke sacred words of promise to each other ten years ago, words of promise that God designed for men and women to flesh out, words of promise that God alone has helped us to keep, and words of promise that we intend to fulfill, by the grace of God, till death do us part.”
And then, of course, we would have a PARTY!
To everyone who has read so faithfully and with such encouraging words all week, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You inspire and motivate me every day of my life, and knowing that you all would be on the receiving end of this experience gave me the courage to proceed when I wanted to chicken out.
I also have to give MAJOR CREDIT to Champagne & Blush Photography for capturing this momentous day for me in perfect fashion. I couldn’t possibly be happier with the finished product – I sincerely cannot stop marveling over Becky’s talent! – and I would love it so much if you would go and visit her beautiful website here.
it brings me great pleasure to invite you to join us on the walk we took, as a family, on June 11, 2015, to commemorate the covenantal vows that Mr. Gore and I made on June 11, 2005.
If you’re on board, just say “I do!”
After almost two hours of holing ourselves up in my mama and daddy’s room, the girls and I began to get dressed.
Here is Rebekah in her Boden Christmas dress from two years ago. Still gettin’ our money’s worth, and Betsie hasn’t even started wearing it yet!
And Betsie chose to wear her precious floral-printed birthday dress that was custom-made for her by my beloved friend, Leslie, at My Dear Poppy. A PERFECT choice, if I do say so myself.
Because most of my dearest friends are family members, including my mama, I chose not to have “official” bridesmaids on my wedding day and to let everyone have a seat and enjoy the wedding from the front row.
I didn’t know then that, in ten short years, I’d have the perfect girls to fill my bridesmaids role, for life.
After making purchases online and returning purchases online and then finally making a desperate trip to the mall (NOOOOO!!!!), I found the perfect dress for me.
It was pink and shimmery and ladylike and…
I liked it a whole lot.
I scraped a lot of pennies together for this dress, and so I will be wearing it to every wedding I attend for the next decade or two. Just don’t mention it if you see me in it.
“New dress?” you’ll ask.
And I’ll nod and wink at you.
The bedroom was full of mementos from our wedding day. First, here are my “engagement shoes”, the Jimmy Choo pumps that my husband surprised me with on the night he proposed.
It was a big deal and I want to tell you ALL about it, but you’ll have to wait until my book is finished and then possibly published.
Give me about eight years, mkay?
Here are my wedding shoes, a pair of beaded, sparkly flats that were perfect for our outdoor wedding. Heels were not an option, unless, of course, I wanted to sink into the dirt with every step I took.
These shoes were just the ticket.
This is a little letterpress card that I keep in our bedroom next to our wedding portrait.
“Forever thine” is a true sentiment for me, because I frequently ask God to let me be married to Mr. Gore in heaven, or, at the very least, share a duplex with him.
This floral handkerchief was one of six different prints that were passed out to the female guests as a wedding favor, and on top of it is the silver tussie mussie that my mama carried down the aisle, featuring, not surprisingly, a rose.
Obviously, we were in a bridal haven, and it was so much fun to spend time with my daughters and my mama, mulling over my memories and getting dolled up.
I had seriously considered getting my girls’ hair fixed at the salon or by one of my talented friends but, in the end, we settled on sponge rollers and curling irons and pretty hair accessories that we had in our collection.
The metal headband and hair comb that the girls wore came from Anthropologie.
My darling Betsie.
And OH how sweet it was to still have my mama here to tie my sash for me.
(p.s. On the television in the background is the series of old movie clips that we played on a big-screen at our wedding reception!)
By the way, Mama was very proud of the bow she tied.
As the girls and I continued to primp, Becky ran to the other side of the U-shaped house to get some pictures of the boys in the guest bathroom.
Gideon was given the very important task of holding onto my wedding bands, put back into the box that held them in 2005.
His vest and hat, if you’re wondering, came from Janie and Jack.
Ring-bearer or best man?
I love that Gid took time to explain what was going on to his baby brother, Shepherd. I might have cried just a little when I got to these pictures.
My handsome menfolk. I’m so proud and so grateful to have them in my home.
Shep is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen or held in my life, and when you put suspenders on something that cute, be prepared to keel over.
Mr. Gore’s last task of the day was to set up our wedding music, most of which were selections from my favorite movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.
The “June Bride” song was actually the theme for our entire wedding, and it still makes me feel all mushy and gushy when I hear it today.
You can listen to the song and read more marital musings here.
And here is the spot where it all started, the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Gore.
There were little mason jars of roses hanging all down the fenceline on our wedding day, and garlands of greenery and roses were draping these porch rails.
Thus, at the last minute, I threw a few of our extra roses from Stem’s into some jars to pay homage to our floral arrangements of yesteryear.
When Mr. Gore was a bridegroom, he walked out of this front door with my brother, Jerry, and his mentor, Mat, both of whom were speaking during the service.
They stepped into the yard, took a right turn, and my beloved waited for me at the bottom of the back porch steps in front of all of our family and friends.
On that day, I did not yet belong to this man.
Today, I have been his for a decade, and I have relished the privilege, with all my heart.
And the sun was shining through the trees…
“It’s time!” my mom told us, back in our part of the house, and the girls and I gathered up our flowers and began our walk.
Sometimes I wonder, if there weren’t photographs documenting my wedding day, would I really remember this walk? Would I have a blank spot in my memory from where my nerves took over and the glory of my wedding day blinded my comprehension?
But there are lots of pictures and so I DO remember it, very well.
My daddy was smiling at me in his handsome suit, and I was smiling back.
The grass was greener than it had ever been before.
The breeze was filled with songs and love and, for a rare and beautiful moment, what felt like utter perfection.
Had Eden come down to visit, just to feed us on our pilgrimage?
I think it did. It felt like sin was gone for just a minute, and suffering, and sadness, and brokenness.
It felt like heaven…
With the memories of that day assailing me and the sameness of our surroundings flanking me, I tell you for a FACT that my breath was taken right out of me as I stepped through those doors once more with my daughters by my side.
And as we rounded the corner and saw them – our men! – a lump rose up in my throat the size of Texas.
They were whistling and clapping and making a grand fuss over us, and I was glad all over again that I had kept this day simple and small.
Now, it won’t surprise any of our Facebook readers that Betsie got a little lost on our walk – she was VERY excited and just took off like a bullet when we walked out the door – but we’re used to our “oh honey” girl and we lassoed her back to where she needed to be.
And Rebekah, basking in every aspect of this event, performed like a pro. She’s hiring out for weddings now, so if you need a bridesmaid…
Sing along with me, why don’t you, so I don’t feel embarrassed.
♬ Here comes the wife
married for life ♬
When I said “I do” to Mr. Gore, I was a delusional young woman with big dreams that centered around yours truly.
God has used these five people here to change me, through and through, and to teach me what it means to die to myself.
I would be nowhere without them, and I could care less about the stretchmarks that it took to get me to this point.
Husbands are a blessing and a gift and a treasure.
Children are a heritage from the Lord.
Let’s shout all of the above from our rooftops, yes?!
I mentioned my ridiculously idyllic imagination yesterday, and in the months leading up to our anniversary, I grew some big ideas about what the following “ceremony” would be like.
We would read our vows aloud to the children, we’d exchange rings, we’d all cry and gaze at one another in devotion, and then we’d pray as a family, hands clasped in heartfelt pleading.
As it turned out, we just had time to exchange rings, quickly.
Silly me, I had completely forgotten about our less-than-two year old and that he doesn’t know how to gaze OR pray yet.
But do you know what?
This was enough.
As Mr. Gore reminded me, we talked to our children about marriage all day, we had dedicated our day and all the details to God, and now it was time to rest and enjoy, wherever the evening (and our circus of a family) led us.
Funny sidenote: we had a LOT more trouble getting those little rings on each other’s fingers on our 10th anniversary than we did on our wedding day.
Oh, well. That just means we’ve enjoyed a jolly and bountiful decade, don’t you agree?
And then, because my husband was both bridegroom and minister, he demanded that I kiss him.
Kissing still makes me happy, even though I’m 33.
But a word of caution to all you young ones out there. Kissing is the BEST…
but it tends to multiply.
which is the only kind of math that I like. 😉
Ladies and gentlemen of the internet…
it is my TRUE honor and pleasure to present to you…
Mr. and Mrs. Gore!!!
till death do us part
Sweet story, when I was preparing for my wedding day, I had gathered up clips from my favorite movie weddings to use as inspiration.
The candles hanging in the trees came from “Anne of Green Gables”.
The hymn singing came from June Allyson’s “Little Women”.
However, the one detail I was never able to mimic was a scene from the American Girl “Samantha” movie where, after Uncle Gard and Cordelia kiss as man and wife, Samantha pulls on a sash that releases hundreds of rose petals from a contraption above them, surrounding them in a shower of, well, flowers.
I did NOT plan this next picture, but when Gideon told us to kiss ONE more time because he had a surprise for us in his hands, Becky had her camera ready.
Sigh. My falling rose petals.
My life is now complete.
After the ceremony, we took some family pictures in the various pastures surrounding the house.
And then, just like on our wedding day, we strolled down the path that led to our reception by the creek.
Ten years ago, my daddy and his friends built an open-air wooden pavilion for the wedding, and we decided we’d end our anniversary party by going there to enjoy some cake together.
Ten years ago…
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder, and the next picture displays one of the most important reasons why.
Friends, let us fight for our marriages for the glory of God, and for our children.
They deserve to see us dying to ourselves and choosing to love one another, for life.
Denying myself and living for this crew of people has brought me more happiness than I have ever known, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
During our “ceremony”, my mom, without whom ANY of my blog or fun parties or peace of mind would exist, ran down to the pavilion to set out all the supplies we had gathered.
She did a beautiful job, and it was a feast for my eyes.
This strawberry cake, from Queenie’s Cafe in Tulsa, was the most beautiful and delicious wedding cake, and we order one almost every anniversary.
The Fred and Ginger figurines were our “cake-toppers” and they dance all their days away on the dresser in our bedroom.
Now that I’m a grown-up, I can cut cake. This is what all that “dying to myself” has resulted in.
I used to make someone else cut my cake for me.
Before digging in, we showed the kids how we had crossed arms in the tradition of newlyweds and drank some much-needed ice water on our wedding day.
Whether it is 2005 or 2015, the same is true: Oklahoma is HOT.
then we fed each other cake…
and then we partied, relaxing as a family and enjoying the sweetest fruits of creation:
Before we headed back to the house, Becky, a TRUE honorer of details, took some more photographs for us.
These are the earrings that I wore on my wedding day, and I hope my daughters will enjoy them when they marry.
This blue ribbon holding my bouquet of roses together was used on so many of our wedding details, including the mason jars, the invitations, and the choir songbooks.
And I don’t know if Becky planned this or not, but I couldn’t believe it when I saw this picture.
Here’s my daddy on the day of my wedding in 2005, shuttling guests around the farm in his Kawasaki Mule…
and here he is in 2015, stopping by after fishing to steal a piece of cake!
That’s a pretty trusty Mule, ain’t it?!
And the vehicle’s not so bad either!
(thank you, thank you very much – my mom really got a kick out of that joke.)
As my mama began packing up our party, we sat down for just a few more family pictures…
and then we called it a night and returned to the house, the same house we slowly walked to after being the last guests to leave our own wedding ten years ago.
But this time…
Cinderella reportedly said “One shoe can change your life.”
I, after ten years of wedded bliss, am much inclined to agree.
Thank you, again, for joining our family for this very special occasion! My greatest prayer is that God would have used our celebration to draw your hearts back home.
Marriage and family have become disposable in our world and it is time, Christians, that we claim them back for the glory of God, for the health of His Church, and for the spread of the Kingdom.
Marriage belongs to God. May we treat it right, cover it in prayer, and maybe, just maybe, throw it a great big party every once in awhile.
And now I invite you to share! Join me in spreading the word that marriage is worth fighting for and that being a wife can be even sweeter than being a bride. Pick a pin, any pin!
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