The day of our wedding really started the day before. Of course I'm talking about the wedding rehearsal and the dinner/party that follows. I remember leaving work and meeting up with everyone that evening at the church. Special friends and family from all over Southern California were showing up, but I remember being so enthralled with my beautiful bride to be. I remember sitting at the stairs to the church stage with her and not really being able to concentrate on what the coordinator was saying.
We asked our college pastor, that was doing the wedding, to wear some sort of robe and collar and I remember him having to borrow those things from somewhere within the bowels of the church. I remember bursting at the seams wanting to marry my love after a 13 month engagement and to have a big party with all of our friends and family. I just remember being so SO excited!
We went back to my parent's house for the rehearsal dinner. I remember my mom made something magical out of chicken breast, puff pastry and mushrooms and that everything had that off-white glow to it like in the Father of the Bride movies. I'm sure there were toasts made and huge belly laughs everywhere, but I don't remember those details, just how much I wanted to be married to Linda and start this journey together.
I don't remember cleaning up after the dinner or going to bed, but I remember waking up to one of those super crisp Southern California winter days. As far back as I can remember most of my Christmases and New Years were all sunny, crisp and clear. It could be raining and blowing and blistery every day before and after those two days, but come Christmas or New Years it is usually glorious! Our wedding day was just like that.
I went down to the church and got into my tux there, because I didn't want to wrinkle it in the car driving down. We took some sweet pictures like this one:
Our college pastor, Ron Frasco, gathered all the groomsmen and we prayed in the back of the church in preparation for the ceremony. Everything from there until I was standing at the altar seeing my Linda at the other end of the aisle are all a blur...and so was Linda, because I started crying uncontrollably when I saw her!
The ceremony also is quite a blur 17 years later and because all I could see, hear and focus on was my beautiful bride. Then during the ceremony Linda surprised me. She had recorded a song and they played it for me over the church sound system. Well I lost it again. With all sincerity and truthfulness Linda has THE most beautiful voice ever! I don't think she even knows how awesome a gift God has given her. Jesus used her voice to wake me up out of sin and death just 3.5 years prior and her voice was singing a love song to me now. To this day when Linda sings I am moved beyond words. That day I remember everyone also being that moved as well!
THEN those wonderful words were said, "With the power vested in me...I present to you Patrick and Linda Zalamea!" I think I was literally 2 inches taller from walking on air for the rest of the night! We signed some of the legal paper work and shot over in our limo to the reception.
Now I'm going to use the word "party" to describe the reception. I don't want you to conjure up a drunken frat party by any means, but there is really no other way to describe this night. For many reasons we chose not to serve alcohol...that did not hinder the mood whatsoever. In fact the staff commented to us how they have never seen SO many people have SO much fun completely sober. I remember a dance floor FULL of Baptists and Roman Catholics and every other persuasion! I remember being able to greet so many dear dear friends and family. In the middle of it all my radiant bride was dancing it up with the best of them.
I remember my brother, who was my best man, giving a toast and praying for the food which was excellent. His prayer you ask? I don't remember exactly, but it was something like, "Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub." The toast was very similar...I wish I were kidding ;-)
Here comes the truly disgusting part ;-) Linda and I had agreed not to shove cake into each other's faces during the cake cutting ceremony. Well here's how it really went: I cut the cake and gingerly and softly put a piece in Linda's cute little mouth. Linda also daintily picked up a pretty nice sized piece and proceeded to shove it all over my face and up my nose (not sure if the nose part is true, but I added it for affect). I was flabbergasted, annoyed and more in love with Linda than I could ever imagine! I love her so much, because she is such a beautiful mystery to me! She can be ultra serious and playful at the same time. I love that!
As much as I love her I took a piece and shoved it back in her face and it started getting on her dress. All the ladies in the room started yelling at me and giving me the stink eye for this heinous breach in wedding protocol. To which I wondered, "Why am I the one getting in trouble?"
How can I put this correctly? I remember at a certain point in the night I wanted to leave (ahem)
. I am very sure Linda wanted to as well, but we were having SO much fun dancing and partying with friends. At the time I was so in a hurry, but 17 years later I am so glad we had that time with each and every one of the people that came to our wedding. Most of those dear people I miss so much and the times that we shared with them. It is wonderful that we have that night all together.
Eventually we did leave, oh yeah! I will end the story by telling you our friends sent us off with a flurry of cheers and hugs and slaps on the back. We got into a rented Infinity and I had a Kenny G. CD playing. I remember the song called By the Time this Night is Over was playing. Yep...it was a glorious day that turned into an even more glorious night that has turned into and even more glorious 17 years and counting!
I love you with all my heart baby! I am looking forward to what God has for the next 17 years and beyond!
That concludes Part VII of BatB. I think I like writing these right around our Anniversary!