It’s been nine days now since Caitie and I got married.
So many of our friends and family were present there, a collection of people all together in one space that we will never again see in our lifetimes. It was a unique moment to hold in time.
Unfortunately, many people were unable to be there. While the photographic proof has been put on the Internet in great volume – with more yet to come! – I thought that it might be nice to provide a brief visual timeline of the ceremony for those who were unable to be present.
The setting was Childress Vineyards, in Lexington, North Carolina. The sky was blue, the temperature in the mid 70s, not too humid, not too dry – really, a perfect evening for a wedding.
At precisely 6:00 PM, the groom’s party entered the ceremony space. Groomsman Sean Enghauser led the way, followed by groom’s attendants Jessica Stokes and Suzie Farris, groomsman Joey Papa, junior groomsman (and my oldest nephew) Edward Thompson, then me, and finally, our officiant, the Rev. Jeremy Carlton.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the father of the bride was taking one final picture of the bridal party and the ring bearer.
The ringbearer, my youngest nephew, Elliot Thompson, was the first down Childress’ grand staircase, receiving my uniform cap from me as he reached the bottom.
Elliot was followed by bridesmaids Tiffany Wright (not pictured), Hillary Irusta (bottom) and Megan Snider (top).
Megan was followed by bridesmaid Laura Owens.
Left to right: Tiffany Wright, Hillary Irusta, Megan Snider, Laura Owens.
Laura was followed by bridesmaid Jessica Chapman.
Rounding out the bridal party was maid of honor (and Caitie’s sister) Emily Smith.
And finally, as Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” swelled, Caitie Smith appeared at the top of the grand staircase, arm-in-arm with her father, Scott.
Never before had she looked more beautiful to me than she did in that moment.
Our families rose to take vows to accept each of us fully into the other’s family.
My youngest sister, Elisabeth Gawne, read the 139th Psalm, a reading that has become a tradition at Gawne family weddings.
Our friend, Rev. Jeremy Carlton, gave the homily, challenging us to love one another fully, and capping it all off with a quote from the hymn of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity (thus the laughter).
Caitie’s cousin, Catherine Kostka, read a poem by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Caitie and I exchanged our vows, which turned out to be remarkably similar, in spite of the fact that not once had either of us so much as glimpsed the other’s.
We then exchanged rings, promising each other an eternal, unending bond of love.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to share communion with all present, so while I have said the Words of Institution many, many times, this time, it was different – even more special than usual.
I served communion alongside our friend, Amy Russell.
Caitie served alongside Amy’s husband, Brandon.
As we served, our friends Adam Plant, Chelsea Yarborough, and Daniel Potter provided a beautiful soundtrack for communion.
As communion ended, Caitie and I served one another.
Then, the community took their own vows of support and blessing on the two of us. Finally, Jeremy declared us husband and wife and told me to kiss the bride!
And as the cheeky and irreverent tones of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home” filled the air, Caitie and I exited, now Mr. & Mrs. Gawne, and by the time we reached the end of the sidewalk, we were dancing and singing along with the song – “Home is wherever I’m with you!”
So there you have it. A pretty comprehensive visual timeline of the ceremony. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I know that I certainly enjoyed the day.