I apologize – as it has taken me entirely too long to both edit, format and blog this wedding day from last Saturday. I knew I couldn’t rush any part of Brittany and Danny’s gorgeous Campbell River beach wedding… I needed to do all their wedding planning and the work they’ve put into their relationship justice in this post. (Big feat, I know. We’ll see how this goes. It’s loooooong.)
Brittany and Danny met at Trinity Western University in Langley almost 3 years ago. Brittany packed up her small-town Island life and moved to Langley to pursue a degree in nursing. One day in the cafeteria line, she spoke to Danny. It was simple small talk about sandwiches, but simple small talk she’d remember for months, because it wasn’t just small talk. It was small talk with “the hot guy from the caf.” Later known as the “hot guy from the caf on the basketball team.” A few months later, they reconnected at a friend’s party and ended up studying together for winter exams. On a snowy January day, Danny asked Brittany to be his girlfriend. A year and a half later, in October, on Brittany’s 22nd birthday, on the beach, Danny asked Brittany to be wife. She said yes. With a scream.
See, that’s who Brittany is. She’s bubbly, she’s vivacious, she’s expressive, she’s passionate, she’s emotional and she’s not afraid to show how she feels on her face… or in her voice. Danny and Brittany decided on Brittany’s hometown for their July 6, 2013 wedding day. Campbell River is her favourite place in the world – it’s home, and nothing will ever change that. How special that must have been to have all the family and friends she holds so dear visit her hometown, many for the first time. (First time for me!)
Brittany’s dress by Tara Keely (purchased at Bisou Bridal in Vancouver) was incredible. And her ring? One of my favourites I have ever seen. Truly, truly. Brittany’s seven bridesmaids were outfitted in gorgeous light pink gowns from OuterInner. Brittany squealed while getting into her dress, “Does this look okay? Does this look good? Ahhh! I made the right choice, I love this dress!” And cried while opening Danny’s letter and gift. (A couple of blocks away, Danny shed a few tears during Brittany’s note as well.)
Brittany and Danny’s ceremony goes down in my books as one of the Top 5. It was held on the lawn of Hidden Harbour beach. Hot, hot sun with an ocean breeze. When Brittany walked down the aisle with her father, Danny’s eyes filled with tears. She was all smiles. After her dad gave her away, Danny took her arm and kissed her temple. (Who says you can’t kiss until the officiant “says so…” it’s your wedding! Also – Danny’s dad officiated the ceremony. Love that.) Now… their vows, their vows, their vows. When I am working I’m always trying to make mental notes of certain phrases/speeches/vows/moments I would love to tell all of you about here later. Thankfully, I had a brain wave. I texted Brittany a couple of days after her wedding and asked if she had a copy of their vows and would she mind if I published them. She said, of course!
Brittany Merrie Stewart. You are breathtaking today. And everyday. But my goodness today. You came into my life over 2 ½ years ago. Little did I know, the impact that you would have on my heart. And the incredible journey that God would have in store for us. Transformation is rare. It is special. It is God given. And I believe you are God given. Anything as special as you must be. You are the source that has motivated change in my life. So I want to sincerely thank you.
Thank you for following your call to love me in the way that you have. Thank you for following your call to respect me in the way you have. You’re inspiring, You’re beautiful, you’re kind, you’re genuine, you’re just what I want, and exactly what I know I need. You complement my weaknesses, and enhance my strengths. You are my perfect fit. And most of all you are my best friend. An amazing one at that. I’m excited to call you my fiancée for the last time. And to start a brand new life with you today. I’m excited to stand with you through everything, Until the end of our days.
Britt, I promise to pray for you daily. Both scheduled and spontaneously. I promise to love you, as Christ loves the Church. And take full responsibility for our family as the head of our household. I promise to protect your heart, cherish your soul, serve you intently, and lead you demonstrationally. I promise to continue to make up works like demonstrationally and keep you laughing. Even when you don’t want to.
I promise to challenge you, grow with you, laugh with you, cry with you, dream with you, eat with you, and give my life to you.
I promise to be faithful to you and honour you with every bit of me. I promise to take care of you in any circumstance; through all our joy, and any bit of sadness. I will lay down my life for you. So today, I give you my full self, and my full heart. I am yours – for every moment, until God calls us to his Kingdom. And today, I take you Brittany Merrie Stewart to be my beautiful wife.
All of this, I say in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For His glory, and our wonderful good. I love you.
Danny, I choose you for life. You have been my greatest challenge, my mirror, and my best friend. You have motivated me to be better and to prioritize and develop my faith. You make me feel, daily, like the most beautiful woman in the world. I feel treasured and beloved and I am blessed to call you mine. Our relationship has also revealed my every fault: my selfishness, my impatience, my perfectionism, my critical nature, and many more. And yet here you are today. Marrying me despite all of these flaws… unlike myself, you do not expect perfection from me. You love me constantly and show me more grace than I deserve. I learn from you and am inspired by you every day. As we take this momentous step forward as husband and wife.
I promise you my deepest love and my fullest devotion. I promise to invest daily in our relationship, and not simply in my closet contents…. or cosmetics… or coffee addiction. If the floor is NOT dirty, I promise that I will NOT mop it. I promise to be your greatest fan – both in life and in sport – and I promise to watch you, more than I watch my phone, when I attend your basketball games. Not only will I be your greatest fan, but I promise be your greatest adversary, one who will challenge you in love, and motivate you to be the best person you can be, all the while putting God above all else in your life.
In all circumstances, I promise to expect humanity from you, not perfection, and to show grace to myself and to you in our many shortcomings. I promise to love you, to commit to you, and to submit to you – as the church respectfully submits to Christ. I vow to respect your gifts and abilities, support you in areas of weakness, and to lend you strength to follow all of your dreams. I promise to be your partner in all things.
I will spend the rest of my life honoring you, cherishing you, caring for you, and encouraging you through the greatest, and the hardest, of times.I vow to fill your life with joy and bring you peace. Whenever you are in need of me, I promise to be there. Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. I promise that only death should make a separation between you and I.
They were perfect. After finishing family formal photos and wrapping up their receiving line, Brittany and Danny and I walked down to the beach for portraits. I commented how much I loved their unique vows, and Brittany said, “Do you know how difficult it is to choose the words you are going to say to your husband on your wedding day?! So difficult.” My thought – I can’t imagine. But I also cannot imagine not wanting to say my own vows! I was so blessed by the effort Brittany and Danny put into their words. I feel like I know only the slightest sliver of the “work” (the good work! the thought!) that goes into a dating relationship. I don’t know what it’s like to arrive on your wedding day and look back on almost 3 years of conversations and moments and ups and downs. Capture those in your ceremony. Don’t forget them. That’s what I loved about these two.
Brittany and Danny’s reception was held at the Maritime Heritage Center in “downtown” Campbell River. All of the details were stunning – Brittany herself (and a group of friends including Christie and Dan – spot her in this post?) set up the reception at 7AM that morning. (Crazy girl.) The wood floors, the wood beams, the square tables, the hydrangeas, the CAKE, oh the CAKE. I’d be pretty dang happy with a wedding day like this one. A few other favourite moments from the day… Brittany’s uncle MC’d the evening and introduced the couple with a story. It was a few months into dating and he asked Brittany how her relationship was going. “Ohhh! So good! It’s going so well! He’s amazing!!!” Uncle says, “Really? How do you know?” “Okay, well, the other day. We were hanging out and Danny… farted and then just smiled at me. We are so comfortable together!” Hahahaha.
I was so blessed by Brittany who thanked me on the microphone during their closing speech. Pretty dang nice to hear after a long day of work that she couldn’t be happier with a photographer, thinks I’m the best and told her whole reception if anybody was getting married to “import” me to Vancouver Island. (Note: I love the Island. Yes. Please import me.) And finally, the wedding day soundtrack was my favourite. Country music all morning, slideshow to Hey Pretty Girl & Love’s Looking Good on You and First Dance song: “Then” by Brad Paisley. (Which by the way, I listened to about 12 times formatting this blog.)
OKAY. I’m outta here. Thanks for reading. :)