Wedding Blessings Revive the Magical Memoir Moments of Childhood

Weddings produce Magical Memoir Moments by their very nature.

They fill us with hope.

Parents feel a special joy tinged with sadness.

Mothers often weep inside as they embrace daughters.

Mother, Kate, and me. May 8, 2010.

Mother, Kate, and me. May 8, 2010.

The most popular blog post I ever wrote

shares the wedding blessings Stuart and I gave to Kate and Nik in 2010.

We instinctively chose to focus on memories, poetry, and spiritual mentors.

Our little girl skipped into our hearts again.

Spinning colorful cartwheels on the trampoline

Kate loves all the colors. Her favorite at age 5: hot pink!

Kate loves all the colors. Her favorite at age 5: hot pink!

She selected her own outfits,

crafting a truly unique fashion sense

and sharing it with her kitty named Pronoun.

Kate and Pronoun

Kate and Pronoun

On her wedding day, we reviewed our daughter’s growth

like a sped up old movie

in slow motion.

We welcomed Nik and his parents into our family.

We rejoiced, we wept a little, and we knew God understood.

 Is there a June wedding on your calendar? Do you have a wedding memory to share? Have you ever written a wedding blessing? Please share!

Shirley Showalter


  1. Merril Smith on June 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Lovely photos and thoughts about your daughter’s wedding!

    My husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary this month. Our younger daughter will be getting married next month. She also chose unique and colorful outfits and had a beloved cat. It has been a year of weddings for us–our older daughter last summer and my sister this past October. We are not religious, so no blessings, but we’ve shared our love–and comments, too. 🙂 I’ve written toasts and blog posts about love, marriage, showers, and weddings.

    • shirleyhs on June 10, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for starting off the conversation again today, Merril. At our son’s wedding we did toasts. Not exactly a Mennonite tradition, but we learned the form easily enough. As you point out, the connection is love, and that is what matters most.

      I hope all of your celebrations provide much occasion to remember your own Magical Memoir Moments.

      Sounds like our daughters would enjoy and understand each other!

  2. melodie davis on June 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I recall your post on your daughter’s wedding but never saw that lovely posed photo. Did you notice/read Sara Wenger Shenk’s redcent 40th wedding anniversary tribute to Gerald? It’s destined to be a classic too, me thinks! Our anniversary was May 29 and we’ll hit #40 next year. I’m sure I’ll write something then!

    • shirleyhs on June 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      You have a good memory, Melodie. Since people keep searching for wedding blessings, especially in May and June, I thought the old post might continue to be helpful as a Magical Memoir Moment.

      I did read Sara’s beautiful tribute. She has a gift for transforming personal experience into both theological and universal meaning.

      Happy Anniversary! Number 40 is a milestone, but so is 39. 🙂

  3. Laurie Buchanan on June 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Shirley — Ohhhhhh, what heart-warming photographs and reminiscences. I love your beautiful observation: “Mothers often weep inside as they embrace daughters.”

    And while we don’t have any June weddings to attend this year, I have some travel on the docket:
    – We just returned (last night) from visiting Len’s mom in Darby, Montana.
    – I’m heading to San Diego in September.
    – My sister and I are traveling to Greece in May.

    • shirleyhs on June 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Laurie. I am really enjoying writing these blog posts. Even though they are far shorter than my previous ones, they require just as much research and editing. Cut, cut, cut!

      Those trips sound lovely. You are choosing lovely places in good seasons. I’ve not been to Darby, Montana, (unless the Empire Builder train goes through there), but the other two locations are some of my very favorites!

  4. Richard Gilbert on June 10, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Nice, Shirley. And Pronoun is the BEST cat name I have EVER heard!

    • shirleyhs on June 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks, Richard. And I’ll pass along the compliment on the name to our son Anthony. It was his idea at age 12.

      We have gotten a lot of laughter mileage out of that name.

  5. Marian Beaman on June 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I enjoy the new prose-poetry technique you are using now. Like many artists (Monet comes to mind), I observe your evolving style – distilled, pure essence.

    Kate is adorable, then and now. And she and I both adore color!

    August is the wedding month for the Beamans. All of our weddings are within the first week of August, marching down the aisle of time: 3-5-7

    • shirleyhs on June 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Marian. As you know, I’ve been experimenting with a new type of blog post. I really value your feedback. I’m trying to do just what you described — distillation. What good practice for all my writing.

      We are August anniversary people too. I think now that I recall from a previous August just one more thing you and I have in common. Never ceases to amaze me.

  6. Janet Givens on June 10, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Shirley, Oh do I have a wedding memory to share. My own (my second). Woody and I lived in Philadelphia when we married and were able to get a Quaker license from the city to make it legal. Neither of us practice an organized religion and this felt like a good fit for us. We had been giving workshops for a few years by then (the ones for people who stutter and the therapists who treat them) and so we ran it somewhat like one of our workshops. People sat in a circle. For our wedding, that was three concentric circles, family in the center one. Woody and his son walked in from one door; my sons walked in from another door and then I walked in; we met in the middle of the circles. We had music, poetry, vows which we wrote ourselves, and for the section where the officiant often gives some words of wisdom, we set aside 20 minutes for our friends in attendance to share their words of wisdom with us. And we sat in silence until they did. We had a 3′ square calligraphy wedding certificate drawn and while the caterers reset the room for the meal and we went upstaris for photos, our friends organized themselves in order of who’d known us longest (that meant they had to talk to each other) and signed the certificate as our witnesses. We of course have that still. I remember we chose the Beatles’ “When I’m 64” for the song to play while we cut the cake and as Woody and I danced, he said to me, “You realize that’ll be in just three years.” I hadn’t. We had a blast. And it poured rain all day. One of our guests shared with us that “knots tied in the rain are the ones that last the longest.” Thank you for instigating that lovely memory. And I too love that photo of you and your mom kissing your daughter. Such fun

    • shirleyhs on June 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      You and Woody have a great time and don’t feel bound by convention. I love your zest for living, Janet, and am not at all surprised that you created an unorthodox wedding.

      I remember, too, loving that Beatles song even while being unable to imagine what it would be like to reach — and surpass — the age of 64.

      I love the picture too, of course, and am glad that this post gave me a reason to go back and relive Kate’s wedding.

  7. Linda Gartz on June 11, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Sweet photos from childhood and wedding. No weddings here yet, but going to plenty. A lovely moment you shared.

    • shirleyhs on June 11, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Linda! Thanks for joining the conversation. Weddings seem to have their seasons, don’t they? First your own friend group, then your children’s or nephews and nieces, and then, if you are lucky, perhaps your grandchildren.

      All of them are occasions for joy. Some of them remind us of our loss of the past. A few tears for that, and then, let’s face the present and future!

  8. Arlene Steffen on June 11, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Our wedding sermon was delivered by a dear mentor, Lon Sherer. He had many wise words for us, but the ending is what has stuck with me throughout our marriage. He advised us to maintain “a lovely bit of deference for each other.” Just the simple nicety of being polite and respectful goes a long way to keeping a happy marriage and happy home.

  9. shirleyhs on June 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for bringing Lon Sherer to my own memory. That phrase sounds so much like him, Arlene, and I’, so glad you have kept it close all these years. It gets tempting, after a while, to be less courteous to spouses and children than to colleagues and even strangers.

    “A lovely bit of deference for each other.” Thank you for sharing this gift here today.

  10. Joan on June 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    lovely post, Shirley. Next week marks Bill’s and my 50th wedding anniversary. And last June our daughter and her partner, Deena, became legally married in Washington, DC before it was legal in NC where they live. It was a joyous day, indeed.

  11. shirleyhs on June 11, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    You have wedding celebrations galore, and important ones, Joan. Congratulations to you and Bill and your daughter and Deena.

    After 50 years, you must have many words of wisdom.


  12. Ruth Naylor on June 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, I know what you mean about sentimental tears and a daughter’s wedding. I dealt with my emotion the next day by writing the following poem:

    The Love Cycle

    I thought I tied our love
    With care
    To allow room
    For a lover who would come
    To call and someday
    Take you away;

    But today came far too soon
    And as I cleaned your room
    Scraps of wisdom pinned here and there
    Called me to remember—
    And I ache with the fullness
    Of my loss.

    Sentimental tears wash
    A lonesome gully in my heart
    And it feels as empty as that moonlit room
    Where I kissed my little girl
    Goodnight to childhood,
    Good morning to a young bride’s dreams.

    So many times today I have returned
    To kneel at your bedside as before—
    Thanking God for your precious life
    Asking him to bless you as a wife.
    Through mother tears I pray:

    Go with God
    And let your love grow on!
    Share it with your strong young man
    And someday, perhaps, you’ll share it
    With a lovely daughter
    Of your own.
    -Ruth Naylor

  13. shirleyhs on June 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Ruth, thanks so much for gracing this post with a visit and for your contribution of this lovely poem.

    Your concluding words speak to every mother and would make a great wedding blessing! Hope someone finds and shares it.

  14. Sherrey Meyer on June 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    No weddings on our June calendar, either in our family or for friends. In the Meyer clan, weddings tend to fall in the month of August. Bob and I married on the 15th of August and will celebrate 34 years together soon.

    I have a funny memory to share of our wedding in 1981. Of course, with us were our three children. My son was 10, and Bob’s children were almost 7 and 8. It was a small wedding, and there had been some maternal angst on the part of my mother wishing we wouldn’t marry. We both were nervous anticipating she might say something against our marriage during our vows.

    Well, she didn’t. She sat grim-faced and stoic. Bob, however, lightened up the moments for almost everyone there. When the pastor indicated to Bob to repeat the phrase, “lawfully wedded wife,” somehow Bob managed to say “lawfully bedded wife.” It was funny to everyone, including Bob and excepting my mother.

    Loved seeing the beautiful childhood photos of your daughter and especially the one from the wedding. I too love the name “Pronoun” for the cat.

    • shirleyhs on June 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Sherrey. I love when comments make me chuckle, as yours did. What a great wedding vows story.

      So glad your mother didn’t try to say anything against the wedding in the service and hope she didn’t continue to oppose your marriage.

      As for the pictures, I am continuing to mine “the box in the basement” — going through years of memorabilia. It’s time consuming but worthwhile when just the right photos, often ones I’ve forgotten, show up.

  15. Elaine Mansfield on June 17, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I also enjoy your changing style. Last week, I dreamed of a creative and courageous seven-year-old girl on the day after the 7th anniversary of Vic’s death. Hmmm… I wonder when she was born. The dream was full of juicy information, but main issue is new possibility.

    My son and his wife were married in June 2013. It was the happiest day since Vic died. I truly gained a daughter and I’m forever grateful.

  16. shirleyhs on June 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    You have such an active dream life, Elaine! This one seems very rich with possibility. The child is daughter to the woman.

    I’m glad you’ve had a wedding after a funeral. May your new daughter continue to supply joy and blessing in your life, as I am sure you will in hers.

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