They had been here once before — this was their vow renewal ceremony, not their wedding — but Mark and Tina did something I'd never seen previously, in any service of this sort.
Andrew, Tina, Alyssa and Mark
Mark and Tina took their oaths 20 years ago, and renewed them at the United Lutheran Church of Oak Park. The bridesmaids and groomsmen from the original ceremony all had this day off, though: the only two people standing with the couple were their children, Andrew and Alyssa.
In a standard ceremony, that would mean that no one outside the immediate family would receive any recognition. Mark and Tina, however, had a remarkably uncommon agenda...
Friends Dell and Lara, and Tina's sister Avis (seated)
In the middle of the ceremony, the couple grabbed the microphone, turned around, said they were going to break some of the rules, and addressed their guests. Mark and Tina took turns — and several minutes — giving detailed thank-yous to family members and close friends. The bride and groom shared with a crowd of around 200 their stories about a few of the people who had stood at their sides 20 years ago, and had remained there through the decades and trials that have followed.
I haven't a clue what this couple spent putting their vow renewal together, but they did it so that, at its high point, they could shift their gathered friends' attention from themselves to some of the people they felt indebted to. I've never seen a bride and groom use their ceremony for that purpose before, but I hope to see it again.
The finale included an overhead ball-drop, and plenty of bubbles