Thursday, February 25, 2010

the bridal chronicles: chapter 3, crowned unto...

I'm back with more of the bridal chronicles... Things are coming along nicely. We began our premarital counseling with our priest this past weekend. I'm so grateful for all of this, and love what we've been learning!

The crowning service of the Orthodox wedding is one of my very favorite parts. It is so very rich with symbolism. Since I first came to The Church, I was intrigued by wedding crowns.

Shortly after coming to our church, almost three years ago, a couple got married. (They're now our very dear friends, and soon-to-be first time parents, Jeremy and Amy.) We were told that we should attend the wedding, as it was open to all the members of the parish. This was so odd for me, since I was not in the habit of attending strangers' weddings! Trust me, we didn't go to the reception. I felt rude enough already! But, as I've gotten to understand the way things are done in the Orthodox Church, I know that Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament. And, any of the Holy Sacraments are open for all to attend, as with any service of the church.

So, moving past the extreme faux pas of attending a stranger's wedding. We went mostly out of curiosity. Plus, I was so intrigued and infatuated with the church, that I wanted to attend any and all services possible! I was in love with the Orthodox wedding. Nothing was done that didn't have deep meaning and that wasn't ancient in origin. It was breathtaking.

I already knew at this point that I wanted to be Orthodox. (I also knew that I really wanted to marry Brandon, although, we didn't talk about it quite yet.) So, I knew I would be having an Orthodox wedding. I immediately started dreaming about all the details, and the crowns were one such detail.

I found out about a couple of years back, and have drooled over her offerings. Many people's wedding crowns looks like these. Although, they are nice, they really aren't me. Ann Clough has some really great styles to offer on her site. I have looked at a certain set, the Dimitrie crowns, over and over and over again. When we got engaged, I remembered how much I loved those crowns.

The Dimitrie crowns are metal and have the words the priest says during the crowning engraved on them. (For our wedding, we have opted, like many Orthodox couples, to be called by our Christian names, John, for St. John Maximovitch, and Catherine, for St. Catherine of Alexandria.)

The priest says, three times, placing the crowns over the heads of the bride and groom:

The servant of God, John, is crowned unto the handmaid of God, Catherine, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of The Holy Spirit. Amen.
The handmaid of God, Catherine, is crowned unto the Servant of God, John, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of The Holy Spirit. Amen.

I am not adequate to describe the service, but Ann gives a nice description on her website. The crowns symbolize many things; the husband and wife being crowned as the king and queen of a new kingdom. Their home. They also symbolize martyrdom, since the martyrs wear crowns. This symbolizes the selfless martyrdom required of marriage.

Our sweet friends Gary and Cindy found out that we wanted to get ours from Orthodox Wedding Crowns and gave us the incredibly sweet present of purchasing them for us. We are so grateful for our friendship with these two. They are so precious to us. I can't get over how sweet and wonderful this gift it is. I'm so happy to know that for years when I look at our crowns, I won't only think of our wedding day. I'll also be reminded of our sweet friends who have taught us so much about what it means to be married.

Cindy came over one Tuesday and we set out to order the crowns. After speaking with Ann, I placed my order. She sent me photos yesterday and today. I'm obsessed with them! I think they're the most beautiful crowns ever made. They actually made my cry a little. I'm so excited to "meet" them soon. Enough talk, on to the photos...

Aren't they beautiful?


Discourse said...

I love them. Wow, they are beautiful!

Meribeth said...

Love, love, love them!!!
Just got a proof of the bridal shower invites this morning...bee-you-tiful! This is getting so exciting. Can't wait!
Love you,
p.s. notice that there are three loves? ;-)