Our wedding: The Ceremony

The last post ended with us taking our first steps into the hall, but I’m going to back up a bit and start this section by telling you about the processional. Warning: this is a picture-heavy post!

 First the grandmas entered, followed by Bill's dad (would have been his mom) and my mom to "Wind Beneath my Wings." Our DJ is also a pianist, so he played the ceremony music and was amazing. My mom and his dad lit the two candles on either side of the unity candle.
Bill's cousin escorting his grandma

My cousin Brad and grandma Nanny

Parents lighting the candles we would later use to light the unity candle

Bill and his two best men entered with our minister, Kazy.  We chose Kazy because she used to be the minister at my grandma’s church and I’ve known her for a long time.  She’s a close family friend, but is no longer a minister because she’s the mayor of my hometown now!  There was no one else I could have imagined marrying us, so I’m so glad she was able to do it.  Something funny happened at this point that I didn’t know about until later, but when Bill and the best men entered, all of the groomsmen followed him and they weren’t supposed to, so as quickly as they entered, they filtered back out!

You can see the groomsmen awkwardly and incorrectly filing in behind the best men!

Bill standing at the front with best men Mike (his brother) and Dave (best friend)

The bridal party walked down the aisle to Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring. If you don’t know this song by its name, give it a quick search on YouTube.  It’s beautiful and I think pretty common for the processional.

Junior bridesmaids, my cousins Sofia and Grayson

Friends Mike and Tara

Bill's sister Sharon and her (now) husband Dominick

Bill's friend Mike and my cousin Sarah

Friends Bobby and Hannah

My brother Dave and longtime friend Angie

 Next up were my Matron and Man of Honor, Amy and Kyle.  We have no little girls in our family, but I always imagined flowers being sprinkled at our wedding.  One day I had the best idea and decided that I wanted Amy & Kyle to do it.  Bill was totally on board and when we asked them, they were both so excited!

Dropping the petals!  This picture makes me smile so much!

Last but not least was my Maid of Honor, my sister Abbie!

Once Abbie made her way to the front, the ring bearers went down the aisle. Our ring bearers were my cousin Sarah's son Benton and my cousin James' son Zaiden.  They were both pretty little and a couple days before the wedding, we realized that we would need some help, so I asked my cousin Ben's son Aiden to escort them down.  We called him a junior usher and he did a great job! I am so grateful that he agreed to help last minute.

Baby Benton was a bit unsure of the aisle!

After they made it to the front, our cousin Eric and one of the DJs unrolled the runner.  They ended up covering up the flower petals, but que sera sera. Kazy gestured for everyone to stand and the music changed.  I have dreamt my whole life of walking down the aisle at my wedding to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, but I have to admit, the version the DJ played was… not what I was expecting.  I didn’t even recognize it at first, so I didn’t realize we were supposed to be walking down the aisle!!  Cindy was wildy gesturing to me that we should be walking so, heart in my throat, Mom, Dad and I made our way to the end of the aisle!

I was so nervous, I was clinging to my parents with a death grip.  I looked up and saw some of my family and friends but then I looked all the way up down the aisle and saw Bill and then I laser focused in on him and didn’t look at anything else!  His face lit up when he saw me and I couldn’t wait to get down the aisle to him. When we got up there, his face was beaming and he said “you look SO beautiful.” That made me so happy to hear and that moment was hands down one of the best moments of my life.

I'm pretty sure this is the exact moment he first saw me

Kazy welcomed everyone to the ceremony and included one of my favorite wedding phrases “we are gathered here today...” She then asked who was giving me away and my parents answered.  I hugged my mom and then Dad lifted my veil and I hugged him too.  They sat down, and then it was just us in front of everyone.  We joined hands and then Abbie, Amy, and Bill’s brother Mike fixed my dress.  My sister was peculiarly worried about making sure she fluffed it right so she asked both of them to help, haha.  Kyle held my flowers while Abbie fixed my dress, which is a little detail that I love.

At this point, I was still so nervous.  I have terrible stage fright and even though I was standing in front of a room full of people who loved me, I was still beyond nervous, plus we were on the precipice of the rest of our lives together.  The only thing standing between us and us being married was this ceremony! My heart was pounding so hard from nerves.  I kept taking deep breaths to calm myself down. I was nervous and excited and a little sad about Bill’s mom, and in disbelief that it was actually my wedding day.  I’ve never felt so many emotions all at once in my entire life!
Kazy started by asking us if we entered freely into this marriage, to which we each replied “I do.”

She then recognized all of our family members who couldn’t be at the wedding, both living and deceased.  It was really important that all of our grandparents who recently passed away were recognized, as well as my great-grandma who got to meet Bill a few days before she died and Bill's grandparents in Florida who couldn't make the trip.  She let everyone know that Bill’s mom was in the hospital, but that she was with us “through the glory of iPhone!”  Bill’s cousin Becky was able to Facetime her throughout the whole wedding.  We are all so thankful to Becky for this!

Kazy then asked our immediate families to stand and offer their affirmation of our marriage.

Next up were the readings.  We chose two readings.  For the first, we chose our good friend Marissa, who was my best friend during my first year of law school in Ohio.  She read 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV). Our favorite line from this is:

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Next was our friend Emily (also best man Dave’s girlfriend) who read “i carry your heart” by e.e. cummings.  I first heard this used in a wedding in the movie “In her Shoes” and I always dreamt of having it read at my wedding.  Luckily, once I introduced Bill to the poem, he loved it as well.  If you’re not familiar, here is the poem:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


I had been crying the whole ceremony, but Emily’s reading really got me going!  My grandma had told me to bring a hankerchief and even offered to let me use the one from her wedding. But nooo, I said.  I wouldn’t need one, I said.  WELL.  Turns out after this reading, there was actual snot dripping down my face.  It was disgusting and embarrassing and eventually I had to walk away from Bill and go over to my mom to ask for a tissue.  Everyone laughed.

I couldn’t believe it, but after this, it was time to say our vows!  Bill went first, but our vows were the same.  We both repeated after Kazy:

I Amanda/Bill, take you, Bill/Amanda, to be my husband/wife,
to have and to hold,
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
until death do us part.
This is my solemn vow.

Listening to Bill say his vows to me was so powerful and filled my heart with love.  When it was my turn, I was crying so much that I could barely get the words out!  I never in a million years expected to actually cry at my wedding.  I figured maybe I’d tear up a bit, but no – I full on ugly-cried!

Once I was done saying my vows, I started to finally feel less nervous and it was time for the rings!  Abbie and Mike handed the rings to Kazy and then we took turns putting the rings on each other and saying “May this ring be a sign of my unending love and faithfulness to you.”  I absolutely just love that saying and I think of it from time to time when I look at my ring.

We then lit the unity candle (that my mom and I made!  More on that later.)

Next up was the rose ceremony, which I have to be honest, made sense when Kazy explained it to me, but didn’t really quite make sense in execution.  The idea is that we would give each other a rosebud that would later bloom and it signified our blooming marriage? We were then supposed to give the roses to our moms as a gift, but she never really announced that part so we just gave them to my mom and Bill’s dad a little awkwardly and then returned to the front.

Kazy ended the ceremony with a beautiful Apache blessing.  We love the words of this blessing so much and they just felt so right to me.

After the wedding, we received a framed copy of the blessing from Kazy

She then declared “By the power vested in me by the State of Ohio and as mayor of the City of Piqua, I have the honor to announce you as husband and wife and to introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Hager! Bill, you may now kiss your bride.”  We kissed and then it was over!! I couldn’t believe it!  Married!!

We walked back down the aisle to The Wedding March. I forgot to grab my bouquet back from my sister, so she had to carry it out, haha.  When we got to the end of the aisle, I looked at B ill and said “WHEW!”

After we were out of the ballroom, the bridal party walked out, then the ushers escorted the grandmas and then everyone else filed out and headed to the cocktail hour (as the crew and some of my cousins swapped the ballroom from the ceremony to reception!)!


  1. Bill's face is AMAZING!!! Love that you have his expressions!!!!! Love that picture of you and your parents, too. Gorgeous! Your venue was stunning!!

    1. Thank you!! I am so glad they captured his face at that moment.

  2. I love this so much - & especially love that you were married by the mayor of Piqua!