What does it mean? Emily and Michael

What does it mean?” is a continuing series where we ask a blogger how they brought meaning into their wedding. Today we are honored to hear from Emily Westbrooks and her husband, Michael.  Emily is the blogger of From China Village.

“When Michael and I got married in 2008, I don’t think I fully realized how much it would end up meaning to us that we tried to create a mix of my American traditions and Michael’s Irish culture at our wedding. Only hours after our wedding, we decided to move to Dublin, where Michael was raised, and four years later we’re still here! In retrospect, our wedding was kind of our send off, so I’m now especially glad we got the chance to celebrate with hints of the culture I now live with every day!

Michael and I met at Colby College during our senior year. Colby has special meaning in my family – it’s where my parents met, where my father now works, and even where my high school graduation was held! For most of the planning period, Michael was living in Spain, where he played professional basketball. When the basketball season was over, Michael returned to Maine and joined the planning process a few months before the wedding. I was surprised he had so many opinions after I was the sole decision maker for so long! In the end, though, it made up the perfect blend of both of us.

Michael insisted that we have traditional Irish-style speeches during dinner. Not American toasts, but full 5-10 minute speeches from both our fathers, the best man and maid of honor, and the groom. Having never attended an Irish wedding, I was nervous that they’d be too long, but those speeches are some of my best memories of the wedding. Everyone put so much thought and care into their words as they welcomed new people into their families. And the speeches allowed some of our guests to take part in another (slightly tacky but fun!) Irish tradition – betting on how long they’ll last!

We were also blessed to have Michael’s youth leaders, a couple who now do ministry work in Houston, marry us in the college chapel. I come from a Catholic family and Michael’s family is made up of a few different forms of Protestant, so it was important to us that the ceremony was respectful of both sides. Of course, they went above and beyond and gave us a beautiful ceremony, full of words of love and prayer that took all my worries away.

Finally, one of the most special pieces of our wedding was that my grandmother made my dress. She had made my mother’s and aunt’s dresses for their weddings, so I always had it in the back of my mind that I would love for her to make mine. I will always remember our afternoons together spent measuring, pinning and tucking.

Overall, we remember our day fondly and often!”

Thanks Emily and Michael!

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

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