The pre-processional began with Groomsman/Brother Adam escorting Grandma Octopus up the aisle. This is another of my very, very favorite photos, because of how lovingly my brother is looking at our grandmother.
(All photos courtesy of Corey Ann Photography.)
Next up were Grammy & Poppa Octopus.
Okay, before I go on, can I offer you a small rant? Our officiant was not someone we had a personal relationship with; he does a lot of wedding ceremonies in the Pittsburgh area, and he and his wife advertise themselves as a bit of a team, with him doing the actual ceremonies, and her doing all the administrative stuff. They assured me they'd done many, many ceremonies at Heinz Chapel before, and were very familiar with all the rules of the site.
Now, I have no complaints about their actual services. They were prompt and helpful, they offered us a totally customized ceremony, and it was delivered nicely. But. If you have done lots of ceremonies at Heinz Chapel, then you most definitely know that photography is highly restricted there. Corey was fixed in one pew, with very little freedom to move around, while her second shooter was placed in the balcony above.
So the officiant's wife's choice to stand in the back row, on the opposite side from where Corey was shooting, thereby being a very noticeable presence in EVERY SINGLE ONE of our processional shots, was more than a little baffling and frustrating to me. You will see her standing in the corner of eeeeeevery picture of the bridal party. ARGH.
So, anyway, after my grandparents proceeded up the aisle, it was Mr. Octo's nieces' turn. If you recall, this portion of the ceremony was a tribute to Mr. Octo's mom. Daffodils were her favorite flower, so the girls carried daffodils up to the altar to place in a vase behind the groom's side of the unity candle. I am told that they did a GREAT job with this responsibility and took it very seriously, walking slowly and adorably up the aisle.
Next, Dad Octopus escorted Mom Octopus up the aisle. I love this picture, because come on, look at their faces. I think my mom's face would actually break in half if she were smiling any bigger.
Mom, Dad, and all the Nieces Octopus proceeded up the altar to light the taper candles for the lighting of the unity candle.
Then, it was time for the "official" processional. The really dramatic organ music started up, and the bridal party began walking up the aisle. (To get the full effect, you have to imagine me just around the edge of the doorway, just absolutely sweating bullets and shrieking, on the inside, with excitement and nerves and disbelief.)
(GAH! GET OUT OF THE SHOT, OFFICIANT'S WIFE!)
Also, I have to confess that this next picture (and bridal party pairing) always makes me smile a little extra. Ben is the only one of the groomsmen who is equally as much my friend as he is Mr. Octo's. We each met Ben independently of each other, before we started dating (he sat next to Mr. Octo in Heinz Chapel Choir practice, and he lived down the hall from Bridesmaid Erica and I in our freshman year dorm). Groomsman Ben, Bridesmaid Erica, and I got up to ALL kinds of shenanigans together when we were young and dumb. I have a whole lot of ridiculous memories with these two people right here.
(Me at the time: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD ONLY ONE PAIR LEFT.........!!!!)
My groom waited at the end of the aisle.
Dad Octopus and I prepared ourselves at the back of the chapel. I'll always remember what he said to me when he got back there from walking Mom Octopus up to the unity candle: "Wow! Look at YOU!"
The bridal processional began to play. I'm not afraid of a little fanfare and drama, so from the limited choices Heinz Chapel offers, Mr. Octo and I picked an organ piece that you might call......majestic? You can hear it here, although it sounds quite a bit more BOOMING when played on an organ:
Anyway, Dad Octopus told me later that standing in the doorway of the chapel arm in arm with me, looking ahead to all our wedding guests while that dramatic music played, was the "moment of a lifetime" for him. That made me so happy to hear!
The wedding coordinator had us pause in the doorway for a few beats (the staff likes to WORK the moment of the bridal entrance, I think), and then we stepped inside as the music thundered around us. It was such a huge, overwhelming moment, I feel like all coherent thoughts left my head. I don't even remember thinking, "wow," or anything like that. I was just breathing and walking and feeling.
I love these next two photos, because you can pinpoint the exact moment that Mr. Octo and I made eye contact with each other. Look at those grins.
After what felt like forever (Heinz Chapel's aisle is LONG!!!!), my father and I reached the altar.
...he and Mr. Octo hugged, and then I stepped up to the altar with the man who was just a few minutes away from becoming my husband.
Previously, in the Octopus wedding...