Wedding Vows On The Darkest Night Of The Year


Plan A was to capture my feelings and thoughts on the eve of one of the biggest days of my life, two days removed from getting married. I was to write a feverish scribble by candlelight there in the dead of winter and, hopefully, snatch some that anticaption, uncertainty, and mystery that filled the first half of December.

Well, all of it went into the ol’ trash can. Bleah.

So, here I am working on Plan B, which I guess is appropriate, since most of my life is Plan B (or C… or D…) Tomorrow it will be a full month since I got married. Sometime around where we got in the car to drive to Savannah, the world went into fast-forward, so I’m hitting rewind and seeing if I can remember anything that happened.


We arrived in Savannah on December 15 and had no clue what we were in for. The pipe organ whistled, half of my groomsmen and my family got lost on the way to the church, and my soloist sounded great, even if she couldn’t hear a thing. This is no time to panic. Everything will be okay. Somewhere in there, there was a rehearsal dinner, dessert, and a late night movie. I went to see “What Women Want.” I guess that’s a good thing to figure out on the night before my wedding. After the movie, I still didn’t have a clue.

The pipe organ belted “Greensleeves” as clear as day. All my groomsmen (and their little collective scene of humor) and my family arrived right on time, and my soloist nailed her song. The church was decorated like Christmas with a vengence. A huge Christmas tree towered over us, only to be outdone by the mammoth organ. About eight thousand candles blazed (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it sure felt like it. Cold December, my foot.) and poinsettas covered the church. “Trumpet Voluntary” played and my bride showed up and from there we held on with a white-knuckled grip to get through the whole thing.

Now the hard part was over! After pictures, we hot-footed it over to the Civic Center for the reception. A chamber orchestra was finishing up a Christmas performance for someone one floor below us when we arrived and the music wafted upstairs. Talk about an appropriate coincidence. The Civic Center was having the “Festival of Trees”, so Christmas trees were everywhere, decorated brightly. On this, the Third Anniversary of the first Darkest Night of the Year, talk about an even more appropriate coincidence. You can’t script these kind of things any better. From here, things become a confusing blur of people, music, and food. I wish we had time to talk to each and every person who came to wish us well. Maybe we did, I forgot who we talked to. If you were there, thank you and we hope you had as good a time as we did. If you had a fourth as good of a time, then you did pretty well. We left that night in a horse-drawn carriage and went from the scensory overload of music and guests to the eeire silence of a winter night in Savannah interupted only by the horse’s walking. Did it really happen?

The following weeks are best described by extremes. We went from the tops of mountains where an overnight snowstorm left everything covered in white to the very edge of the United States where fireworks lit up over the ocean on New Year’s Day. We pretended that we were as rich in our pockets as we were in our hearts. We ate lobster and drank champaigne. This is the stuff you tell your grandkids about. When we arrived home from our flight, we were exhausted, we had covered around 2,500 miles on land and air to get to our honeymoon destinations.



Words have been elusive lately. I mined for diamonds and found only rocks. This past weekend I saw an old friend perform in concert. Only his voice and a guitar kept an audience’s attention. What a deep and amazing challenge, journeying around to various places and bending your faith and beliefs out the neck of a guitar and through your vocals. I try not to romanticize life on the road, working late into the night and mile after mile cramped in a van. However, I can’t resist thinking about some other life other than nine-to-five. But I know I’m right where I’m at for a reason. Now I just have to figure out what that reason is.

I’ve reached another goal in the long list of goals I had set a long time ago. Graduate from college. Get married. I don’t know if I ever made any goals for after that. So, where to go now?

I can’t think of any more to say. It’s time to read some more good books and get some inspiration. I think the Darkest Night of the Year (or moreso, the Darkest Fortnight of the Year) has wrung me dry. I’m not satisfied with what I’ve written, but I have to put a stake in the ground, a milestone to mark where I’ve been. Well, here’s where I am, gone to somewhere else tommorrow, probably. Maybe come next equinox I’ll be able to do more than gush about my wedding.

The days only become brighter from here.

Jeff Holland