When we left off, the ceremony was just beginning. Our officiant, David Schmus, has known us for a long time now. He was our AP U.S. History teacher in high school and has also become our mentor over the years. Mr. Schmus had us email him our story and he compiled them together wonderfully to the following:
Well, every wedding starts with a love story, and of course, Brandon and Min have theirs. For those of us who have gone through high school P.E. class, when we are looking very stylish dressed out in our gym clothes, that may be the last place we would want to meet the love of our lives. But alas, that is where our story begins.
According to Brandon, when he first laid eyes on Min in P.E. class playing volleyball, she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen! He especially appreciated her kindness and bubbly personality. But Brandon did not take it that seriously, however, because he felt that Min was way out of his league. “I could never get a girl like that.”But while Brandon was first noticing Min and thinking he had no chance, as it often goes, Min had already been noticing Brandon for a few months. (Men aren’t that perceptive sometimes!). In fact, Min remembers Brandon’s first conversation with her: Brandon responded to something she has said with, “Duh!” I’m sure Min felt very encouraged! But despite rocky beginnings, pretty soon they were commenting on each other’s livejournals, chatting online, with Min pretending to like Brandon’s taste in music so that they would keep exchanging CD’s with little notes inside. Brandon’s birthday came up, and we all know Min is an amazing gift giver. A beautifully wrapped dark chocolate for Brandon led to the first hug, which both remember quite well.
The first official date is a subject of a little controversy. Apparently to this day, neither is quite sure who invited whom. It sounds like Brandon wanted to ask, but having never been on a date before, he was scared, so Min helped him a little bit. Nevertheless, somehow they ended up at the Mall for dinner and a movie. Brandon got a little worried when Min showed up dressed to kill and he hadn’t changed out of his school clothes. And then Min felt she might have blown it as traffic had made her late, especially when she left her hand out during the movie for Brandon to hold, but Brandon didn’t get the clue.
But through the social awkwardness and waiting for their mothers to come pick them up, something special was happening. The subject of college plans came up, afterwards Min raced home and googled West Point. Already planning their future together, or at least daring to dream, she was dismayed to discover that West Point was in New York. If I recall from having Min as a student and as my TA, it seems like at some point she became very interested in Columbia/Cornell University. Hmm.... I wonder why? Well, after Brandon’s senior prom here at the Nixon Library, Brandon graduated and did head off to West Point. And amazingly, despite the long distance, the relationship continued to grow and deepen. They made the most of the brief times Brandon could be home. Brandon wrote about this time that he never really considered not maintaining the relationship over the distance. He said, “I believed our love was strong and true, and it was! Min is the love of my life, and my best friend.” Min remembers about she would check the mail every day to see if Brandon had written her, and how Brandon called her every night while they were apart for 4 years! She writes, “When I am with Brandon, I feel a sense of calm. I sleep better, and my self esteem even goes up when I look in the mirror. I always feel protected and cared for…He makes me want to be a better person.”
And as Brandon’s senior year at West Point approached, both of them were thinking marriage. Brandon not so subtly asked Min to give him an idea what kind of ring she might prefer. A wise man, he is. Min, needing no encouragement to be specific, sent him a link. And when Brandon came home for Christmas break, the time had come. I got the idea that Brandon had some elaborate plans for the proposal, but the unusually wet weather had made a mess of things. Unfortunately for Brandon, he had let slip his plans to his family, who were all expecting to congratulate them both at a family gathering the following day. So faced with this deadline, Brandon had to act. So taking Min home late that night (according to Brandon, it was 0330), on her porch, in the rain, Brandon had Min close her eyes, got down on his knee, and popped the question. Min must have been overcome in the moment, because her response was, “ooh, shiny.”
And that is how we have arrived here today. And I want to add as having been their teacher, mentor, and friend over these years, that these are two extraordinary people. Their maturity and character were far beyond most of their peers, and yet they have unusual humility. They have honored me by asking me to perform their ceremony, and it is my great privilege to do so.
Our vows were created from a mixture of several different excerpts from different websites, blogs, and Mr. Schmus' own words.
I, Brandon; give you this ring,
As a promise; and symbol; of my heart and faithfulness, my love and commitment to you.
When I am angry, I will seek to be kind.
When we speak, I will be truthful.
And each day of my life, I will honor you.
I choose you as the person with whom I will spend the rest of my life.We will share a lifetime of immeasurable love.
I found the following from a wedding blog and it really resonated with me:
May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer’s day.
May you find peace and beauty,
Challenge and satisfaction.
Humor and insight,
Healing and renewal,
Love and wisdom.
May you always feel that what you have is enough.
Photography by Hannah Suh