A/N: After a long vacation I am going to come back to writing Love Equals Sacrifice. I went through a long period of time when I felt very little urge to write for Gimore Girls, but now more than ever I realize that if I want to have the GG I want, I have to make it myself along with the other fanfic writers. I do have to let my readers for JAG and Gilmore Girls know that I lost the love of my life March 14 and I am still recovering from that if one can so I will not promise when updates might be up, just that they will be. Thanks for your loyalty.
The Dragonfly Inn was beautifully decorated by Emily's expert hand. The soft, white snow gave a splendid backdrop to the sprays of flowers that decorated the walls of the Inn. The steps were lined with silver bows, similar to those on the chairs which were midnight blue.
Lucy Kinkirk, along with her husband Kevin and her brother and sister-in-law were present for the ceremony that each of them felt in a small way they were responsible for helping come about. Lucy was even going to co officiate the ceremony with Reverend Skinner.
At precisely eight o'clock, Lucy and Reverend Skinner were joined by the two nervous grooms under the wedding canopy. The prelude music the couple had agreed on, the very appropriate and traditional Canon in D began to play as Kirk, who had begged for some role in the wedding began to walk Emily down the aisle. To his credit, and everyone's relief, he did the job well.
Following the mother/grandmother of the brides, came Sookie and Lane, each dressed in dark blue dresses with long a-line skirts, their hair swept back into braided twists and held in place with flowers, just as Lorelai and Rory's had been
Finally, Lorelai and Rory appeared in the door way one on either side of Richard, dressed impeccably in his tuxedo. Lorelai had her hair swept up with her flowers secured in the knot with brown curls surrounding it. Her tiara completed the picture and the pearls and diamond chips throughout set off the icicle necklace around her neck. Her gown was trimmed with soft fur and velvet, the skirt fuller than the top.
Rory wore Emily's gown, altered of course to the differences in their shape, her hair was fixed in a style to mimic her mother's.
The strains of the wedding march began to play and with it Lorelai, Rory and Richard began their descent. Luke and Jess stood awestruck as these women who were soon to be their wives moved forward.
When Lorelai and Rory reached their mates, Richard kissed each of their cheeks and stayed between them awaiting his cue, a moment he would both anticipated and dreaded.
Reverend Skinner and the new Reverend Kinkirk stepped forward each dressed in their ceremonial gowns. Reverend Skinner began the ceremony.
"We are gathered here today in the sight of God and angels, and the presence of friends and loved ones, to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes and blessings to the words which shall unite Lucas Danes and Lorelai Victoria Gilmore and Jess Mariano and Lorelai Leigh Gilmore in holy matrimony," Reverend Skinner decided to add a bit of his own sentiment to the very traditional start. "The former of which I never thought I would live to see."
"And the latter of which," Lucy added. "I knew I would definitely see." She picked up the traditional words from there. "Marriage is a most honorable estate, created and Instituted by God, signifying unto us the mystical union, which also exists between Christ and the Church; so too may this marriage be adorned by true and abiding love." Lucy paused, this part always made her nervous, especially given her brother's history, but it had to be done. "Should there be anyone who has cause why these couples should not be united in marriage, they must speak now or forever hold their peace."
Jess' eyes held Rory's while Luke's held Lorelai's. No one feared any interference; they simply anticipated the part that came next.
"Who is it that brings this woman to this man?" Reverend Skinner asked in reference to Lorelai and Luke.
"Her mother and I do," Richard replied and placed Lorelai's hand in Luke's.
"And who is it that brings this woman to this man?" Lucy asked, this time meaning Rory and Jess.
"Her grandfather on behalf of her family," Richard replied and placed Rory's hand in Jess' before stepping back to join Emily. He reached for her hand and squeezed it. "Both our babies," he whispered with a tear in his eye.
Emily choked up as well, squeezed back and turned her attention back to Reverend Skinner. "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria and Jess and Lorelai Leigh, life is given to each of us as individuals, and yet we must learn to live together. Love is given to us by our family and friends. We learn to love by being loved. Learning to love and living together is one of life's greatest challenges and is the shared goal of a married life.
"But a husband and wife should not confuse love of worldly measures for even if worldly success is found; only love will maintain a marriage. Mankind did not create love; love is created by God. The measure of true love is a love both freely given and freely accepted, just as God's love of us is unconditional and free," Reverend Skinner finished and yielded to Lucy.
Those words reached something inside Jess and he reached out to touch Rory's arm. All his life he had to work for even the slightest bit of attention, then out of Hell rose this beautiful woman who loved him in spite of every fault or maybe because of it, the way it should be.
"Today truly is a glorious day the Lord hath made," Lucy began, "As today you are all blessed with God's greatest of all gifts - the gift of abiding love and devotion between a man and a woman. All present here today - and those here in heart - wish you all the joy, happiness and success and the world has to offer.
"As you travel through life together, I…we caution you to remember that the true measure of success, the true avenue to joy and peace, is to be found within the love you hold in your hearts. I would ask that you hold the key to your heart very tightly."
As Lucy finished Luke contemplated those words. He and Lorelai had all ready done that, they'd kept their hearts locked away so tightly they'd almost missed their chance at the life Reverend Skinner and Lucy were talking about. Now though, out of and because of chaos, they realized how much they needed to love the other.
"Within the Bible," said Reverend Skinner "Nothing is of more importance that love. We are told the crystalline and beautiful truth: "God is Love". We are assured that "Love conquers all". It is love, which brings you here today, the union of hearts and spirits. As your lives continue to interweave, remember that it was love that brought you here today, it is love that will make these glorious unions, and it is love which will cause these unions to endure to the end."
Reverend Skinner moved into the next part of the ceremony. "My dear friends, you have come together before this company so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church's minister and this community. Christ abundantly blesses this love. He has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches you by a special ceremony so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity. And so, in the presence of the Church, I ask you to state your intentions." He looked at Luke and Lorelai, "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria, will you please face each other and join hands."
Rory and Jess stayed to the left of Luke and Lorelai and turned to watch the event unfold. "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?"
"We have," the replied, eyes shining locked with one another as if their were no one else in the room
"Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?"
"We will," the replied, again in unison as if they had been doing that for years.
"Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" Reverend Skinner asked as his final question.
Luke wanted to reach out and touch Lorelai's belly, knowing that they had all ready made a baby together and that it was indeed the most wonderful feeling in the world. "We will," the both said with a smile that no one but the other knew the meaning of.
"Jess and Lorelai Leigh," Lucy said. "Will you come together please and join right hands."
Jess and Rory switched places with Luke and Lorelai and listened to Lucy ask them the same three questions as Reverend Skinner had asked Luke and Lorelai. With equal sentiment and enthusiasm they gave the same response.
"A marriage ceremony represents one of life's greatest commitments," Reverend Skinner said."But also is a declaration of love. At this time we would like to call upon Mr. Christopher Hayden, Lorelai Leigh's father, to read to you what Paul wrote of love in a letter to the Corinthians a long time ago. We believe this is a true model of love, and it is a model of love I would hope both couples would pursue in your marriages. Mr. Hayden."
Lucy and Reverend Skinner stepped aside and let Christopher stand under the chuppah before the couples to read the passage selected. It had been Jess' idea to ask her father and his father to do the two readings.
" Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels," Chrisopher began, glad Rory asked him to play even a small role in the ceremony. "But do not have love, I am only sounding brass or tinkling cymbals. Though I have the gift of prophecy and understanding all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains – but do not have love, I am nothing. Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love endures and is kind. Love is not envious or jealous. Love wants not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, it is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousnes - but in the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.
Where there are prophecies, they shall fail, where there be tongues, they shall cease, where there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is part shall be done away with.
When I was a child I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child. When I became an adult, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly - as in a mirror - but then we shall see face to face. At present I know partially, then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain- these three- but the greatest of these is love. "
Christopher gently touched Rory's shoulder as he returned to his place behind Emily and Richard.
When Lucy and Reverend Skinner stood before the quartet again, Reverend Skinner said, "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria have requested traditional vows. If you will once again face each other and join right hands," he requested. "Lucas, repeat after me. I, Lucas William Danes, take thee Lorelai Victoria Gilmore to be my lawfully wedded wife."
"I, Lucas William Danes, take thee Lorelai Victoria Gilmore to be my lawfully wedded wife," Luke repeated softly, looking into Lorelai's shining eyes. I, Lucas William Danes, take thee Lorelai Victoria Gilmore to be my lawfully wedded wife."
"To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer," Reverend Skinner led.
"To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer," Luke echoed, his voice growing huskier.
"And I promise to love you forevermore," Reverend Skinner finished.
"And I promise to love you forevermore," Luke sighed, letting one tear fall.
"Now Lorelai, repeat after me. I, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, take thee, Lucas William Danes, to be my lawfully wedded husband."
Lorelai repeated, "I, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, take thee, Lucas William Danes, to be my lawfully wedded husband."
"To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer," Reverend Skinner continued, his own eyes misting at witnessing this perfect couple recite their vows to each other. Vows he knew this couple would be able to stay true to.
"To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer," Lorelai repeated, tears falling freely. Luke reached to brush one of them off her soft cheek.
"And I promise to love you forevermore," Reverend Skinner concluded on a sigh.
"And I promise to love you forevermore," Lorelai sobbed, leaning her cheek into Luke's hand. He brushed it gently and mouthed, "I love you."
Then it was Rory and Jess' turn. "Jess and Lorelai Leigh have chosen to recite their own vows. Jess, will you and Lorelai Leigh face each other and join right hands," Lucy requested. "We'll begin with Jess."
Jess held Rory's hand tightly, his brown eyes shining as he began to recite the words they had selected. "I promise to you today before God, our family and friends to stand by your side. Unfailingly share and support your hopes and dreams. I vow to always be here for you through thick and thin," he squeezed her hand and thought to himself how that was true of her as well. "When you fall, I will catch you. When you cry, I will comfort you. When you laugh, I will share your joy. No matter what lies ahead for us I will see it as a journey, one that can only be completed by the two of us together. From this moment everything I am and everything I have is yours, and for eternity my love for you will remain."
Rory was crying when Jess finished his declaration. They had chosen the vows together from books of romantic poems and saying, but hearing them from his mouth at their wedding was more than Rory expected. It was with hoarse tear-filled voice that she began to recite her selection.
"When I was a little girl, I prayed for a man who would sweep me off my feet and share my feelings, hopes, and dreams. God answered that prayer by giving me you to fulfill that dream," she held his chocolate eyes with hers, speaking firmly if brokenly. "You made that dream come true. There is just one thing different — it is far more wonderful than I ever imagined. I dreamed of being in love, but I never dreamed of sharing my soul. I dreamed of sharing my thoughts, but I never dreamed someone could hear me without words. In my darkest trouble; in my brightest joys; in my coldest silence; in my warmest thoughts; I looked for you and you were there. I give you my life and all my love throughout eternity. For yesterday is only a dream and tomorrow is but a vision, but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of hope and tomorrow a vision of hope. I am yours forever and I love you."
There were no truly dry eyes when Rory finished her vows to Jess. This couple was unique, it has been challenged, criticized, ripped apart, and forced together. All of that had led them here to this place and all gathered were happy to see their struggle rewarded.
Lorelai and Luke joined Rory and Jess in the center again as Reverend Skinner asked, "The rings please."
Both brides and grooms took their rings and placed them in the hands of the ministers officiating, Lorelai and Luke's bands to Reverend Skinner and Rory's and Jess' bands to Lucy.
"Wedding rings are an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace, signifying to all the uniting of these men and these women in marriage," Reverend Skinner pronounced. "Lucas, place this ring on Lorelai's finger and say, 'Lorelai, accepted this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
Luke took the delicate band he'd selected and had engraved with their names and wedding date and repeated the words as he slipped it on Lorelai's finger, "Lorelai, accept this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
"Lorelai," Reverend Skinner prompted.
"Lucas," Lorelai stated with the ring in her hand. "Accept this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Lucy concluded the ring exchange leading the soon to be Marianos through the ritual, then said, "In Ephesians, the relationship between husband and wife is compared to between Christ and the church. We would now like to call upon Jess' father, James Mariano to read that passage to us."
Jimmy took his place where Christopher had previously stood and nervously read the assigned verses. "Submit yourselves one to another as the fear of God. Wives, show reverence for your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own Husbands in everything.
"Husbands, love your wife, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkles or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own body; He that loves his wife loves himself.
For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
"For this cause shall man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one and I am saying this as it refers to Christ and the Church; however, let husband love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respect her husband."
When Jimmy finished her walked down and resumed his seat next to Sasha. He never dreamed he'd even be invited to his son's wedding, never mind actually give a reading at the event. He clasped Sasha's hand and she smiled at him.
"At this time, we will as married people and as ministers of the gospel charge the couples with their responsibilities in their marriages," Lucy announced before she and Reverend Skinner began speaking simultaneously. "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria, Jess and Lorelai Leigh, you come into these marriages uniting you as husbands and wives, and as you this day affirm your faith and love for one another, we would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as special and unique individuals, that you respect the thoughts, ideas and suggestions of one another. Be able to forgive, do not hold grudges, and live each day that you may share it together - as from this day forward you shall be each other's home, comfort and refuge, your marriage strengthened by your love and respect."
"Let us pray," Lucy requested and began a prayer over the unions about to be sealed. "Oh Lord, our hearts are filled with great happiness on Luca and Lorelai Victoria's and on Jess and Lorelai Leigh's wedding day, as they come before You pledging their hearts and lives to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together is such a way as to never bring shame or heartbreak into their marriages. Temper their hearts with kindness and understanding; rid them of all pretense of jealousy. Help them to remember to be each other's sweethearts, helpmates, friends and guides, so that together they may meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. And with the passage of time, may the home they are creating today, truly be a place of love and harmony, where your spirit is ever present.
"Bless this union we pray, and walk beside both of these special couples throughout all their lives together. We ask these things in Jesus name; AMEN"
"It is my pleasure at this time to call upon Stars Hollows own Patricia LoCossa to sing "Sunrise, Sunset" while our couples light the unity candle," Reverend Skinner told the crowd.
Miss Patty rose and moved to her place beside the candle as Reverend Skinner explained the ceremony. "Lucas and Lorelai Victoria, along with Jess and Lorelai Leigh these individual candles symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. I ask that each of you take on of the lit candles and that together you light the center candle.
"The individual candles represent your lives before today. Lighting the center candle represents that your lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining together of your two families and sets of friends to one," Reverend Skinner said. "This is even a more unique and special ceremony in this case, as we are not uniting both couples as husband and wife, but as mother and son and father and daughter."
As Lorelai and Luke along with Rory and Jess took the separate candles they listened to Miss Patty's voice sing the sentimental words of a song that meant so much to each of them, whether or not the realized it.
the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
remember growing older
When did they?
she get to be a beauty?
When did he get to be so tall?
When they were small?
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
Lorelai watched Rory and Jess smile at each other in the soft grow of the newly lit candle. Luke did so as well wondering when these two children had grown into adults.
words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day
so natural together
Just like two newlyweds should be
Is there a canopy in store for me?
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
Miss Patty concluded the song once the large center candle was lit and the couples were once again positioned under the chuppah.
"Let us pray," Reverend Skinner instructed. "Lord, we pray for all married persons, that they may continue to give, be able to forgive and experience more and more the joy of the Lord with each passing day. And especially for Lucas and Lorelai Victoria as well as Jess and Lorelai Leigh, now beginning their married life together, that they may have divine assistance, the constant support of friends, and a long life with good health. May your fullest blessing come upon Lorelai Victoria and Lorelai Leigh and their husbands Lucas and Jess, from this day forward, for ever and ever, Amen." Reverend Skinner concluded his prayer and stepped back for Lucy to say hers.
"May Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, always be at the center of the new lives you are now starting to build together, that you may know the ways of true loves and kindness. May the Lord bless you both all the days of your lives and fill you with his joy. Amen."
Both ministers stepped down the steps of the chuppah and each taking their respective couples hands in their own said in unison, "Those, whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
Reverend Skinner took the lead once again, "As this is a double ceremony, there will be two pronouncements of the couples. We ask you hold you applause until both couples have been pronounced and introduced. Lucas and Lorelai Victoria, in so much as you have in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Holy Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the joining of your hands and the giving of these rings, I now declare you to be Husband and Wife. Kiss your bride, Luke."
Luke gentle cupped Lorelai's cheek in his hand and brushed his lips against hers in a chaste kiss that held all the love he held for her in his heart.
Lucy stepped forward next to pronounce Rory and Jess, "In so much as Jess and Lorelai Leigh have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, having given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and having declared same by the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife." Lucy paused as she let a few tears leak out. She was so happy and proud to see how far this couple had come.
Jess cleared his throat, "May I now kiss the bride?" he asked with a chuckle.
"That would be a good idea," Lucy responded on a laugh.
Jess' kiss to Rory was not as chaste or gentle as Luke's to Lorelai, but it did all that a kiss after marriage was supposed to do, sealed the promised they had made to each other.
Through a wide smile Reverend Skinner loudly announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Lucas Danes," he motioned to Luke and Lorelai standing arm in arm.
"And it is mine to introduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jess Mariano," announced Lucy.
The room erupted in applause as the recessional began to play. Luke and Lorelai retreated back up the aisle swiftly, while Rory with Jess leaning on her did so more slowly. Either way, neither couple had ever been happier, more content, or more loved.