Our Officiant!

By far, the best and our favorite part of the wedding was everyone who attended, 172 in all.  Your presence was the best present, but the best of all was the good Sheriff, Dana Lawhorne, who served as our officiant!

_MG_1602Everything he said was true, and yes, he did catch me off guard with the “is there a campaign in Alexandria you haven’t worked on?” question, but he did a fabulous job throughout.  His daughters were there, and he and his wife, Linda even stayed to party and take in the day with us.  A hearty “Thank-you!” will never be enough, Lawhornes!

Lauren, Linda, Dana & Ja

Lauren, Linda, Dana & Ja

Dana was quick to share his remarks (with my begging!) and I would like to share them with you here. Enjoy!

WEDDING of Lauren and Ja

Family and Friends, we welcome you today to witness the marriage of Lauren and Ja. You have shared and contributed to their lives in the past, and by witnessing their marriage ceremony today, Lauren and Ja ask you to share in their future.

Marriage is a promise, made in the hearts of two people who love each other, which takes a lifetime to fulfill. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s lover, teacher, listener, critic, and best friend.

  • Presentation of the Bride

Who is giving this woman to be married to this man? 

  • Father says: Her mother and I.
  • Father kisses the Bride
  • He sits

Lauren and Ja would like to acknowledge Tracy and Wendy Rickett for opening their home to all of us on this joyous occasion.

  • Remarks about Lauren and Ja

Take a peek at them and see how proud they are.

Well done parents!

First of all, let me tell you what an honor it is to stand here today with the both of you. Being asked to perform a wedding is not something that I take lightly nor is it something that I do often. But I’m glad you asked me to be a part of your special day.

I first met Lauren when I ran for Sheriff for the first time in 2005. She was my campaign manager. I have known her for ten years now, through many hair styles and numerous campaign T-shirts and a few boyfriends. Ja – for the record they all asked Lauren to marry them but she turned them all down in hopes that one day she would find Mr. Right. After meeting you (look at Ja) I’m convinced it was worth the wait.

I know that Lauren cares about her family, her friends, and the Nats. She has met challenges in life with courage and determination. Whenever she got knocked down she got right back up. Some would say that you have spunk. Is there a local political campaign that you didn’t work on?

I have met Ja several times. We have had some good conversations. Based on these conversations I get the impression that he too cares about his family, his friends, and the Nats. He could care less about the local politicians.

I asked Lauren and Ja this question. What do you want everyone to know about you and why you chose to marry each other?

Ja was the first to reply by saying, “my family noticed I got my smile back.” I introduced Lauren to my family for the first time at Easter dinner. Once she spent time with them they understood why. They were happy for me.  

I want everyone to know how much I admire Lauren for her drive and determination. When she starts something, she puts everything she has into it. I love that if we start something together, she makes sure we finish it. Be it doing laundry or going to an amusement park. She’s put everything she has into me and I hope she knows I’ve done the same for her.

Lauren said she wants you to know that when she first met Ja she knew right away that he was the one. She didn’t need the Sheriff to check him out because she knew he was a decent and honest person. Their first date lasted 4 hours and the second date was two days later. But what really sealed it for her was when he agreed to drive her to a colonoscopy exam. But the true test was for him was to meet Ann and Rick Dorman and get Ann/Rick certified. Needless to say, he did.

Lauren also said this, “It dawned on me the other day that I just like having Ja around and in my day to day life. In the past, I use to like my alone time. But with Ja, I just can’t imagine my life without him. He’s done everything with me and gone everywhere I’ve asked and the same is true for me with him.” 

It all sounds to me like your families think this is a good idea. Both sides approve. That’s the best part of today. When your family loves you, each of you in their own way, separate and apart from each other, the one thing they all have in common is that they want nothing more than for you to be happy and content. (pause)

Ja and Lauren would like to recognize Mary Lou Robinson who sends her love and best wishes.

Let us remember those who have gone before us:

Patricia Kerr

Anna Maria Smith

Paul & Pauline Smith

Harry Robinson

Alan & Ann Ridgway

Bill Robinson

Paul Robinson

Elizabeth Perry Trollinger

We know they are looking down on you today with big smiles. 

  • Now let us all express our Pledge of Support

Who presents Lauren to be married?  We do.

Who presents Ja to be married?       We do.

All of us here give you our blessing and promise to do everything in our power to uphold you in your marriage.

  • Reading

And now a reading from a close friend Darlene Vanderbush

  • Presentation of the Rings

You have chosen to exchange rings as the sign and seal of the promises you are making to one another today.

Ja, do you have a ring for Lauren? Ja:      I do.
Lauren, do you have a ring for Ja? Lauren:     I do. 

  • Blessing of the Rings

Rings are very large in their significance. They are made of precious metal and precious stone and that reminds us that love is not cheap or common; but indeed love is very costly and dear to us. These rings are also made in a circle and their design tells us that we must keep love continuous throughout our whole lives. As you wear these rings, whether you are together or apart for even just a moment, may these rings be a constant reminder of the promises you are making to one another this day.

  • Traditional Vows

Ja, will you please take this ring and place it upon the third finger of Lauren’s left hand, and holding her hand in yours, please repeat this promise to Lauren, saying after me:

I, Ja, take you, Lauren, to be my wife,

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and to honor,

and to cherish unconditionally, forsaking all others,

I will be faithful to you, so long as we both shall live.

With this ring, I thee wed.


Lauren, will you please take this ring and place it upon the third finger of Ja’s left hand, and holding his hand in yours, please repeat this promise to Ja, saying after me: 

I, Lauren, take you, Ja, to be my husband,

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and to honor,

and to cherish unconditionally, forsaking all others,

I will be faithful to you, so long as we both shall live. With this ring, I thee wed. Now face me.

  • Charge to the Couple

Lauren and Ja, the two of you have joined this marriage uniting as husband and wife, and as you this day affirm your faith and love for one another, I would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as special and unique individuals, that you respect the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions to one another. (pause) Be able to forgive, do not hold grudges, and each day that you shall be each other’s home, comfort, and refuge, your marriage strengthened by your love and respect.

  • Pronouncement of Marriage

Lauren and Ja, you have come here today before us and have expressed your desire to become husband and wife. You have shown your love and affection by joining hands, and have made promises of faith and devotion each to the other, and have sealed these promises by the giving and the receiving of the rings. Therefore, it is my privilege and by the authority given to me by the Commonwealth of Virginia, I now pronounce that you are husband and wife. Ja, you may kiss your lovely bride.

  • Tell them to face the audience

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege to introduce to you for the first time, as a married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ja Ridgway Jr.

Couple walks out to “Celebrate, good times! Yah-Hoo!”

All Smiles!

All Smiles!