Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Edmond, OK History: The Schoolhouse Pt 3 Wedding of the Century

The Wedding of the Century

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez

I’m so glad you’re back for the conclusion of my blog on the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond, because this blog covers something that is truly and dearly close to my heart. It’s been a few months since my last post about the schoolhouse, so let me recap.

The land run of Unassigned Lands in Oklahoma happened on Friday, April 22, 1889. Edmond was a small town settled that day. The ladies of Edmond formed the Aid Society and did enough fundraisers that they were able to build the first free school in the territory. It was open for the first church service on August 11, 1889, just shy of four months after the land run, and it was the site for the first funeral recorded in the county. It was also the site for the first recorded wedding in the county on August 11, 1889, probably after the Sunday service. Over the ten years it served as a schoolhouse, church and meeting place, many weddings took place there. The last one was held on Saturday, April 17, 1897. Over 117 years later, in 2014, the schoolhouse saw another first. Another wedding! And I was the bride!

The first wedding in over 117 years!
My husband, Judge—yes, that’s his first name—and I met in an Old West reenactment group back in 2000. We both treasure history and family heritage. I had started volunteering at the Territorial Schoolhouse once they opened it up for public tours a year after the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007. The Preservation Trust allowed us to have the wedding at the schoolhouse. We found out that it really isn’t set up for weddings, so there won’t be any more in the foreseeable future. Because we love history, we wanted our wedding to be like it would have been back in 1889. Our wedding attire was period specific. We also did little decorating in order to keep everything in the schoolhouse like it was. Since Edmond is located in tall prairie grasslands, I wanted my bouquet to look like I, or someone else, had gone out in the prairie and picked wildflowers. Due to the fact we both have Scottish heritage, we also wanted to have a Celtic influence in our wedding.

My bouquet that held my great-great grandmother's crocheted doily

Unmarried women would wear their tartans on the left shoulder where married women would wear theirs on the right. Now typically, a Scotsman would marry into the bride’s clan and take her tartan, but sometimes the Scotswoman would marry into the groom’s clan, too. It’s called Changing of the Tartans. Since my husband is a veteran, he wore the Armed Forces tartan, the Blackwatch. I wanted to honor his service so I changed my tartan. But don’t worry, I still have my old tartans and wear them too.

Walking down the isle on my daddy's arm, my maiden tartan on my left shoulder

A daddy handing off his daughter

Changing the tartans, putting on my new tartan. On the right shoulder
Another Celtic wedding tradition we did was the Loving Cup and Sharing of Bread. The Loving Cup is an important part of a Celtic marriage. It symbolizes unending love. It’s actually a source of our modern tradition of the Wedding Toast. Directed by the minister, the couple drinks three “toasts” as a salute to Past Love (past loves), Current Love (the love you feel for each other today) and Future Love (love that will grow as you are together through the years). It is much older than Communion. The “sharing of the bread” was purely a symbolic gesture alluding to the willingness to put the other’s needs before your own and to provide for their sustenance and well being. Both are older than taking Communion, although we did choose to do a first Communion as a married couple and offered it to anyone who wanted to join us.

The Loving Cup
Sharing of Bread
A common Celtic wedding tradition, which we also did, was hand-fasting. This is where the term “tying the knot” originated. Hand-fasting was recognized as a binding contract of marriage between two families, or clans, even before weddings became a function of State or a responsibility of the Church. Along with taking vows and exchanging rings, the couple’s hands were bound together by a cord, generally a strip of tartan, signifying the joining of their lives in a sacred union. Today, it is a symbol to honor the couple’s commitment to one another, to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together. My sister did a hand-fasting during her wedding ceremony, and she braided together three cords, one cord her favorite color, one cord her husband’s, and a white cord representing Christ binding them together.

The Knot has been tied!
Rings exchanged
My sister's hand-fasting cord
We all know how important wedding vows are. It’s a life covenant, not only between man and woman, but between the couple and God. We chose to say Old Irish wedding vows. They express what we really craved, not only between each other, but between us and God.

Repeating our vows
So on this day, two years ago, we bound our hearts, our futures, our lives and our families to the other. Here is a copy of the vows we took:

“I , Judge, promise you, Alanna, that I will stand beside you in sunshine and storm, in darkness and light, through good times and bad. Will you accept me as your husband?

I will. I, Alanna, promise you, Judge, that I will stand beside you in sunshine and storm, in darkness and light, through good times and bad. Will you accept me as your wife?

I will.”

Together, we said:

“I have joined my life to yours

To stand by your side and sleep in your arms

To be a joy to your heart and food to your soul

To work as partners and live as a family

While we grow old.”

Happy Anniversary, my husband, my muirnait (beloved), my anmchara (soul friend). I love you.

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Alanna loves the history of the state and relishes in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna lives with her husband and parents in the Edmond area. She is currently working on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Waterloo, Oklahoma.


  1. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to your home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

    1. Let me check with the moderators.
      Vickie? Nancy? Debbie?

    2. Not necessarily. It's fine with me, but I don't run the blog. I participate in it. And I want to verify with them about it.

    3. Thanks! I sure hope they are not hard to get along with. (LOL?)

    4. Jerry,

      If you'll contact me via my website , I'll email you our badge icon that we use for requests like yours. Sorry, I just saw your request. Vickie Mc. Email me via the Contact page on my website.

  2. Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful story.

  3. Alanna - such a beautiful ceremony. I love the traditions you used in your wedding. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Happy anniversary to you and Judge.

    1. Thank you so much, Terri! It sure was fun to plan it! Two years and going! Yay!

  4. Alanna, I really enjoyed reading about your wedding and the history. Very cool! Happy anniversary!

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading about it, Erin! Thank you so much!

  5. Alana, a lovely post with your special ceremony and the history of the school/church in Edmond, OK.

  6. I love the hand-fasting part of the ceremony. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading! The minister tied the knot so we could free our hands and still have to knot. It still hangs proudly today!

  7. had gone out in the prairie and picked wildflowers.