For those of you who may not have heard me complain, the wedding prep was a nightmare. It ran the gamut from failing to return correspondences to no shows for appointments to cancellations. Our engagement, potential site tours, and the day we picked up our license were all grey and rainy, yet I still planned for an outdoor ceremony. So when I say the day was perfect, I want you to have some points to compare.
The wind swept through the alley where my sisters, father and I waited patiently. The goosebumps prickled on my arms. I squatted behind my (tiny) father when a heard of guests came flooding down the stairs in front of us and found 4 perfect red leaves on the ground, one for each of the girls. My mouth wouldn’t stop. I was anxious. Not nervous per say, but indeed ready for this to happen and to happen sooner rather than later. And then my sisters stepped out of our hidey hole, lined themselves up on the stone steps, and started their descent amidst the leaves and mud to the lakeside deck below. I think one of them winked. Someone definitely whispered something.
And then my father stepped out into the sunlight. He was dashing in his Naval uniform. He smiled broadly, and waved his hand for me to join him. I stepped out, wrapped my arm through his, more grateful for the warmth than I realized, and held on for dear life. We started our walk, me smiling like a dope, him laughing at my faltering steps. “Oh! It’s the Beatles!” “Slow down then dad, that’s not the right song yet.”
I remember the absolute security I felt as soon as my shoe hit the solidity of the deck. The wood was unyielding, the seats were filled, people were smiling, Shoobs was there. The two heaters aligned at the back of the deck wrapped me in a warm glow and gave me just enough of a toasty boost to keep me comfortable. As I passed through them, I made a cheeky comment, and all my anxiety vanished. This was my ceremony, I could be myself.
We made our way up the aisle, my father and I. I checked in with my girls. It wasn’t until the preacher started talking that I even thought to check in with Shelby. I peaked at him from around my dad. He wasn’t looking. He was ok. My dad lifted my cage veil, kissed me sweetly on the cheek and put my hands into Shelby’s. I smiled, and immediately turned to my maid of honor to make her fix my veil. Except for one quick break to hand my bouquet over and one more to see and grab his ring from her, my eyes never left his. I remembered to use my best outdoor theatre voice so everyone could hear. This was real, this was happening, I could have shouted it from the mountain tops.
In 20 minutes, we were done.