There were several things I was absolutely adamant on for our ceremony. The first, that we have a judge marry us. The second, that Dave walk down the aisle right before or after me with just as much pomp and circumstance. After all, it was our big day, not my big day.
The third, that both my parents walk me down the aisle. The fourth, that my father not be asked to give me away. The fifth, that the judge say “husband and wife” not “man and wife.”
But you have to pick your battles.
So when my mom said she didn’t want to walk me down the aisle, I said okay. And when my dad started tearing up minutes before the ceremony because he reaaaally wanted to give me away, I said okay. And when the wedding coordinator said Dave should take the short way down the aisle and I should take the long way down the aisle because people really only cared about seeing the bride, I said okay.
Even with those small concessions, our ceremony was everything I hoped it would be. Our wedding day was on a Friday, and I woke up early to go work on the flowers in Dave’s parent’s garage. My mom was confident the three of us (including my Aunt Dina) could get it all done with plenty of time to spare. Well….not so much. It was a nice morning and we had a fun time doing the flowers, but I ended up staying until I simply had to leave to get ready with my mom still working away.
I know absolutely nothing about doing hair, so my sister Moriah willingly agreed to do so. My hair was relatively short at the time, and I told her I wanted it half up, half down, with just a little bit of curl. After she was done, I went back to my hotel room to do my makeup.
My hands were shaking so hard, I kept dropping my makeup containers and brushes and was breathing in an out like there was a paper bag in front of my mouth. I kept picturing the guy from The Sandlot in my mirror saying “For…ev….ehr.” Forever? Who can agree to forever?
When Dave picked me up to head over to the mansion, I was noticably antsy. “For…ev…ehr. For…ev…ehr.” I alternated between silence and prattling about nothingness in the car. At one point, Dave said, “You know, I’m getting a little irritated that you keep flipping out,” and I stared out the window, trying not to cry, as we pulled up to the mansion. Now I know why couples don’t see each other before the wedding.
Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths, as I put on my wedding dress. Then wedding party arrived, and I relaxed. We went outside to take a bajillion pictures, and I looked at the man I was about to marry and realized just how much I loved him and how much work I would put into making this last forever. After all, this was more than a wedding: it was a marriage.
There wasn’t much surprise beforehand at how we looked: Dave and I were both mingling with our guests as they arrived before the ceremony took place. We got a call that our friend J.D. who was supposed to be running the iPod had a flat tire and wouldn’t be able to make it to the ceremony. I asked our friend Bill if he could do it and he agreed, though he was nervous since he wasn’t really familiar with Ipods. Then my cousin Jake showed up and took over as music player and camera man. Mini crisis averted.
It was such a beautiful day, unusually warm for October, but very breezy. My Dad looked very somber as he walked me down the aisle, and I just kept smiling and looking at all my friends and family, desperately trying not to trip on my dress. All those people in the crowd, people who drove from another state, people who took a Friday off work to be there, people who didn’t complain once about having to shell out money for a hotel room….they were all my favorite people, and I loved them, and I loved them for being there, and I loved that they were there to see me marry Dave.
Once I started my walk down the aisle, all my worries melted, and I was cool as a cucumber. This was good, this was right, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I had practiced my vows so many times that I didn’t even have to look at them to read them to Dave. Meanwhile, Dave’s calm demeanor had flipped the opposite way.
Right as he began reading, he pulled out a handkerchief and struggled to make it through his vows. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd. When he said all the things every person wants to hear, I didn’t freeze like I did when he proposed. I let them wash over me and wondered how long I had to wait to kiss him. It seemed unfair to wait until the judge said “husband and wife” when I just couldn’t contain the love I was feeling for him.
After our vows, our friends read some poetry and book excerpts, which were just perfect, and soon, we were pronounced husband and wife. Dave kept stepping on my dress as we walked back down the aisle, and I couldn’t stop smiling as we walked back down the aisle to “All You Need is Love.”