I woke up the morning of the big day… with the beginnings of a cold that would torment me for days. NOOOOO! This can’t be happening! But it was. So basically, I was drugged up for a good part of the day prior to the evening ceremony—napping, watching TV, more napping, hearing but not listening to the faint murmurings of the womenfolk next door as my bride-to-be got prepared.
A couple of hours before the wedding, I found myself standing on the balcony of the main building with one of my long-time best friends, Chris (he and I have known each other since the 7th grade, twenty some-odd years ago), talking about nothing in particular—commenting on the wedding preceding mine as it was going on below, getting tips on things to do while in Europe on our honeymoon. On the surface, it didn’t look like much, but it was a nice moment… two guys, two golf buddies, two friends just shooting the breeze on the most important day of one of the guys’ life.
An hour before the wedding, it’s time for the photos. A few quick snaps, a few reshuffles, and boom—done. Time to shoo the boys away and let the girls take their pictures (away from prying eyes, of course). And I went back to waiting.
And then it starts—but what a start. As I’m standing out of view, waiting for my turn to proceed down the aisle behind the minister, the waist cinch on my tux decides “you know, now would be a really good time to break”. And so it does. (I wonder if I’m going to lose points for cursing in the presence of a minister, even if it was done under my breath? Oh well.) So now, here I am, literally a minute from walking out in front of friends and family, and my pants are about to fall down. But here comes our wedding coordinator to the rescue—she managed to find a safety pin, and with a quick snap, I’m back in business. Now that that’s out of the way, nothing else oughta go wrong. Ummm… right… we’ll see about that.
Now I’m waiting at the end of the aisle with my brother (the best man, of course), the matron of honor (my sweetie’s sister), and the minister. Just two more people left, and here comes the first of them: the flower girl, my soon-to-be niece, walking shyly from point to point, dropping a handful of petals at each stop.
And then The Music starts, and I see Her at the top of the aisle. And oh my god, there was nothing I could say—she was stunning… beautiful… glowing… but I couldn’t say any of that, as I found myself just staring at her in awe. And then came the part that only a few people knew about beforehand. Her brother was supposed to walk her down the aisle, but due to a desk-bound bureaucratic hack in the Army, he could not secure his release to make it down for the ceremony. What to do? Here’s what: As she stood there waiting, I proceeded to leave my place and walk back up to the top of the aisle. There, she took my arm… and we both started to cry. (She told me I would. I didn’t believe her. She won. :-) And then we both made our way slowly back down the aisle. It was an incredible moment.
We had decided to write our own vows, and after the minister said his words, it was our turn. Now it had been arranged ahead of time that she would go first—not the “traditional” order of things, but as emotional as we knew she would be (and she was), she knew that she had to go first if she was going to make it through the thing. But the minister forgot and was about to have me go first… until my sweetie whispered every so softly, “No, me first”, smiling and still crying her joyous tears. The words were read (and hers were so much better than mine, darnit :-) and the rings were exchanged, and with a kiss and a turn to the audience, that was that. The end.
Except for one thing I forgot to mention. During the ceremony, we lit the unity candle. Or rather, we attempted to. It turned out that the wick for the candle was cut too low down in the candle and that it was next to impossible to get our tapers down there to light it. But what can you do?—we just laughed it off with the minister, and numerous contortions later, we had a flame. And there was much rejoicing. Now the end.
Except for something else I forgot to mention. Immediately after lighting the unity candle, the minister handed us a bundle of roses, and we proceeded out into the audience to present our mothers and her grandmother with them. (They had no idea that we were going to do this.) Giving them to our mothers was no problem, as they were seated in the first row. But her grandmother had disappeared to the back of the audience—actually, behind the back of the audience—to tend to my cranky soon-to-be nephew. So we start walking back up the aisle to reach her, but no one else knew what was going on. (My brother was thinking “Is that it?”. Others were thinking “Did I/we miss something?” Our videographer and photographer were each scrambling to figure out where the heck we were going, our photog silently mouthing “Where are you going?”) But everyone figured it out, and we made it through the rest of the ceremony with no further confusion.
And that was the end. A little cake, a little dancing, some catching-up with friends and family, and it was time for everyone to leave.
All in all, it was as close to perfect as we could have hoped for.
And I… I was a married man.