My heart leaped. It was time.
Holding back tears of joy, I linked arms with my dad and watched as my best friends proceeded me down the aisle. I couldn’t help but let out a laugh as both my grandmothers started to enter the chapel. I had appointed them as my flower-girls. Why not? It was so special for me to give them this role in my wedding, and they performed better than any flower girl every would, lightly tossing petals, preparing the way for their beloved granddaughter.
The music changed. It was my turn. I looked up at my dad. Do we go? Ok. We’re going! I love you!
We took our first steps through the draped entrance; the sight almost took my breath away! The chapel was stunning. Candles lit everywhere. Friendly faces encouraging me with every step I took. Wow. Wow. Wow.
Then I looked down the aisle to my groom. There he was!!!! He’s waiting for me!!!!
I don’t think I ever stopped smiling.
For the next hour, it was so evidently obvious to me how much God loves weddings, for it was the most I had ever experienced God’s bold, affirming presence. The love he poured over us was overwhelmingly pure and ever so strong as we sang praises, declaring all glory to the One who wrote this day into existence! What a worship service!
My Grandpa Kenny lead the first scripture reading with a loud clear voice. Jesse’s dad and grandmother read the last two. We couldn’t have picked better readers to stand behind the wooden podium.
Everything I had ever dreamed about as a little girl -and more!- was coming true. My father, the first man I ever loved, acted as the marrying pastor, giving me over to the most wonderful man I will ever meet, whom I will love for the rest of my life.
The message was short but powerful. With some well-thought out, wise words, my dad spoke our lives into a full circle, marking this day as God’s story of faithfulness working in and through us.
Vows of commitment were said (during which I nearly broke down!), and we turned to light the unity candle. The words of Bethel’s song “One Thirst” had been chosen for this intimate act before God, and his glory stirred in our hearts as we moved forward to becoming one in purpose– mind, body, and spirit…
Our hearts reply, “Your face we seek”, we seek
Come teach us Lord, reveal Your ways
Here to drink of Glory and wonder
Here to cry out, “Come and fill this place”
Your glory here today
And God indeed filled this place. His spirit continued to hover as our bridal party surrounded us. Hands extended fro the pews, the maid of honor and best man spoke heartfelt prayers of blessing and protection over our marriage.
As the music faded out and we linked hands, Jesse and I lovingly exchanged winks, we were more than ready for what was to come next. The kiss.
And wow, was it a kiss!!! As soon as he received permission, my groom swept me backwards into his strong arms and planted the purest display of affection and promise for the whole world to see. Our wedding guests roared with approval, with just one mere cautionary word from my dad who joked, “Easy there big guy- she’s got a broken leg!”
Once announced as Mr and Mrs, we danced through the rows of our family and friends as they tossed petals high in the air. At the end of the aisle, we celebrating with a longer, sweeter kiss before exiting the chapel. Bridesmaids and groomsmen leapt our way, swarming us with hoots and hollers and hugs. Tears of joy fell from my eyes as my best friends embraced me in congrats. This was by far the happiest moment of my life… We did it!!!
Jesse and I escaped into the getaway car and we were rushed to the reception. Aside from the miracle of instantly gaining a husband, I suddenly realized my foot hadn’t bothered me at all during the ceremony. It was a prayer answered, another most welcome miracle for this most amazing day. My golden slippers stayed in my feet until the reception, when I made the switch into my aircast boot and dansko clog. Regardless of the footwear, I still felt like the most stylish bride without a worry in the world!
Our grand entrance was one to go down in the books. As is his style, I was again swooped up into my new husbands arms and he twirled me around in the spotlight. Then, before I knew it, we were dancing our first dance!
Leading up to our wedding, I had my doubts that my foot would be healed enough to dance, but here we were, gliding around like nothing was wrong at all! Ironically, the verse started with the lyrics “when your legs don’t work like they used to before…” It was a fitting song for our first dance to launch our marriage with, and we had picked it long before my ankle injury:) God has a sense of humor for sure.
The rest of the night went by way too fast. I wanted this night to last forever! Kicked off with a parader of blessing by my Grandpa Harry, the dinner and cake-cutting quickly led to the toasts. My sister and I had only dreamed of when this day would come, giving the maid of honor toasts at each other’s weddings… So I sat listening, holding back tears and laughter as my sister endeared us with an incredible toast- full of meaning and her loving, creative wit. Her complimentary words honored our relationship as sisters, and I was even more touched as she stamped her sisterly acceptance of my man and our marriage. Of all the people in the world, my big sister’s opinion has always mattered the most.
To mix things up, we played a blood-pumping game where a song was played and every table had to run to the center of the dance floor to pose for a picture with the bride and groom, before the song ended… It was a great way to mass-greet our wedding guests as well as have photos to remember who came:) In retrospect, it’s crazy to think of all the people who were at our wedding, yet I barely got to talk with even half of them!
Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish” started to play, signaling time for the Father-Daughter dance. Whenever I have attended a wedding, this was when my eyes would swell the most. Thus said, the very minute my dad took my into his arms, the waterworks began– right on cue! Being pulled into my fathers embrace never ceases to usher a sense of peace, safety, and knowledge that I am unconditionally loved. Here is the man I have leaned on as he has led my family all my life. This dance graced me with a moment to treasure everything my dad has meant to me, our relationship ordained by God, and everything we’ve experienced together up until now, my long-anticipated wedding day. With a special squeeze of strength and encouragement from my dad as we ended the dance, I received a refreshing breath of confidence as well as excitement for the new family Jesse and I start together.
Quickly wiping away the lingering tears, my smile plastered itself even bolder as I watched all our friends and family rush the dance floor to show off their moves, expressing their shared delight of our matrimony through every single bone in their bodies!
At 10:40pm, Jesse brought me my getaway bag- it was time. I shut myself into the coat room with my sister as she helped me change out of my Cinderella gown and into my departing costume. I started to freak- out just a little, but she gave me her big-sis, ever-assuring smile and told me to go have fun. The adrenaline pushed in and I peaked out the door to find hundreds of small lights beckoning our grand exit.
Grabbing my new husband’s hand, we waltzed triumphantly through a tunnel of sparklers, extending handed and hugs and words of thanks. At the car (which on a side note had been hilariously crammed with balloons and goodies), I turned around and shouted what every ounce of my being had been screaming to say: “BEST DAY EVER!!!!”
For it truly had been and will forever be, the best day of my entire life.