When my daughter’s fiancé first told us he was going to propose, I was very happy and excited for her, right up to the moment I realized I was going to have to help plan and host the wedding, at which point the panic set in. I just couldn’t imagine that we would be able to pull together all the little details of such a huge event (whatever happened to the days when a wedding meant a quick ceremony in the sanctuary, followed by cake and punch in the church basement?) even knowing that my daughter is a very organized person who would be doing most of the work herself. Multi-tasking has never been my strong point, and in weddings, the devil is definitely in the details. There were many times in the past year when I thought herding fifty cats would have been much easier.
But we did it. My daughter got married last Saturday, and all the important things went according to plan. The weather was perfect, everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there, the ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was fun. I had been told that, after all that planning and work, the day would just fly by, and that was so true. I really don’t have a strong, clear memory of it that I can share when people ask, “How did the wedding go?”
What I do have are a series of mental pictures of the highlights of the day. First, I remember how beautiful my daughter looked when she first put on her dress in the chapel of the church, and how proud I was when she walked down the aisle with her father. After the ceremony, I remember watching everyone gather in the front of the church for family pictures, and I remember thinking how lucky the bride and groom were to have such a large, loving family to support them in their marriage.
I remember the slight panic I felt during the cocktail hour, as I stood on the edge of the crowded room and realized that I needed to circulate and greet the guests. I much prefer to stay “behind the scenes” at large social gatherings, working quietly to make sure everything is going well, and I am never comfortable in large crowds.
Later, when we were seated in the ballroom and they introduced the wedding party as they came in, I remember the precious sight of my son (a groomsman) walking in with a bridesmaid on his left arm while holding the hand of the little Junior Bridesmaid on his right. And then my daughter and her new husband came in, and I realized that all the planning, work and money had been worth it, just for that moment alone.
There are lots of other special memories: the toasts, the first dance, seeing my eight-five year old mother dancing to some modern song with my nephew (as one of my friends told me later, “your mother still has the moves!”), and finally, everyone out on the dance floor for the final song, dancing and singing along to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.” (I knew my daughter would work a country song in there somewhere.)
I firmly believe that every bride is beautiful on her wedding day, just as every groom is handsome. I also firmly believe that true beauty comes from within, and what made my daughter and her new husband so pleasing to look at had nothing to do with their physical appearance, and everything to do with the way they kept looking at each other throughout the day. The happiness and the love for each other I saw on their faces made them a very beautiful couple, and that’s a beauty that will, hopefully, stay with them for the rest of their lives ….