A week ago today, two dear friends married, and I had the honor of being in their wedding party. We had all gone to college together, and everyone was friends with everyone so it was, in effect, a giant reunion. At least, the kind of reunion you look forward to…unlike most.
The days leading up to the wedding were busy but fun:
Last Thursday myself, the maid of honor, and the other bridesmaids threw the bachelorette party. Laughter, games, and a lot of sangria later we drifted to sleep, looking forward to the next day of hilarity and nonsense.
Last Friday we all got manicures and pedicures. My ticklishness reminded me why these are things I do not do often. The brides mother brought us all Lebanese food (their family is Lebanese after all) and we awkwardly stuffed ourselves as best as we could with wet nails. That evening we had the rehearsal dinner with all the groomsmen and family members, and we stuffed ourselves even more on amazing BBQ like good Texans do. The late evening was spent with even more laughter, games, and sangria only this time, with all the groomsmen, so things were even more absurd.
Late that night, us four bridesmaids piled into the giant, kingsized hotel bed with the bride to pray over her.
About halfway through our praying, the brides father called her, and the following is their conversation:
In a quiet voice, “Hi daddy.”
In an equally quiet voice, “Hi baby…You get married tomorrow.”
Through tears, “I know. I’m excited.”
“Good. Are you going to bed soon?”
“Yea, the girls are praying over me and then we’re gonna sleep.”
“Ok. I love you baby girl.”
“I love you too daddy.”
Then they said their ‘Goodnights’ and hung up.
That was the first moment that I realized that if God blesses me with a marriage, my daddy might not be able to call me the night before my wedding to tell me he loves me.
The next morning, three of us bridesmaids went for coffee. The wedding day had begun and we all needed caffeine.
We all went to a ‘Luncheon with the Bride’ that some of her parents church friends hosted, and then we all started getting ready for the wedding itself.
The hotel suite smelled like hairspray by the time we were done with hair and make-up. We drank Dr. Pepper, listened to big band and oldies music, flirted with the photographer, and took awkwardly bad selfies.
Then it was time for her to put on the dress.
She wanted her father to wait in the next room until it was on and she had had her moment to see herself for the first time, and the following is the conversation when she was ready:
With trepidation, “Alright. Let him in.”
“Tim! You can come in now!”
“I don’t wanna!” But he comes in anyways.
When he sees her, he stops, he smiles, he breathes a small silent laugh, and he wipes a tear from his eye before going to her.
“Baby you look beautiful.” He hugs her close.
“Thank you daddy.”
That was the moment I realized that if God blesses me with a marriage, my daddy might not be able to recognize me in a wedding dress.
We take the bride down to meet her groom for their First Look. It’s a tradition that has gained popularity wherein the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony to alleviate nerves. They take a private moment to commit their lives to one another before they do so in front of their friends and family.
The groomsmen came down too, and we all hid in the back to watch. And we cried. And laughed. And then we all took the wedding photos because no one likes the weddings where the reception takes hours to begin because of the pictures taking too long.
We took funny pictures and beautiful pictures and silly pictures and pictures the couple will hang in their home for years to come and the following is a conversation the photographer and her father had:
From the photographer, “Alright, I need the bride and just her parents.”
Around laughter, “Can we take one where I’m threatening him?”
That was the moment I realized that if God blesses me with a marriage, my daddy might not be able to joke with my husband.
We finished the pictures and went back up to the suite to wait on the cue from the wedding planner.
We put on her veil, ate a quick snack, flirted more with the photographer, and posed in front of the window that overlooked the beautiful city skyline.
The other bridesmaids and I wandered into the other room of the suite while the bride and her father stayed together at the window talking. I didn’t hear that conversation. I didn’t want to.
That was the moment I realized that if God blesses me with a marriage, my daddy and I might not be able to have a quiet conversation before the ceremony.
We got the call. It was time.
We went down to the garden where the ceremony was being held.
The wedding planner lined up all of the bridesmaids with our groomsmen. She gave us our cue. We began to walk.
Now the brides brothers are all over 6′ and I am barely 5’2″ and I was standing on ground level with the seating, right in front of her family. So when it was time for her entrance, they stood, and I couldn’t see a thing. So I looked at the groom.
I do always love to look at the groom though. To see that unabashed joy on his face. When the movie “27 Dresses” came out I was happy to find that I wasn’t the only one who did that.
But when the bride and her father got to the alter, I turned and looked at him.
I saw the joy on his face. And I saw the sadness. The knowledge that he wouldn’t be the most important man in his little girls world anymore. But also the certainty, that he was giving her to someone who loved her just as fiercely as he did.
That was the moment I realized that if God blesses me with a marriage, my daddy might not be well enough to walk me down the aisle and look that way.
The rest of the ceremony was perfect. The dinner was delicious. And then her father stood to give his speech, and while I had become accustomed to the pangs of sadness that had been plaguing me all day, the thought that my daddy might not be able to give a speech at my wedding cut very deeply.
I decided in that moment though, to not throw myself a pity party. This day belonged to two of my favorite people in the world. This day was theirs to celebrate and laugh and remember as the happiest day of their lives. So I grabbed a second…or third…glass of wine. Danced until I was exhausted. Laughed as loudly as possible. Made as many joyous memories as I could. And celebrated the beauty of love, and family, and friendship.
Today is my pity party. Because one day, if God blesses me with a marriage, when the minister asks “Who gives this woman?” My daddy might not be the one who answers.