On your wedding day, everything is a blur of excitement; first the hair, then the photos, then the makeup, then the photos, then the dress, and more photos, and, before you know it, you're standing at those double doors at the top of the aisle, waiting for them to be opened, waiting to take your first steps toward perhaps the most life-altering promise you will ever make and the man you will make this promise to before God.
The reality is, even as you stand motionless for the most agonizingly slow five seconds of your life, you have no idea how quickly everything moving around you. You have not yet recognized that the second you begin your slow, steady walk down that aisle on the arm of your father, the day will once again pick up its pace, and you'll find yourself swept away in it.
I could have charged down the aisle when I saw my now-husband's face, equal parts joy and wonder. I've never felt so beautiful in my life, and perhaps I never will (after all, isn't that part of the beauty of a wedding?). The ceremony was beautiful, and our pastor (whom I've known and loved from the tender age of ten) gave the most lovely, compelling message of the fortitude and promise of individual self and marriage in the face of the world's brokenness.
Just like that, our ceremony was over, and we were married. The truth is, you don't feel married yet, that comes later. All you feel is immense joy, the part of your heart that recognizes it's lifelong mate sparks this immeasurable sensation and carries you through the day.
The reception was as beautiful as I'd pictured thousands of times, and the music, provided by one of my best friends and his wife, was absolutely perfect. Our photographer captured gorgeous photos of every step of the day, and every detail was in its proper place.
But the thing is, at the end of the day, it's not the signature cocktail, or the hand chosen hors devours, or even the unfortunate mixups that stick with you. Up to this point, I've given you my idyllic sense of the day: my rose-colored glasses, if you will. But, if an outsider were to see my veil fall out mid-walk-down-the-aisle, or notice the candle that refused to stay lit during the ceremony, or perhaps be one of the few to not receive the meal they ordered at the reception, the day might look very different.
To me, it was perfect (maybe largely because my mother, for whom I will always be incredibly thankful, shielded me from several of the larger snafus on the day) because of the giddy moments Tomas and I shared, the quiet, teary exchange with mom when she helped me clasp her pearls (an anniversary present from my dad) around my neck, and the joy in my heart sharing a dance with my closest girlfriends, some I've known for years, and others I've known for months, and with my dear little family.
Perhaps it's time to remind brides of a very important distinction: the wedding day's success hinges on your focus. If you spend all day stressing about your schedule or the details, you're sure to be disappointed. But if you can appreciate the people present to celebrate the joining of your life to the person who will undoubtedly stand beside you through the rest of your lives, the joy is the easiest you'll ever find.