I remember those small moments leading up to the ceremony. We had moved to a nursery room because the bridal room had grown uncomfortably warm. My bridesmaids and I made small talk, but I was so nervous that I just couldn’t think about anything else! Throughout this whole planning process, including the weeks and days leading up to the wedding, I hadn’t been nervous. It was an absolute no-brainer to marry Andrew. He’s my best friend and I can’t even imagine my life without him – as cheesy as that may be. What was there to be nervous about?
Oh, my. Many things, apparently.
Our day-of-coordinator pulled open the door, letting us know that the ceremony was starting; my brothers were lighting the candles down the aisles and on the stage. We lined up behind the door and I had to refrain from peeking through the curtains. I wanted to see what was going on! This is my wedding!!
I was jittery, but then I thought of my brothers and their silly mustaches in front of everyone we know and I couldn’t help but feel better. As I looked at the groomsmen and my bridesmaids, I couldn’t get over how good we all looked! It’s one thing to see wedding party pictures of other people – but these were my friends, my family—and they looked absolutely perfect. I took another deep breath as the groomsmen began to escort the bridesmaids down the aisle.
My eight-year-old cousin was our flower girl and she whispers that she is nervous. I tell her that she is going to be perfect and she keeps inching closer to the door, ready for her turn. My brothers are pulling the aisle runner down now and my dad starts to chuckle, informing me that they are pulling it crooked. I roll my eyes and try not to giggle. Then they are passing me and out in the foyer. They grin at me and then walk back to their seats.
And then I hear my song: “To Make You Feel My Love” by Adele; my aunt is playing the acoustic version on the piano and it is dramatic and beautiful and perfect. I grip my dad’s arm, take a deep breath, and step out with my father. I am suddenly so overwhelmed by the sea of family and friends that I see before me. I can’t stop the tears that instantly prick my eyes or the enormous smile that crosses my face.
I hear a hissed “slow down!” behind me, our coordinator informing my dad and I that we are walking too fast. I was just too excited to rush out there! It’s my turn, guys! I cannot believe all of the people that are there, for me and Andrew. I’m not crying, I remember distinctly focusing on not crying, but my eyes are moist because I cannot believe the amount of love we are surrounded by.
And then I remember to look at Andrew. I was so distracted that I forgot to look at my own groom! At this point, he is walking down the stage and I see him take a deep breath and wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. I melt. I had no idea how he would react seeing me walk down the aisle, but I wanted to make him cry (I promise I’m not a sadist) and it made me want to cry knowing that I made him cry!
But I just can’t stop smiling as my dad gives me away and then awkwardly hands me over to Andrew. I give my father a quick kiss on the cheek and then my hand slides into Andrew’s, like it has so effortlessly in the past. He squeezes it as our pastor says a prayer.
Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me. Ruth 1:16-17
A good friend of mine reads the verses from Ruth as Andrew helps me up the stairs to the stage… except I’m stepping on my own dress and get stuck! I just giggled at myself as we somehow managed to get up there without falling and ripping my dress!
The rest of the ceremony is honestly just a blur and I only remember moments. I remember the tears filling in Andrew’s eyes as he said his vows. He slipped my wedding band onto my finger. I remember thinking as I said my vows that some of the words sounded so strange–does my voice sound weird? And then without thinking I’m slipping Andrew’s ring onto his finger — but on the wrong hand! I laugh and try to just flip to his other hand without everyone noticing, and our pastor says, “Eh, whichever hand works!” Everyone laughed and I put the ring on the right hand this time.
We light our unity candle and wax drips all over my hands but it doesn’t burn. A close friend sings “God Gave Me You,” by Dave Barnes, as we give our mothers their roses and hug family. At some point I lose my veil – I remember thinking, hmm, that’s not supposed to be on the floor, haha, so I just pick it up and throw it on the pew. I wasn’t going to try to put it back in my hair by myself! My mom mentioned later that she didn’t even notice that it fell, so I felt pretty smooth.
And then, Andrew is dipping me and kissing me and everyone is cheering and I am so full and so happy that nothing could ever compare to that moment, that moment being surrounded by so much love and joy that I am just overflowing.