One year ago I woke up a bundle of nerves and feeling as if the day ahead was just a dream. I could feel my toes and wiggle my fingers, but I honestly was afraid to pinch myself in that I would wake up and it not be October 8th, 2011.
The early morning drive was absolutely gorgeous, and the world seems so calm and peaceful on an early Saturday morning. There was not a cloud in the sky as the sun began to make its rise in the East and create sunbeams that reflected off the crimson reds, bright oranges, and deep purples covering the trees.
I walked into the Country Club and felt my stomach perform a slight flip. I had picked this location not only for the beautiful venue, but also for the ability to spend my whole day in one place. There was an amazing dressing room available for us to eat lunch, relax and get ready. The truth is that I was obviously looking forward to what was to come later, but I was also excited to spend the early parts of the day with some of my best girlfriends.
On the agenda upon arrival was popping the champagne and sipping mimosas to celebrate.
To come would be plenty of laughing, talking and soaking in my last hours as a ‘single girl.’
I was blessed to not only get to relax with my girls, but also enjoy time with my other best friend, my mom. She has always been there for me my whole life, as well as through every step of the prior 11 months of planning. It was only fitting that she would be there this day as well.
When the veil went on my head, I was hit with a heavy load of emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes as I finally felt like a true bride.
It suddenly became clear to me that this day was real and by roughly 5 pm, I would be a wife to the man I love.
After the veil went on, my bridal bouquet was delivered complete with purple pins and tiny pictures of both sets of my grandparents, all who were looking down from Heaven on this day. I then put on my dress, the dress, as my emotions continued to grow stronger and stronger.
As the final button was completed, I stepped back, took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. I may not have been a statuesque supermodel, but I can honestly say that I truly felt more beautiful than I ever had in my entire life. I felt butterflies and nerves, but I also felt calm and excited. I couldn’t wait for my groom to see me and prayed that he would look at me the same way I looked at myself in that moment.
Around 3:30 pm, the girls headed out to take pictures. After hours of relaxing and feeling as if we had all of the time in the world to get ready, the day was suddenly starting to pick up and get moving. We smiled and laughed during photos, which helped to calm my nerves for a bit.
We then headed back to the dressing room to wait until it was time to make our appearance again, the next time in front of a crowd.
It took so much effort to not break down in tears when I saw my dad. We have a special relationship, I have always been a ‘daddy’s girl.’ Knowing that he was proud to walk me down the aisle, and hearing him tell me I was beautiful made that lump in my throat from earlier reappear. I had a feeling this would happen many times during the day, but I tried to be strong and choke back the happy tears. I gave him a hug and a kiss and soaked in the moment. It was now time to walk down the aisle and see my fiancé waiting for me.
As ‘God Blessed the Broken Road’ began to play by the string trio, my bridesmaids made their way across the walk and through the grass.
Before I knew it, ‘Here Comes the Bride’ echoed through the trees and it was my turn to follow the girls’ lead.
When I came around that corner, I looked across all the faces of the people I love, but none stood out like the man who was looking back at me with tears in his eyes.
Our love is not perfect, no relationship is, but in that moment everything felt right and made sense. When I was little, I used to pray for the man I would someday marry. I wanted him to make me laugh and smile, tell me he loves me everyday, and put me on a pedestal in that I was his princess. The man standing on that platform next to our officiate embodied those dreams I had for my future husband. I felt like I wasn’t walking, but simply floating as I came to a stop at the end of the aisle and took his hand.
I listened intently the next twenty minutes as I said my vows, he said his, and we promised ourselves to one another. When it was time to kiss the bride, I felt such a happiness gushing from my heart throughout my body that is so difficult to put in words.
I was now a wife and I had never felt so at peace with my life as I did in that moment. Surrounded by our family and friends, I could also feel God’s presence. I knew my new role and I couldn’t wait to begin our lives together.
One year later, I can still close my eyes and picture that day like it was yesterday. My heart even begins to race and a smile forms on my lips when I think about my husband’s face the moment he first saw me. I may nag about household chores one too many times a week, and he may golf more than I would like, but at the end of the day none of that really matters. He still holds my hand in public and opens the door for me. He believes in me and encourages me in every venture I begin. He kisses me goodnight every night, helps me clean so I don’t feel overwhelmed, and tells me I am gorgeous even on days when I don’t believe him. He is my best friend and I truly can’t wait to spend the next 50+ years together. I thought it was next-to-impossible to find your soul mate when you are 15, but over 8 years later he still makes my heart flutter every time he looks at me.