The Wedding is Over, Now What?
It was beautiful, but it wasn’t perfect. As I shared the post-wedding download chat over the phone with my dear friend we both concluded that life is “tainted.” Even in the moments of our greatest joy, something icky tries to steal it away.
My dad is 87 and I love him. We long ago determined that we were going to move heaven and earth to ensure that the only living grandparent made it to the wedding. This involved him doing physical therapy for months leading up to the event so that he would be strong enough to attend, buying him the Cadillac of walkers to get around (only to end up renting a wheelchair), flying he and his caregiver/escort up from Arkansas and finding them an “accessible” cabin … everything inched along on track until day 2 at our house when he started sneezing. “It’s just allergies,” he assured us. Our bride and groom cringed, we rolled the windows down in the car to air out his germs. Too late, this mother-of-the-bride caught his spewing nose inferno and I was the only blessed recipient of this gift come wedding day. Enter bottles of DayQuil, NyQuil, Airborne, Nettle drops in water, Zycam, Covid tests just to be sure (they were negative) — anything to get through the four day extravaganza of parties and people with a smile and some level of enjoyment.
It all happened. As we boarded the trolley bound for the reception I took my last large shot of DayQuil. French 75 cocktails, best-man and maid-of-honor toasts floated by in a fog. The evening I imagined dancing the night away turned into me stifling and submitting to coughing fits in the downstairs locker room, trying not to contaminate everyone else. Sadly, my repeating thought was, “Can I go home now?” Thank you to my sweet friends who took me home so I didn’t have to wait for the return trolley trip! Thank you to my beloved college roommate who grabbed me and my wheelchair bound father and helped get us on the dance floor, EARLY in the evening! Thank you to all our friends and bridal party who did have a blast and danced until they dropped!
Now it’s over. The bride and groom returned from their honeymoon and drove their presents and their Persian cat (Smushie) back to St. Louis. The bridal bouquet is drying in the closet, the wedding dress back in dry-cleaner plastic. The question remains, “Was it worth it? Was my dad’s participation worth the cost of my health and enjoyment of the biggest day in our daughter’s life?” I honestly don’t know. We are called to honor our mother and father, but at what cost? We live by our choices in this life and hope for the best.
As I unpacked a zip-lock bag of leftover lace from the seamstress who remade my wedding dress into Jessie’s wedding dress, I thought of her reassuring words to our daughter, “If it doesn’t work out, you can always turn it into a christening gown for your first baby.” Well, it didn’t quite “work out” for me, but our daughter and her adorable groom said it was “the best day of their entire lives” and that was certainly the goal.
Life is a sacrament infused with the power of God. As long as we are breathing, there is another moment in life to celebrate. As long as the sun rises and sets, a jewel to behold.
For my friends who want the truly breathtaking photographer’s take on Jessie and Michael’s wedding, here’s the highlight reel with music. If you need a photographer for your family wedding you’ll see by this reel that there is no one like Paper Antler, www.paperantler.com Thank you to our dear friends Jonny and Michelle for seeing J + M’s wedding in a way that none of us and most especially me, could possibly have seen that day. Your photos are a huge gift to all of us. We love you and we hope everyone we know uses Paper Antler for their family wedding!
And… I’ve already moved on to thinking about that baby gown, wink-wink.