Weddings. Most girls start dreaming of their prince charming and fairy-tail wedding long before they have had their first boyfriend. We are primed young by movies like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beastto imagine how our love story will unfold and how beautiful our wedding day will be.
Step into real life and we soon realize weddings are not the be all and end all (especially if you’ve been through one). Appointments, phone calls, plans, shopping, taste testing – so much thought goes into planning just one day, albeit a very important and special day, though, nonetheless, just one day.
As I experienced, there no guarantee the wedding day is even going to turn our as planned. I made an “Order of Events” sign – a Pintrest inspiration – with the ceremony start-time at 3:00 p.m., and departure-time at 10:30 p.m. Our wedding was far from what the board showed. It was backwards.
Heavy rain delayed our outdoor ceremony. Although our back-up plan was to move the ceremony to our reception tent if it rained, we decided to wait out the rain. Having our wedding ceremony outdoors in creation, overlooking a lake, represented part of who my husband and I are – lovers of creation and the Majestic Creator God. The rain, nevertheless, persisted, so we waited and waited and waited. We waited 1.5 hours before deciding to have dinner before the ceremony, as brilliantly suggested by our 91-year-old guest, the oldest and wisest. The ceremony was conducted afterward with the warm evening light radiating on our faces in the absence of rain – whoohoo! We later returned to the reception tent and carried on with the rest of our program – speeches, dance, and open mic.
I’d love to say that I kept a bright smile and optimistic attitude waiting out the rain. I didn’t. The first hour, talking with my sister, mom, and Grandma in the car kept me distracted. Then, I just needed to be by myself and pray. I went outside to a secluded area in the trees, in my rain coat, holding an umbrella. I cried and just let the tears flow. I totally did a few farmer’s blows, not wanting to mess with my make-up too much. Then, I started doing what I’ve done in the past to get through the other challenges, namely my environmental sensitives – I redirected my mind to think better than how I felt.
I started declaring the truth. The rain wasn’t horrible; great marriages are not dependent on fairy-tail weddings; I had 101 family member and friends who were waiting to celebrate with Les and me, rain or shine; the rain was a first-world problem; I had the man of my dreams waiting to make a life-time commitment to me. It was such a hard time of the day. I challenged every negative thought that was running through my brain during that time.
If pouring rain had to happen at a bride and groom’s outdoor wedding, this was the wedding for it to occur. Les is the most adaptable person in my world who looks at the bright side of just about trial. He’s had cancer, had his stomach removed, had an injury during Olympic cross-country ski trials (decades ago!), and had open-heart surgery. Me, on the other hand, being a type-A person, had much to learn about accepting outcomes that are beyond my control. What better and more impacting time to learn this difficult lesson than on my wedding day (wink, wink)! Having prayer and brain retraining tools gave me a way to handle the emotions I felt, so I could put the rain into perseptive.
The most treasured moment of the wedding was one when Les and I were completely alone, an ironically difficult thing to pull off during a wedding. The photographer, my family, and all the guests were at the reception tent, waiting for us to march into the tent with the bagpiper before having dinner. Les and I were alone in wilderness; the rain had stopped at this time. I told him about the war I fought in my mind for the past 30 minutes and how I came out victorious and stronger, mentally, than before. That was the strongest moment that we’ve shared since the wedding. It was an anchoring time that’s given our two-month-old marriage much strength.
My wedding didn’t go as planned; it wasn’t everything I hoped it would be; I didn’t have perfectly clear skin. After two months of processing thoughts and emotions from the wedding and regaining clear skin (stress is a strong trigger), I can honestly say the wedding day was better than I had planned. My backwards wedding was a teaching tool and opportunity to, yet again, rewire my brain and strengthen my resolve to love my husband through good times and challenges.
Reinhold Neibuhr’s Serenity Prayer is close to my heart: “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Enjoy the gallery in order of the actual order of wedding events – getting ready, first look, dinner, ceremony, and the reception. If any soon-to-be bride is interested in my dress, email me using the contact page. I’d love for it to make your special day extra special.