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*This is part 1 of the series finale – the wedding! I think there’s only one more post left!
The day of our wedding dawned clear and sunny. We had a 2 p.m. wedding planned – strategically so we wouldn’t have to provide a meal! Ked and I wanted things simple, meaningful, and short. I think I’d had enough of long weddings and didn’t want to torture our guests.
I headed out late morning to get my hair done and then met up with everyone at the church. We figured that everyone had, literally, tricks up their sleeves, and since we especially didn’t trust our three teenage brothers, we’d taken precautions to hide our vehicle in my grandparent’s neighbor’s barn the night before. My grandparents and an aunt and uncle had gifted us with a mini van earlier in the summer. I know, a young married couple with no kids and a mini van is so uncool, but this was God’s van. We were planning on continuing to do gospel magic shows with juggling, ventriloquism, and storytelling and needed a vehicle to haul equipment. The first time we took the backseats out and slid in our largest prop – a trunk on wheels, the 4 wheels slid right into the holes where the seats go. It was as if the van was made to carry that trunk. We got a lot of great miles out of that van.
Of course, I couldn’t make it through the day without spilling something on the dress. I needn’t have worried based on what would happen later, but I digress. Not long before the ceremony, I found myself suddenly terribly hungry. I grabbed a small slice of a sub that my mom had brought in for us, and no sooner had I picked it up when I dripped mustard on the bottom of the gown. I shrieked and my four gem bridesmaids flew into action with paper towels just as my mom walked back in the room. They managed to get it all cleaned off.
Ked’s aunt arrived from northern Michigan with a pair of underwear for him. Ked was in her wedding when he was about five years old, and he showed up sans-underwear for the ceremony and one of his uncles had to run out get him a pair to wear under his little white tux. I think she had been waiting ever since that day to pull this prank on him at his own wedding day.
Slowly, friends and family began to trickle in across state lines. The most nerve wracking arrival was Ked’s Grandma and Grandpa and the wedding cake. Grandma had made an elaborate cake, complete with staircase and fountain and some friends were helping transport it 4 hours south from Michigan. She boxed it up carefully and at every rest stop the couple driving asked her, “Do you want to check on it?” She shook her head and said, “No, there’s nothing I can do about it now if it’s ruined!” They, and the cake, arrived without a scratch and she got to work setting it up. It was beautiful, AND delicious!
We had all of our pictures taken before the ceremony, and a little surprise was waiting for us on the front row. Actually, I think she might have shown up in the baptistry first, if I remember correctly. My childhood church had a traditional baptistry that was elevated above the choir loft, so when you were standing on the platform, you looked up to see the baptistry. I believe while I was in the middle of a photo I heard a voice (most likely my brother since he would have been one of the few who knew how to get up there) and I looked up to see my ventriloquism figure, Violet. I should clarify that there was no water in the baptistry, meaning he was standing up there using it like a puppet stage. I busted up laughing, realizing that some of the weird behavior that had occurred at my house the night before had been an attempt to thief Violet and get her to the church. They brought my “baby” down to me and we posed for some pictures together. Then, she assumed her seat on the front row where she sat all alone and still as could be for the ceremony. Later, people were asking my parents who the little girl was that sat so still on the front row.
Not long before the ceremony was set to begin, Mom came in to check on things and give me a report from elsewhere, and fill me in on my Dad’s surprise. She handed me a 2-inch by 3-inch piece of paper and I stared at it in shock. I looked at her confused and asked, “What in the world…When did he…?”
“I know. It took me by surprise too.”
The night before, Mom came down the short stairway of our tri-level home looking for my Dad. When she rounded the corner into the living room she discovered him sitting at the computer half laughing, half crying with tears streaming down his face. “What is wrong?” she asked him confused. “Are you ok?”
“I don’t know!!” he replied. He wiped his eyes, then he handed her the small piece of paper that I was now holding.
Adorned with a little graphic of a bride and groom at the top, the small sheet of paper read,
“I am the father of the bride.
Over the last twenty years I watched my daughter learn to walk and ride a bicycle.
I bandaged scraped knees and let her cry on my shoulder when she was hurt.
When she turned 16 we spent all morning in the car driving around the county.
It was my responsibility to provide all that she needed.
As I walk her down the aisle today I will turn that job over to someone else.
I am not losing my daughter today, but gaining a new member to my family.
Pray with me that Amelia and Kedron will have a happy and joyous life together.”
He had seen something similar at a wedding earlier that summer, and at the last minute, decided to print up his own version. Tears threatened to spill over and streak mascara down my face.
While I attempted to compose myself Mom said, “He printed off a couple hundred of these and is handing them out to everyone as they come in the door.” My eyes sprung open in surprise and adoration. “He is?” Mom looked at me, “Everyone loves it. He’s having a heyday.”
Not long after Mom left the dressing room, Dad came in for pictures. I smiled up and him and said I knew about his little secret handout. He grinned and his chest puffed out just a bit. “I just got the idea last night and decided to make it up really quick.” He pulled a few out of his tux pocket to show me.
The photographer came in and I stood on my tip toes to give Dad a kiss on the cheek. His bright blue eyes glistened with the threat of tears even as his smile stretched ear to ear. I smiled through the kiss and then asked “How did I get so lucky to have a Dad like you?”
Moments later, we stood in the lobby, ready to make our grand entrance. The wedding march was coming to a close as my last bridesmaid approached the front of the church.
“Wait! Wait!”my Dad said as he rushed into the other nursery which had been converted to the men’s dressing room. I thought maybe he was having second thoughts about giving me away. Instead, he rushed back out with a couple tissues. He dabbed his eyes, and asked the pastor’s wife, “Does my hair look ok?” At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry (he’s bald!).
We were a happy mess walking down the aisle, trying not to giggle and completely meltdown in tears all at once. It was one of the happiest moments of my life as the two men I love most in the world looked eye to eye in silent understanding. I was their jewel. I was their treasure. They would do anything for me.