The Moments Before Happily Ever After.

I stood in the dreary lobby, sweating in my poofy white dress. As I stared at my Maid of Honor’s retreating back, panicked thoughts darted through my brain.

“How much am I sweating? What if I pit out? Will it show in the pictures?”

“What if I trip? Will the photographer feel the need to document the moment? Can I kick her if she does?”

“Oh my God, I’m getting married. I’m getting married, I’m getting married, I’m getting fricking married!”

As the music swelled, my dad turned to me and smiled. “Here we go,” he said. “Are you ready?”

Suddenly, all the moisture disappeared from my mouth. I tasted dust. Swallowing hard, I nodded.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

He took my arm and guided me through the door.

I hesitated, uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the 100 pairs of eyes staring at me. My dad squeezed my hand reassuringly and I took my first step down the aisle.

Forgetting what the wedding planner had said about taking measured strides, I bolted for the altar. Only my dad’s gently restraining arm kept me from running.

Suddenly we were there. As I gazed up into Brian’s calmly radiant face, the outside world faded away. This man, my heart sang. This man is going to be yours forever. My hand found his and together we stepped up to the altar.

For what seemed like forever, the minister droned on. I tried to pay attention, to commit every second of the ceremony to memory, but I kept getting distracted. I heard the rustling of my bridesmaids’ skirts. I saw dust swirling joyfully in the ray of sun that lit up the altar. I smelled crushed flowers and heavy incense and waxy smoke.

Then my cousins began to sing, their voices winging my fondest wishes for our marriage straight up to the heavens.

“Share each day with me, each night, each morning
Say you feel the way I do
That’s all I ask of you
Anywhere you go, let me go too
Love me, that’s all I ask of you…”

“Amen,” I whispered, smiling at my soon-to-be husband.

Before I knew it, Brian was sliding the wedding band we had chosen on my finger.

Then the minister’s voice swirled out of the ether. “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love him, comfort him, honor him and keep him for as long as you both shalt live?”

A lump formed in my throat as tears threatened to spill. I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t breathe.

The silence stretched interminably as I tried to find enough air to get the words out. Brian began to look panicked. The audience stirred restlessly.

Finally I managed to swallow.

“I do!”

The entire church heaved a relieved sigh.

“Then by the powers vested in me…I pronounce you man and wife!”

Wife! I was Brian’s wife! Joy zinged through my body and I grinned as he leaned down to kiss me.

“I thought you were having second thoughts for a minute there,” he whispered, lips inches from mine.

“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life,” I said and kissed him for all I was worth.

This was written for the Red Dress Club’s Memoir Writing Tuesday. The prompt asked us to imagine what five minutes of our lives we’d want our children to experience after we’re gone. This is more than five minutes…but I want her to know she came from a place of love.

26 Comments on The Moments Before Happily Ever After.

  1. Erin
    February 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh. My. God.

    That was soo incredibly, amazingly beautiful – you are so talented that I can’t even stand it.

    I literally have goose bumps and tears in my eyes.

    A GORGEOUS memior, a series of moments that your little girl will read and be ever so enchanted!!!

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:54 am (5 years ago)

      You are too sweet. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Rebecca
    February 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm (5 years ago)

    How happy! Love that yours is such a warm happy memory!

    I had a Cheshire cat smile the entire ceremony. I’m sure it was comical….and I was *this close* to laughing and if I had started laughing, I’d still be laughing. I get that way when I’m a little nervous.

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:54 am (5 years ago)

      Oh I do the same thing. That nervous giggle has killed me a coupla times in presentations.

      Reply
  3. Jen
    February 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh, I just loved this post. Loved it. :)

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:53 am (5 years ago)

      *blush* Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Angie @ On the rocks and straight up
    February 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh, this was great. I remember my own pre-aisle-walk nerves, and can totally identify with wanting to bolt towards the altar. You made this so real, I was part of the congregation waiting for you to unglue your mouth and answer! Poor Brian! But what a wonderful piece.

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:53 am (5 years ago)

      Yep, Brian still brings that moment up from time to time. It’s one of those things that will live in perpetuity…Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Christina
    February 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Just so beautifully captured. Thanks for bringing it alive for us readers!

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:52 am (5 years ago)

      And thank you for being one of my lovely bridesmaids. (((hug)))

      Reply
  6. Nichole
    February 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm (5 years ago)

    There is so much that I love about this post.

    But, what I love the most is the honesty in this bit, “I tried to pay attention, to commit every second of the ceremony to memory, but I kept getting distracted. I heard the rustling of my bridesmaids’ skirts. I saw dust swirling joyfully in the ray of sun that lit up the altar. I smelled crushed flowers and heavy incense and waxy smoke.”
    That beautiful honesty does not, in any way, negate the love that you felt in those moments or your hopes for the future.
    But it’s real and it’s honest and it’s relatable.

    So lovely.
    The entire post….so lovely.

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 16, 2011 at 8:52 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your lovely words! At the time, I thought a relative was capturing it all on video so we could watch it later, but alas, the tape disappeared. But that’s okay. The sermon wasn’t the important part anyway!

      Reply
  7. Amanda C
    February 16, 2011 at 9:19 am (5 years ago)

    Such a beautiful memory of the first day of the rest of your life together! You have such an amazing talent with words, Amber. You’re really inspiring me to be a better writer, myself! :)

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm (5 years ago)

      You are a great writer! But thank you…I appreciate it.

      Reply
  8. AmyBlam
    February 16, 2011 at 11:03 am (5 years ago)

    What a beautifully told memory! You should post a pic of you guys on your wedding day!

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

      I was going to, but I forgot to scan it in. Boo.

      Reply
  9. Amanda aka Mommylebron
    February 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow.
    I felt like I was right there peering over your shoulder!
    That line: “Then the minister’s voice swirled out of the ether.” was a perfect description of the feeling you get when your with your love and the rest of the world falls away.

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  10. Nancy C
    February 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm (5 years ago)

    That entire experience is so surreal…after all the planning…there you are! And yes, I remember those details too….the dust, the coughing, the way my ring didn’t fit right away.

    Your attention to detail makes this real, and it’s telling that all those details go away when you’re facing the man you love.

    Reply
    • Amber
      February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! It seems like a lifetime ago now…

      Reply
  11. julia
    February 19, 2011 at 8:33 am (5 years ago)

    well written!! great job with the details… so vivid and wonderfully happy!!

    Reply
  12. Allison @ Alli n Son
    February 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm (5 years ago)

    That is a pretty magical moment. The way you described how the world fell away at the altar, that was so me on my wedding day too.

    Reply
  13. Lady Jennie
    February 21, 2011 at 2:12 am (5 years ago)

    Oh, it’s just wonderful!

    Reply
  14. Linda Mikula
    February 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm (5 years ago)

    The way you string words together never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for bringing the ceremony back to life for me. As one of the friends watching you and Brian “start” your life together, I really enjoyed taking a walk back down memory lane with you. Hugs my friend!

    Reply
    • Amber
      March 1, 2011 at 8:46 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks babe!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *