What images do you conjure up when I say the word wedding?
Maybe it’s the grand royal production we witnessed with Prince William and Kate Middleton. Or a nice church wedding with the bride in a flowing white gown, the bridesmaids in stylish matching dresses, and the guys in tuxedos. Or an outdoor ceremony under a pretty arbor overlooking the shore.
Those are the kinds of fairy tale images I see in my mind’s eye when I think wedding.
What I would never think of is a casual ceremony under a big oak tree at a hunting retreat where the only place for the bride to get dressed and for people to use the restroom is a broken down old house with questionable plumbing.
But that’s where my granddaughter got married at the beginning of August … at 2:00 pm. 94 degrees in the shade.
Where was it exactly? Good question. Somewhere just beyond the middle of nowhere, about 30 miles from civilization, down several miles of dirt road in central South Carolina with lots of cows in the fields immediately surrounding the place.
GPS couldn’t find it.
It was like something out of Green Acres.
But that’s where she wanted to get married.
It was a place where she’d gone many times with her father, my stepson, who passed away three years ago at the age of 46. For whatever reason, when she was 14, he made her promise that when she got married, it would be in that spot under the oak. And so she did, with people sitting on folding chairs and bales of hay … and a boom box supplying the processional music.
Now, here’s the truth. I can be a bit of a snob sometimes, and I had a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the plans, especially when I found out the “reception” would feature Little Caesar’s pizza and a sheet cake from the grocery store.
But we all gathered around picnic tables and had a good time.
And here’s the thing. Here’s the only thing that matters about this story.
My granddaughter is a wonderful girl … a delightful person … happy, loving, caring.
And she was soooo happy.
She had the biggest, most irrepressible smile on her face. It just made you cry straightaway.
I hope you can see it in the picture. That’s her brother with her.
The groom is a sweet kid and they’ve made themselves a beautiful match … for life. You can just feel it. You just know it.
To her, everything was perfect. And she thanked everyone so sincerely for coming and making their day so special.
Her mother was there. I know that would seem like a given. But not much has been a given in this young girl’s life.
Her mother’s had to deal with breast cancer. She’s doing well, but she’s weak, and the expense of treatment along with not working have put a serious dent in her finances.
She might not have been able to put on a lavish wedding and a fancy reception, but she was there with her baby and for her baby, and she helped make it “a perfect day.”
That’s how Savannah described her wedding day. A perfect day.
It makes me cry just thinking about it, because this girl understood what so many don’t. It isn’t about the elegant surroundings or the fancy reception with the multi-tiered wedding cake or the horse drawn carriage. It’s about being surrounded by the people you love and who love you.
It was about honoring her father’s memory.
No bridezilla drama. No worrying about everything coming off without a hitch. Just a lot of love and happiness. A true celebration.
I really got something about weddings and about life that day.
Your surroundings and your circumstances don’t really matter when who you’re being is pure and lovely … when you’re full of fresh dreams … and you’re graced with a big, warm, generous heart that’s overflowing.
It was the perfect wedding.
It was a perfect day.
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