At once, the time was nigh. Everyone glided into place. The beautiful Bride sprayed her hair once more, then did some goofy stuff while I took pictures, just biding time while everyone else arrived at their appointed places.
Mom stops me from going to take my seat. “Janie, will you please make sure the train of her dress is just right as her Daddy walks her down the aisle?”
I am honored – not only to hold the train of her dress, but to know this family. How long have I known this young lady – since before she was two or three? I can’t remember not ever knowing she and her sister. These girls captured my heart from the first time I ever saw them. I’ve watched them grow and mature into beautiful young ladies. I’m aging myself here, but you get it - we’ve walked beside this family, and enjoyed their friendship, for many years.
The wedding march begins. The Bride, beaming up at her Daddy, takes his arm and floats out of the room. The train of her dress is straight and flowing freely. She proudly, beautifully, walks up to her Groom, himself a man of excellence. He awaits her, elegant in his military uniform, smiling at his Bride. The wedding is performed. As the pastor prays over the couple, the Bride and Groom face each other, and their foreheads touch throughout the prayer. The kiss is one of those extended ones, inspiring subsequent whooping and laughter.
MLH nudges me, and I slip out of my seat, readying myself to take some more candid shots during the couple’s walk down the aisle. The Bride and Groom walk past me as I snap some shots. I remained focused on the walkway, and through my zoom lens, I see the Flower Girl as she’s coming down the aisle behind the Bride and Groom. She is openly sobbing. This little one runs straight into my arms, and I’m having to encourage her to breathe, to calm down, that it’s all right – by now, tears streaming down my face, as well. I’m a little taken aback - and then I get it. The Bride and Groom will soon be stationed outside the U.S., come March. At some point during the wedding, Flower Girl added up the sum of the parts, and everything has come to light. Moments pass, and the Bride realizes what’s going on. Quickly, little Flower Girl is enveloped in the arms of the Bride and calmed down.
The Flower Girl’s dad had grilled steaks and chicken, and a most excellent supper was served. After pictures, the Bride danced the first dance with her Groom. Then, the Bride danced with her Dad. Both father and daughter cried. Beautiful. The Groom danced with his mom. And then, the band really rang out, and a wedding party ensued. The parents danced. Couples danced. Little kids danced. The garter and bouquet were thrown and caught.
As we are readying to leave, the Bride and Groom see us, and grab MLH and I. We are ushered back into the bridal ready room, and the door is shut behind us. The Bride looks at us, as only she can, and asks us to pray over them. We were humbly honored. We pray for them, speak blessings over them, hug them, and walk out to the parking lot.
It was a beautiful night for a wedding.