Weddings have a life of their own, as I often tell couples. Some weddings are so full of life that they reject the plans you have for them, and become something altogether different. I don’t even think that’s a bad thing, but it is something to have in the back of your mind. I adore Mark and Kristi, and San Francisco, but I think it would be a disservice to try an explain the day any better than the bride already has below. Midnight nachos, 3-hour delays, and one of the sweetest ceremonies I have ever had the pleasure to see. Enjoy.
Words of Advice from the Bride:
When I woke at the crack of dawn on my wedding day, I was full of a million excited thoughts, emotions, and expectations of what the best day of my life would be like. Every single day that had passed since the love of my life had proposed and made me the happiest person alive, I was busily making sure that I would do everything in my power to arrange for the most special wedding day in the world for us, despite the fact that this all had to be done from across the world (we live in London but were married in my home town in the San Francisco Bay Area).
That September morning, I had butterflies not fluttering in my tummy, but rather thrashing around, which I attributed to the ones that all brides are rumoured to experience. Despite having a vicious cold during the week leading up to the Big Day, I never in a million years even considered it a possibility that I would have had the flu on our big day.
Just as I was being laced into my wedding dress that my parents had given me, I realized that fainting …or even worse… while walking down the aisle was a real possibility. With minutes to spare before the ceremony start time, I found myself sitting on the first chair in sight, being fanned by my mom, bridesmaids, and our dear family friends and having my photographer, Jay, bringing me ice, water, and food. Next was the trip to the walk-in refrigerator in the kitchen where I saw the beautiful flowers for the first time and cried tears of happiness while all at the same time feeling distraught at the unfortunate turn of events. My handsome groom, Mark, who should have been about to see me for the first time in my dress as I walked down the aisle towards him, was understandably confused and worried about what was going on. It was not until hours later, when one of our guests, a good friend from college who also happens to be a doctor, came to my rescue and managed to get me to a state where I could at least pull myself together to walk down the aisle.
Nothing went as planned. Mark and I exchanged our vows sitting in chairs since he was worried that I might not be well enough to stand, our cocktail hour turned out to be cocktail hours and took place prior to the ceremony, we had our dinner and speeches in the dark at the tables set up in the beautiful gardens, our first dance took place not at the beginning, but just about the middle of the dance party, and I did not have a single nibble of food or sip of bubbly at my wedding besides the small bite of cake at the cake-cutting. But really, and I cannot stress this enough, it could not have been more perfect.
The moment when I walked down the aisle on the arm of my proud and loving dad and saw the beaming, supportive faces of everyone in attendance, I felt like I was in heaven. They made it feel so honest, real, and wonderful. And then there was seeing Mark’s face. I have never felt more in love, more loved or, yes, even given the circumstances, more beautiful in my life. After fretting for so long about my hair, my makeup, making sure that I wouldn’t trip… I suddenly did not care about any of that. All that mattered in the world was the love between Mark and having our family and friends share in the moment with us. Memories which we can show our children as I explain to them the story of that day, which we can share with our loved ones who were unable to be there, and to share with each other throughout our lives, which, in fact, I’m looking at framed on the mantelpiece in our flat in London. The photos that Jay took of us immediately after the ceremony as we looked into each other’s’ eyes with happy, relieved, and loving tears were not staged or planned. The joy on all of our family and guests’ faces, all of the little touches that went into our day, Jay went above and beyond the role of wedding photographer and became a part of our entire wedding day.
Now, if a future bride were to ask me for advice, this is what I would say:
No matter what happens, no matter what big or little hiccups come up during your wedding… at the end of the day no one, and especially you, will be focused on any of it. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all, but all that matters is that moment that you will have with your husband, marking the first day of your marriage. The love that you see in your family members’ eyes and the joyful support from all of your guests as they watch you exchange your vows. A wedding is, in my opinion, one of the most special events that a person can be a part of. It is an honor to be attending one and it is an honor for the love between yourself and your partner to be celebrated by one. It is an event that focuses solely on love, family, support, togetherness, and new beginnings. And for what it’s worth, that is something that a photograph, particularly a good one, can capture.