Last summer, Woody and I attended the first wedding since our own, and it’s embarrassing to admit, but I was a little uneasy heading into the whole experience.
Yes, I was one of those girls who loved dreaming of her wedding, planning her wedding and being a bride. While every moment of the bridal journey wasn’t easy (more on that difficult discovery in future posts), the experience was a long awaited treat for me and our wedding day was as much of a dream come true as that saying is cliché.
So as it came time to attend this wedding, I didn’t know what to expect. I was undoubtedly happy for my friend and so delighted for her to get married, that was a settled matter. But left unsettled was how I might feel in the church, at the sound of the organ, hearing the “I Do’s” and among the fanciful elements of the reception.
I couldn’t help but wonder, what will it be like to not be the one in white?
Before I was married, I generally knew what to expect at all these moments- I would be excited, celebratory, hopeful for the future and busy making mental notes of what I might want to do on my big day. But now that I had been a bride I looked at it all differently- the planning, the wedding day, and the marriage. My viewpoint of everything was changed and I wondered how I might feel. You see, through all my wedding experiences to date I knew wholeheartedly that my favorite role to play at a wedding was the bride! With my own wedding being the most recent one I’d attended, I couldn’t help but wonder, what will it be like to not be the one in white?
What I discovered changed my perspective on weddings forever, for the better, which is quite a feat for a self-proclaimed wedding enthusiast! I realized that all my worry had been in vain because I was the bride. To the most important person in that room, I was and always would be the only bride. While it was true that I wasn’t the one in the stunning white dress, my name wasn’t on the program, and I didn’t know half of the people in the room, to one man there was only one bride that day, and it was me.
During the vows, I squeezed the same hand I held on my wedding day, at the exchange of rings, my fingers gently traced the rim of that same strong gold band, on the dance floor I stared longingly into the eyes of my groom as if we were the only ones in the room, and at the end of the night I rode into the evening with the love of my life.
Attending a wedding as a married person was a more beautiful experience than I could’ve expected. I anticipated being underwhelmed by all weddings from this point forward for the simple fact that they were’nt my own—they weren’t my favorite. But, instead I felt more connected and engaged in every part—I understood the power and sanctity of what was happening more deeply, I prayed for the couple differently, and I felt blessed and proud to be beside my forever groom.
To see the couple full of love and making big promises to each other as they took the first steps as husband and wife was refreshing and renewing—even for me, a newlywed myself. It was a sweet reminder that while the dresses, flowers, churches, ballrooms, candles, invitations, cakes, music, colors, favors and every whimsical wedding element you can imagine are delightful and hold a certain place of importance, they are merely a backdrop to why the wedding is even happening: love.
They only matter because love matters. Love matters. This wedding brought me back to the comforting truth that the most important thing at every wedding I’ll ever attend, including my own, is not who is wearing white, but who is holding my hand. It reminded me that our wedding day was only the first of many celebrations we would share as husband and wife. And, it refocused me on the gift of marriage and on my gratitude for getting to experience it.