It didn’t really hit me until the drive to the wedding venue, The Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park.
I mean, yeah, we had an excellent photography team, Vaeth Photography, following our every move in the morning. In our house, out the back door, in the backyard, just about everywhere. But it was no big deal, because they were so personable, so comfortable to talk to, that it was just like having friends over. Friends with cameras and light meters, that is.
The bride, along with her bridesmaids, were all getting “beautified” around the house, having makeup professionally applied at the kitchen table, and tugging and pulling on their dresses in front of whatever mirrors were to be found. Hair was being styled very early in the morning.
And yet, there was a quiet calm and comfort, a legitimate happiness and joy among everyone that this was truly going to be a great day.
I quietly yet regularly watched the local weather radar, because the “all clear” forecast from the night before had miraculously turned into a dark, cloudy sky with showers all around us, not the ideal setting for this outdoor event. I hid my concern, because frankly, there’s nothing that anyone can do about it, and also, the venue did have an indoor facility to use in these types of emergencies.
“Don’t worry” I said to my daughter. “The little bit of rain will make the flowers pop at your wedding. They’ll look awesome”, I assured her.
But then, while driving to the venue, which happened to be located in a park that we had all been to before, it happened. At a particular red light I glanced over to see my daughter, the beautiful bride, sitting nervously in the passenger seat staring straight ahead. She had the look of my little baby girl from years before, yet she was sitting there in full wedding regalia, ready to embark on the biggest day in her life. That precise moment is when it hit me, that in fact, today would be the day that I would have to trust someone else with the safety and security of my daughter, my little girl.
Once we arrived at the wedding location, the setting took on a surreal atmosphere. Guests mulling around, talking, laughing and just catching up as some hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. The bride was whisked away from the car, with the car’s sunshades being used to conceal her from the guests as well as the groom and his groomsmen.
Once in the safe place, and after a few last-minute words from the officiant…
The ceremony could begin. The weather turned beautiful, as if it was scripted, and the violinists were ready to perform their magic.
Everything was starting to speed up now, and all of a sudden I found myself arm in arm with my daughter, waiting for those doors to open, those magical doors that would signal the time to walk down the aisle. There was no turning back now, and with deep breaths taken, the doors opened, and we started to walk. One foot in front of the other, slow and deliberate, up to the where the officiant would greet us, along with my future son-in-law.
The actual walk down the aisle is all kind of foggy to be honest. Time seemed to switch gears into slow motion. And that was fine, because I do remember that there were so many thoughts rushing through my head. They were mostly directed towards the groom, and I silently wondered if he knew what I, as her father, was thinking.
Does he know how lucky he is to be marrying our daughter?
Does he truly know how special this girl (now a woman) really is, and will he recognize and appreciate the unconditional love that she will provide him?
Will he treat her the way she deserves to be treated, and always do his best to not disappoint her?
“I really think he knows all these things”, I remember thinking to myself.
Because I know he realizes that, as parents, we will not tolerate anything less.
And so, at the end of the aisle, when asked who gives away this bride, I comfortably and confidently responded with, “Her Mother and I”, and put her hand into his, and calmly took my seat, now out of the picture.
The vows were exchanged and the proper legalities were performed, and our daughter was married in a beautiful setting on what turned out to be a perfect day, her perfect day, from start to finish.
And I say that knowing that as of this day, her life will now be focused on her new life with her husband.
And I wish them both all the luck and happiness in the world.
Congratulations Ashley and John.
A Father’s View