Our wedding was memorable.
It was so memorable, in fact, that you might think of it every time you look at a roaring fire in your fireplace. Or a nice college bonfire.
To set the scene, we were married in the sacred tradition of the small-town church wedding with a fellowship hall reception, featuring cake, buttercream mints, and, of course, a bowl of mixed nuts.
We decorated the church with fake greenery and candles and spray-painted planters and lots of tulle. My dress was spectacular, the tuxes were the cheapest to be found, and the blue church carpet was freshly vacuumed.
Our friends and family made the drive to my small hometown, and Chad and I nervously waited in separate Sunday school rooms for the perfectly chosen two o’clock start time. I made my way through the halls that I had toddled down as a baby, excited to meet my groom at the front of a packed church, the same place where I had learned to love Jesus.
As I entered the back doors of the church, I spotted Chad standing nervously at the altar. It wasn’t until I looked at pictures later that I spotted the fire that was starting in one of my spray painted planters.
When I reached the front of the church, I heard a slight commotion, but I was oblivious. I thought all of the gasps were centered on my beautifully sparkling wedding dress. Now that I think of it, I’m sure the firelight did reflect nicely off of the sequins.
Some heroes carried not one, but two flaming planters outside and Chad’s uncle kindly stomped them to death on the church yard where I had played red rover as a child.
Now, you might think that a fire at your wedding would ruin the day. But, I’m here to tell you that was not the case. After our perfectly simple reception, we ran to the car through a sea of pink and white tissue paper hearts, and we held hands all the way to our destination, crying and recounting all of the perfection in our small, monumental, exciting, hilarious, beautiful day. And, if you asked either of us today what our wedding was like, you will hear us say, It was perfect.
When we got our wedding pictures back and realized that we had hired a fairly terrible photographer, and when we realized that no one had even thought to take a video of the day, when we saw that our friends’ and family’s snapshots of the wedding were actually the best pictures we had, somehow we didn’t even mind. Because our wedding day exists just how we remember it, and what we remember is absolutely precious.
The good people at Personal Creations added a little bit of sweetness to our Valentine’s Day by sending us this beautiful piece for our home. Now every time I see it I’m reminded of the vows we made to each other as the smoke cleared, shedding tears at the altar, feeling God’s blessing on a love that says, “I give you my whole heart for my whole life.”
So far, so good. Lasting loves don’t happen every day. But, on May 22, 1999, a great heart swap took place, in front of God and flaming greenery and everybody. And, I’ll never forget the commitment that I made: everything, for as long as I breathe.