I spent the six months of my engagement envisioning what my wedding day would look like. I daydreamed often. And, please note: when I daydream, I don’t hold back. I imagine things in their richest and most extravagant splendor. Even so, the actual day of my wedding was infinitely better than even my most generous daydream.
I knew from the moment I chose to throw the kind of wedding that I did — one I’ve talked about here many times, one that suited the kind of couple that Thomas and I are — I knew it would be an enormous undertaking. April stepped in as our wedding coordinator, to-do list maker, and my personal pre-marital counselor. Melody sent me a different wedding gift for each of the six months I was engaged, each with a numbered countdown and a note about how to use them to deal with the chaos of engaged and newly-wed life. Rebekah listened to my vision for transforming an old cotton warehouse into something beautiful and she crafted designs (bouquets! boutonnieres! garlands! an altar! hanging florals) that took my breath away.
Dakota and Victoria showed up every day during the week before the wedding to help clean and set-up. They hung lights on an unstable wooden ladder, powerwashed for hours in the pouring rain, swept, wired, gardened, piled trash, giggled and gave me some of my favorite memories from the entire wedding weekend. Laura, a dear friend and gifted baker, made every single one of our gorgeous cakes, cobblers, and pies from scratch in her college apartment kitchen two days before the wedding. My mom built gold cake stands for them, collected antique channel letters that would hang over our head table, and toted two living rooms-worth of vintage furniture all the way from North Carolina to Alabama. Dozens of other people simply showed up, asked what needed to be done, and did it.
I remember when I walked into the finished space for the first time, just an hour before I would get married there. It had been transformed — and not by me, but by the abundant talents and time of the people I love. I’d been getting ready all morning, but that was when the full emotional weight of it hit me for the first time. I was wearing a wedding dress in the small town where we first met. On the other side of that brick wall was the man that would be my husband. And all around me were the people who loved both of us enough to make it possible.
The wedding itself was pure magic. The wedding video might be able to explain better than I can the dizzying experience of being surrounded by everyone you’ve ever loved while you promise your life, in all its messiness and joy and sorrow and beauty, to the one you love the most. And then celebrating in an old cotton warehouse, catered by your favorite taco truck, dancing under string lights on a miraculously beautiful evening in May. I always thought that there would be something (even a small something) that I would want to change about my wedding when it was all said and done. But at ours, there wasn’t a single thing else that I could ask for. Except, maybe, to experience it again.
But, in lieu of time travel, Thomas and I have settled on putting the wedding video on our Apple TV and watching it on endless loop.