I wasn't the type of girl who spent hours dreaming about my wedding day. Maybe it was because most of the time I was in the backyard digging holes, or fishing, or lighting my brother on fire (only once and he asked me to do it). So to those who knew me, it was no surprise that when I started planning my wedding it didn't include a fancy church packed with 400 people watching me walk down the aisle wearing a hand stitched wedding dress with a 28 foot train as live trumpeters played The Wedding March followed by the release of 12 white doves as my husband and I ran through the church and were carried off in a horse drawn carriage to a country club serving a gourmet dinner with foods that I still can't pronounce.
Because if you know me at all you know that I would have tripped over the dress, been scared of the doves (because I don't care what anyone says they can poke your eyes out) and sadly, I would have asked for a side of bacon with my chive blini with caviar and creme fraiche.
There were only a few non-negotiables when it came to my nuptials. Since my dad is a pastor, I wanted my him to marry me. And since my dad would be performing the ceremony, I wanted my brother to walk me down the aisle. And eventually, I knew who I wanted to marry.
Ten years ago today I took the perfect walk that ended with saying "I do," to a man who has been true to every vow we said on that day.
We often joke about how many things went wrong on our wedding day. In fact, people who believe in bad omens wouldn't bet that we would make it to our first anniversary, much less our tenth. Let me give you a brief overview.
- Our photographer was two hours late.
- The AV tech was late. All of the microphones, the cd player and AV equipment was locked up. The wedding party (including me) was walking out to music on a CD because my brother (who was also playing the music for the rest of the wedding) was walking me down the aisle. At 3:50 my dad came into the bride's room (where the photographer was still frantically taking pictures to make up for being late). He said, "Kristen, don't panic, but the AV guy isn't here yet." I said, "Dad, I don't care if everyone has to stand up and hum Here Comes the Bride. At 4 o'clock, I am walking down that aisle and getting married." The AV guy showed up five minutes before the ceremony, which started exactly at 4 p.m.
- Richie's cousin, who was singing the song during the lighting of the unity candle, learned a Steven Curtis Chapman song. Unfortunately, he learned the wrong Steven Curtis Chapman song. Luckily we discovered this during the rehearsal (albeit at the very end), so we turned the solo into a duet with one of my bridesmaids who knew the right song and it turned out to be very lovely.
- The unity candle wouldn't light (photo on left). Lesson learned - If you are getting married, or know someone who is, tell them to light the unity candle during the rehearsal. Otherwise the wick is still covered in wax from the factory and you have to burn that off before the candle will stay lit.
- At the reception, the band was two hours late (do you see a theme here?). Again, the sound system was locked up, so we had two hours with a dance floor but no music. We ended up dancing our first dance an a cappella version of Shania Twain's From This Moment sung by one of my best friends in the whole world. (The very same one who sang the duet). Our friends and family circled the dance floor and the sound of Kim's heavenly voice filled the ballroom. To this day, it was the most perfect dance of my life.
- Time for the champagne toast and you guessed it, no champagne. We decided to just use punch. They were out of punch, so we opted for water, straight from the drinking fountain.
The thing is, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. The best memories from my wedding are centered around the things that went wrong. With all of the wedding day craziness, when the doors opened and I started walking toward my future husband, his eyes were locked solely on me. The look on his face told me that if the whole world came crashing down around us we would be okay.
And sometimes it does. And we are.
During the past 10 years, we have been richer and poorer, in sickness and health. Through better and through worse. And what I have found is this. It isn't the days where you are rich and healthy and better that you find out what your marriage is made of. The days you know that the man or woman you married is the one you want by your side til' death do you part is when you are poor and sick and worse. It is when there is no champagne and the band is late -
and you dance anyway.