They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck. If true, it would certainly explain the bountiful blessings that have been showered over us in 13 years of marriage, because our wedding day was marked by thunderstorms of torrential proportions. The roof of the limo that carried my father and me to the church buckled under the monsoon, and quickly sprung a leak. Our guests were soaked by the solid sheet of water cascading from the roof overhang at the church entrance, despite the valiant efforts of ushers with umbrellas. Many guests arrived late because of the poor driving conditions caused by the drenching downpour.
It rained. Oh, how it rained. It was the best day of my life.
The day began with an early call for Kent and his groomsmen, who honored a family tradition with a round of golf on the big day. Meanwhile, I and my bridesmaids had a morning packed with manicures and brunch before I headed off to have my hair perfectly coiffed, all the better to show off the handmade heirloom crown that my mother had designed and painstakingly created just for me.
Then, the rain came. Yet in what I can only describe as a providential sign of God’s approval of our union, the rain miraculously paused its deluge just as we arrived at the church. And just long enough to get the wedding party and our finery indoors before resuming its pummeling.
As I began to dress and primp inside, in a gown befitting Cinderella at the ball, the videographer interviewed my bridesmaids for the wedding video. Without exception, they all noted my calm. But I couldn’t understand their amazement over my lack of nerves. There were never any cold feet on the part of this bride, who knew beyond any doubt that a certain golf-playing groom was her future, and who was not about to let anxiety over unimportant details turn her attention away from the handsome man who would be waiting for her at the end of the aisle.
The ceremony was simple, but poignant, and very much a family affair. Kent’s cousin, a minister, officiated at the church Kent grew up in. The music was provided by another cousin, an accomplished pianist. A family friend and longtime member of the church sang a beautiful Lord’s Prayer, quite possibly the best rendition I have ever heard. And Kent’s brother serenaded us with Edelweiss, special to us as the first song Kent had ever sung to me when we were dating. During the song, those in the front rows could see clearly that Kent was singing along, just to me, so only I could hear. And he was crying.
There were many wet eyes in the church that evening. Several guests told me afterward that they had never seen a groom more obviously in love. One weeping guest said ours was the only wedding she’d ever cried at, and it was clear from her still brimming eyes and running mascara that she did not mean just a single tear or two. Over the years she continues to maintain that she still never cries at other weddings, not even those of her own son and daughter.
Later, we partied. Ah, the party. It was a grand event, with every last detail planned by my mother, a former event coordinator. The reception was held at a local Italian restaurant, but to call it merely a restaurant does not do it justice. It was a beautiful destination built in the style of a European opera house, complete with a fountain outside and murals adorning the interior walls and ceiling. The exterior of the building has, in the wedding photo that hangs over our mantle, been mistaken by visitors to our home for the grand Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The elegantly themed restaurant was primarily intended as a draw for the many tourists who flock to Orlando, but weddings were also a portion of their business. Though just how profitable the wedding business was remains in question; the restaurant has, sadly, long since been replaced by one that proclaims itself a “shrine to motorsports,” redesigned beyond recognition with a checkered racing flag roof and monster trucks hanging from the ceiling. This is perhaps as it should be, with our special, undiscovered location better left to meaningful memories that become more precious with each passing year.
Inside the round building, tiered levels of seating surrounded the large center dance floor, where guests were entertained by strolling musicians. Kent and I shared our first dance on the elevated platform in the middle of that dance floor, flanked by four marble columns rising high in the air. The DJ played all the right music for a party that no one wanted to leave, and later in the evening, I tossed my bouquet from a balcony overlooking the scene. A fairy tale wedding, through and through.
I can’t believe that anyone would remember my wedding 13 years later, but people still talk about it as a memorable event, both for the cozy, sentimental ceremony built on family and pure love, and the one-of-a-kind party that followed. It was an eclectic combination, and yet it was exactly perfect. Except I think the perfection really lies in having picked the right partner. I’ve been living the fairy tale ever since.
Today is our anniversary. 13 wonderful years—the best of my life. I’ve loved every single day with Kent. Especially the rainy ones.