This past weekend my sister, Lu, got married. For the first time. I was honored to stand by her side when she married a really great guy named Chris.
A little background about the two of us. We've been friends since we were seven years old in the second grade. We have more memories than should be legal between our lives. We've shared every up and down and everything else that goes in the middle of those ups and downs. I haven't called her my best friend in years because I believe we're past that point now. They say you can't choose your family. I beg to differ. I wasn't blessed with a blood sister, but I sure enough picked that gal to be my sister. Our children call us "Aunt" and believe themselves to be first cousins. We wouldn't have it any other way.
When I first moved away back in 2006, it was hard on us. We hadn't been separated since we were seven and we just didn't know how we'd manage the 6 hour drive between homes. I should have known we wouldn't let a little distance stop us. Both our families made the drive many times and we made it work. Then, my family moved to upper Georgia and that cut the drive in half. Oh, joy. We weren't moved in good, just partially unpacked, when she loaded up her twins (who are the same age as Makenna) and came for the weekend.
I received a picture text message on my phone showing her hand with a diamond shining brightly on that left hand. Game on. Wedding planning started and I really hated the distance factor because I wanted to be right there with her every single step of the way. Silly me. Technology stepped in yet again and helped the two of us share every single step. Tiffany is Lu's best friend back home. I have sister status, Tiff has best friend status. I adore Tiffany and she was amazing with sending me picture text messages when Lu went to try on wedding dresses. We talked a good bit on the phone and one thing was very clear. We were both thrilled to pieces for our girl and wanted her day to be as perfect as possible. I couldn't have asked for a better fellow bridesmaid to make this party happen.
Many many many nights Lu and I would sit on the computer on Yahoo messenger sharing links and ideas. Her wedding came together piece by piece as we schemed and talked and surfed a never ending Internet land. I was able to get the perfect dress for me in the color she chose here in my town, so my end of the deal came together effortlessly.
I believe I forgot to mention that she planned her wedding around The Man's schedule. He was to finish his class up North on November 12th. She planned her day for November 13th so he could be there to share the day, too. Suffice it to say, this past weekend was just flat out awesome in my personal book. I got my husband back after being gone for nine weeks and my girl got married. I was floating more than I was walking.
Friday found us decorating the church and fellowship hall at the church where the ceremony was to take place. Lu, Tiff, and myself spent more time laughing than we did working. (Thank you Church Ladies for making this happen!) Friday night gave us a hilarious rehearsal that had Lu turning pure white every time she thought about walking down the aisle by herself. I assured her that if I got to the front and she was stuck? I'd walk myself right back down that aisle and get her. My escort was her soon to be stepson...a very handsome 15 year old young man who's personality and sense of humor matched mine perfectly. Of course, that worried everyone else around us quite a bit. We all enjoyed a nice supper afterward and since we agreed we were all too old to handle any type of bachelor or bachelorette parties, we headed back home for the night. I had to get home to wait for my husband to arrive! I almost fell asleep before he rolled in at midnight but I couldn't wait to see his face! It didn't help that my Daddy (we stayed at my parent's house) stayed up with me and all he would watch was old westerns. Ugh. That's a sure fire way to put this girl straight to sleep.
Can I just say I LOVED Saturday? I was able to wake up beside my husband and leave our kids in his care and know I didn't have to worry about getting them to the church. Tiff picked me up bright and early at 8 a.m. so we could head off to get our hair and makeup done for the 3 p.m. wedding. We stopped to get one very anxious and out of sorts Lu. We scooted by to pick up a frappe for me and food for them. Our time at the salon was awesome. I informed the stylist I wanted to channel Marilyn Monroe. I had the short hair to pull off that short teased curled style she was famous for having. I proclaimed I was a large woman who wanted large hair and dramatic makeup! We laughed and took many pictures of going from plain to glamorous. We had to be at the church by 1 p.m. and we were 15 minutes late and had Lu declaring she needed a nerve pill from the back seat.
Time flew by from that point on to walking in the sanctuary. I was teary-eye'd helping her put on her wedding gown and seeing her transform into this beautiful bride. The twins looked like proper young ladies in their dresses and the men were just so handsome our teeth hurt to look at them. I felt like my face was going to break because I was smiling so big from the sheer happiness of the occasion. Tiff and I were scared to death we were going to bawl during the ceremony and ruin our expensive makeup jobs.
My cousin Tripp is a close friend of Lu's also. He and The Man were ushers (not groomsmen) and as we stood in the foyer of the sanctuary, Lu started turning white again at the thought of walking out in front of all those people waiting to see her get married. The Man was already manning the video camera at this point and Tripp was helping the wedding director get every one down the aisle properly. Tiff and I were last and we were about to take our turns walking in when Lu exclaimed, "Wait a minute! Why can't Tripp walk me down the aisle?" The wedding director turned to her and said, "This is your day. He can do whatever you want him to do."
At that moment, my cousin simply walked over and held the crook of his arm out to Lu. Not one word was said. She put her arm in his and I saw complete peace and calmness come over her. It was then my turn to head down the aisle. I was so touched by that one little scene that I almost forget what I was supposed to do when I reached the front of the church!
Lu is a die hard South Carolina Gamecock fan. Chris is a die hard Clemson fan. Uh oh. He jokingly declared that there would be NO red/garnet anywhere in his wedding. Is that right, big boy? Tiff and I conspired beforehand to have a special surprise for Mr. Chris. At our pedicures earlier in the week, we both had "C's" put on our big toes. One orange one for Chris and one red one for Lu. When we reached the alter and walked up, we swung by Chris and with fanfare, pulled up the hems of our gowns to show our toes representing the two of them. He laughed and I feel sure appreciated our sense of humor. (The C's stood for Cocks (pet name for the Gamecocks) and Clemson.)
That wedding march started and I saw that girl come down the aisle looking as fabulous as a person possibly could look. My handsome cousin handed her off to her twins who then walked her up to meet Chris. It was a beautiful ceremony and I kept looking at Tiff and grinning from ear to ear. We had no tears we were so happy for the two of them.
When they went to light the unity candle, I had to move over behind Tiff and one of the twins. By this point, this large girl was feeling the effects of the cute silver high heel shoes. I made an executive decision to discreetly leave them behind the full fern I was standing beside and take my chances barefoot. I whispered to Tiff that I was leaving my shoes behind and she started looking down!! I was told her, 'DUDE! DON'T LOOK AND DRAW ATTENTION!' No one would have ever known if I hadn't kicked my foot out before taking the first step down off of the alter (pre-planned move between me and my escort). My mother was sitting on the second row and her eyes narrowed when she saw my bare toes come out from under the dress. I shamed her, I do believe with that move....BUT, OMG, THE SHOES WERE MURDERING ME! I told people who commented that I was so glamorous that I had to bring it down a notch.
The rest of the afternoon and evening flew by and was perfect. I was so exhausted by the time we got back to my parent's house. I had to wash my hair three times to get all the hairspray and teasing tamed. I was also reminded as to why I don't wear waterproof mascara. Gah, that stuff has to have illegal ingredients to stay like it does on your lashes. Hate it.
I feel like this huge letdown has come upon me. You know, like after your birthday or Christmas has come and gone? You get so excited and anxious and then it's gone. Over. I'm just so happy the day was perfect and sunny and cool and just flat out enjoyable.
Here's to my girl Lu and her new husband Chris! I pray you have many many years together full of happiness. Chris? Take care of my sister or strange things might happen. I'm just saying. Love you both!
P.S. I don't have any pictures yet, but I may have to post one or two when I get my hands on them!