(Apparently, this got lost in the drafts section and didn’t get posted. Until now.)
It’s April 18, 2020. Everyone on our guest list is there. Heck, if I’m dreaming then my Grammy Smith is there too. South Portland Church of the Nazarene is illuminated by sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows. There are beautiful, but simple flower arrangements on either side of the altar, which has the unity candle and two white tapers on it, waiting to be lit. Someone dear is playing the piano, perhaps my cousin Courtney, Aunt Debbie, or Barb Cousineau. Now that I’ve met her, I’d be happy for Beth Taube to do it too. In the dreamiest of dreams, it would be my mom, but, I couldn’t actually do that to her, as I wanted her to be able to process and do the Mother of the Bride thing.
It had been a wonderful morning. Jess, Meg, my mom and I had gone for a beautiful run. My bridesmaids and I had a blast getting ready: singing, laughing, eating delicious snacks, and having the time of our lives primping for the special occasion. Janaye (who did my hair and makeup) made great contributions to the laughter that was constantly coming out of the room and down the hallway.
“Carrie’s Song” (by my first boyfriend ever, Colin Britt –I know that’s weird, but it’s a really pretty instrumental song, but Justin and I talked about it, and he was ok with it. This is my dream, anyway.) starts to play, and the grandparents start making their way down the aisle. Justin’s brother Jeff walks Grandma Gail down, my brother Zach walks Grandma Gates down, then the parents come. Both my brothers, Zach and Dan, walk down with my mom. The moms go and light the tapers on either side of the unity candle. At some point, the groomsmen and woman take their places up front. Roger is up front. Justin is not. Pachabel’s canon in D is played next as the bridesmaids come in. First comes Ray Ray, the mutual friend that gave confidence and humanity to Justin’s and my connection on eHarmony. Then, Jessica, a friend from the US I grew very close to while we both lived in Costa Rica. Next, Meg, a fellow missionary and dear, fun friend from college. She’s followed by Marsha, my bosom friend since 8th grade. Then, my matron of honor, my cousin and “triplet” Christianne. (I also would have loved to have a few of my Costa Rican friends be bridesmaids, especially Angie and Vane.) After an extra pause, my precious flower girl, Lucía Kamper makes her way down the aisle in her white “spinny” dress, with a huge adorable smile on her 4 year old face. I took her brothers and grandma to the hospital to meet her the day she was born. I love this girl! She evenly strews white rose petals down the aisle (I know this really means I’m dreaming!). She joyfully finishes her task and takes her seat with her parents and brothers.
There is a dramatic pause. Then, “Here Comes the Bride” starts to play and I enter with my dad. If we’re really dreaming here, he’s walking, no cane or anything. But, in lesser dreamland, he’s riding his scooter. We have zero issues with my dress getting caught in his wheels. Everyone is on their feet and beaming at me. Those who like to look at the groom’s reaction to the bride’s entrance (or anyone else who has noticed the groom’s absence) are wild with confusion though. Where is Justin? What is going on? I smile and try to hold back the tears as I make my way down the aisle. My heart is bursting with joy.
Roger gives a brief welcome and addresses Justin’s absence. He explains how marriage is a reflection of Christ and the Church, and how the Groom will one day come for his Bride. He explains that just as Christ’s Bride is waiting for him to return, I waited a long time for Justin. In my original dream, we listen to the song “While I’m waiting” by John Waller. In our wedding plans, we were talking about a different song, probably sung by Bizzy. Somehow at the end of the song, or perhaps with a piece of another song, Justin enters humbly, yet triumphantly. Our eyes brim with tears as we see each other for the first time that day. I’m smiling so big my face feels stretched and full, like it can’t do justice to the emotions I’m feeling.
The service proceeds. Roger leads most of it, but we have various friends and pastors participate by reading Scriptures: Brian Barry, Graham Strondak, and Doris Juarez. Chris Flathers shares a brief, simple, gospel-laden homily. Bizzy sings a beautiful solo, and we have a couple congregational songs too, including “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Right before the pronouncement and kiss, Roger invites all our pastor friends to come forward and lay hands on us and pray. Liz and Noah Kamper, Brian and Jackie Barry, Graham Strondak, Trevor Stillin (the Best Man), David Pope, Kevin & Claudia Abegg, Father Greg, Manfred Karolyi, Chris Flathers, Jack & Mary Anne Voelkel, and Rudy Corea & Ana Luisa Castro. Mary Anne and Rudy lead the prayer, with Silvia Karolyi interpreting for Rudy. Any other clergy friends we forgot to name come forward too. I would have really loved Ethan Magness to be there. It is a beautiful, powerful time of prayer, and the words prayed over us are seared into our hearts and engraved in our memory.
Roger declares us husband and wife, we kiss, and recess. The whole thing has been under an hour and no one got bored at any moment during the ceremony. Isn’t it fun to dream?
We have a smooth easy photo session with our family and wedding party. Justin and I head to Portland Headlight to take some pictures “just us” (or maybe with some immediate family and wedding party?). When we enter the reception, we see Eastpoint’s lobby is tastefully decorated by Jada, the same sweet, generous woman who did all the flowers. People are mingling and playing cornhole, giant jenga, bocce, and other games on the turf. We had hoped to still have a party someday, but at this point, that feels pretty doubtful. The events of the reception weren’t as significant to me though. All that matters was that there was enough food and lots of fun. (And a delicious cake by Karen Goslin, of course!)
The wedding was always a dream. We were going to approximate it as best as we could, but reality often gets in the way of dreams. It couldn’t possibly all happen just as I had dreamed. Our wedding ended up not being much like my dream at all, but, God had a plan, and I’ll take his plans over my dreams. Every.Single.Time.