Everyone reacts differently to the milestones of life. When it comes to weddings, in particular, brides’ reactions run the gamut.
Some brides turn into Bridezilla– horrible creatures who will eat your face off if you do not do what they say. (When I say eat your face off, it’s not because they are high on bath salts. They eat your face off because you are such a stupid ignoramus who could not listen to instructions that you don’t deserve a face. )
Other brides get euphoric. This day is magical; it’s perfect. This bride is the type of girl who seems to be floating through the day. Everyone she knows is celebrating this occasion with her, and she embraces them all because she wants to lock each moment in her memory.
Still others, others are sentimental. For whatever reason, the most joyous day of this bride’s life makes her cry. She hugs everyone and thanks everyone for coming, but she cannot stop the tears from proliferating. This poor bride has never felt happier, yet her physical reaction is caterwauling.
About fifteen minutes before my wedding in the Chapel at the Rio Hotel, my maid of honor and I were escorted into a small waiting room. In the room was a mirror–assumingly for last-minute touch-ups– and a few chairs. Joanna was trying to do her job, she fluffed my veil and applied lipstick to my lips. I couldn’t carry on conversation because I was beyond nervous, and to be honest, I do not know why. I was marrying my best friend. I was in the gown I had purchased, my father was walking me down the aisle, and 25 people planned vacations so they could be here with us. I should have been bouncing off the walls, but instead I was numb.
After a few minutes, the chapel attendant opened the door and let my dad into the room. I knew this meant it was almost time to start the ceremony. He had not yet seen me in my wedding gown. His face lit up, and he let out one of those I-can’t-believe-it chuckles. “Look at my little girl,” he paused and shook his head in disbelief, “all grown up and getting married.”
For whatever reason, I began to cry. I still felt like the little girl who sat on his knee and listened to made-up stories about fairies. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were sharing Oreo cookies and drinking milk together? My little girl. Hearing him say these words made me realize how far I was from childhood.
The attendant was at the door. “It’s time,” she said, and then she saw my face. “Is everything okay?” Her hand moved to a walkie-talkie; she was ready to pull the plug on my nuptials. How many times, I wondered, had she seen a bride call off the wedding seconds before walking down the aisle, a bride that probably looked like me– crying uncontrollably.
“She’ll be fine,” my dad said to the woman. He turned to me. With one hand, he grabbed my elbow and guided me out of the chair I was sitting in. With the other, he took his handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at my eyes. “Come on, there is a very lucky man waiting for you,” which didn’t exactly help me to stop crying.
We were guided into a hall next to the chapel. I could hear the music, which meant Tom was walking up the aisle and within seconds, we would be, too. The attendant was standing about fifty feet away, watching, waiting to wave us to proceed. She waved, and Joanna started to walk. It was surreal: I was getting married.
I was doing my best to fight back tears, but I wasn’t winning. My dad had to hand me his hanky so I could keep patting my eyes.
“So, what are you going to name your dog?” he asked out of the blue. The woman signaled for us to start moving. I started to move, but my dad pulled me to stop. “I’m not moving until you name your dog.”
I looked from my father to the woman, waving a bit more pronounced, back to my father.
My mind reeled. My brother and his wife were buying us a dog as a wedding gift. He wanted me to name it now? Right NOW? The woman was calling us. I looked from her to my dad to the wall. I caught site of a framed certificate: “Thank you for sharing your special day with us here at the Rio.”
Without thinking, I turned back to my dad. “Rio?” I questioned.
“Fine choice.” He winked. Before I knew it, we were up the aisle and I was standing with Tom.