I woke up that morning thinking: today I will glow. I always heard that brides get this special glow you can’t fake or create with makeup, it just happens the day you get married, so I checked the mirror expecting to find it, except it wasn’t there yet, and I thought, well, maybe it creeps up on you like a blush or something, just wait a while for the glow, don’t try to rush it, so I did the usual things to get ready, even used my curling iron, and put on some mascara and green eyeliner because that was the only makeup I had, and we said good-bye to our friend Tom who’d come to town the night before, a friend from college days who needed a place to stay, and we’d said, sure, stay with us the night before the wedding, and then we drove to my parents’ house and they had lox and bagels and I had to eat something, so I ate a bagel and then I asked my dad if he would polish my going-away shoes, or maybe he asked me if they needed it, I can’t remember–but we ended up in his office back behind the house where he kept the black shoe polish and we started talking about getting married and then he asked me to get one of his big books of American plays off the shelf and find Our Town, so I did and I found the part where Mrs. Gibbs says, “People are meant to go through life two by two. ‘Tain’t natural to be lonesome,” and we read that part and a bit of the marriage ceremony, and got kind of choked up and by then my shoes were ready, so that was nice, a private moment– but then it was time to go so I went to my future in-laws’ house where the ceremony was to take place and started getting dressed in the study, with other women coming in and out and offering advice and good wishes, but the first thing that happened was I got a run in my pantyhose, and my mother said it was good luck–I didn’t really believe that, even though it was nice of her to say it–but it was time to get dressed, so I put on the dress I’d made myself: pink embroidered cotton with an overlay of ecru chiffon– a color I had always loved, ecru–and it was long in the sort of hippie style of the day, long and almost sheer, as it turned out, with lace around the neck, a deep flounce at the bottom, and an empire waist, and I wore a wreath of tiny pink roses and a little baby’s breath, and carried a pink fan with roses on it, which had been my mother’s idea, but it was nice and a little different, and that was it: dress, strappy shoes, wreath and fan and the gold bracelet that had belonged to the grandmother who’d died before I was born–but did I glow yet? I think I saw something like a glow, but then it was time for my father to walk me down the “aisle,” which wasn’t really an aisle–in fact, we had to walk through the garage first to get to the concrete walkway down to the front deck of the house where all the guests were sitting, but I was able to make an “entrance” that way, so I took my father’s arm and we walked down the aisle, but he slipped a tiny bit on the way while I held onto him and he said, “I’m glad you’re here to hold me up,” and I said, “Me too,” and as we walked down to where the rabbi and my soon-to-be husband stood waiting for us, my grandfather began to sing, so the rabbi, a family friend, said, “Mike! Shush!” and my grandfather stopped singing, but it made everyone smile at the same time, which was sweet, and then we stood together, the two of us, with our siblings standing up for us while the rabbi spoke; we listened and I couldn’t tell you now what he said, but it was important stuff, and then we said our vows, which I don’t remember either, and exchanged gold rings–mine with a tiny diamond that looked like a star and his plain gold band– and then the rabbi said to kiss the bride and we kissed and hugged and glowed and my new husband smashed the glass and then it was time for pictures and hugs and food and cake and smiling until our cheeks hurt and after a few hours we changed our clothes– I wore a gray suit I’d made, and a black hat for some reason–and we went to a bar for a little while with some friends before heading to the airport for San Diego and a honeymoon at a big old hotel, where we would wake up the next day, look at the rings on our fingers and let it all sink in. Married.
Blew me away. Swept over me like the perfect wave. Exquisite. Thank you.
Risa, I love this story about your beautiful wedding and all the events and thoughts that accompanied it! Wondering about the glow! Reading Our Town with your father! It’s all so perfect! When I first looked at it this morning, the whole thing was underlined, which made it a little hard to read, and I was going to suggest that you get rid of the underlining. When I refreshed the page this afternoon, the underlining was gone, as if you had read my comment before I wrote it.
Why did the rabbi make your grandfather stop singing? I thought that sounded charming.
Oh Risa, perfect! So glad I caught up with this lovely, moving piece as a missed story.
And love your sweet dress!