I promised to love him even when he gets impatient at the airport security check, and he promised to cherish me even after he can’t find some appliance because I’ve reorganized the kitchen for the fourth time. Then he looked at me and I looked at him and we said, “I do.”
It was five o’clock in the evening on a warm, windless night on the twenty first of September. I wore a fitted lace gown that trailed six feet behind me. We were surrounded by white floral arrangements and so many people I loved. And best of all was the man standing before me. Not only did he look the cut-out of an action figure in a black tux, but this man was mine, to have and to hold forever. I was in full-on fairy tale mode.
I consider myself more of a realist than a romantic. Of course, anyone who really knows me would laugh at that statement as, on the not-so-rare occasion, one can walk in on me sobbing over Pretty Woman. But as a literary undergrad, I moved quickly past the Austen chronicles, onto something more meaty, more brooding: the Bronte sisters, aka the romantic rebels. And as a journalist, I find it comforting when I can stick to the facts.
But for the past three months, I lost all sense of dignity. I was deep in the trenches of event planning. I thought of nothing but cake flavors and candle placement, where to hang the curtains and how to script the signage. I hadn’t expected that when I woke up that morning, all those things would fall to the side.
The morning began in a fancy hotel room with mimosas and satin-robed bridesmaids jumping between beds and pinning me up in a dress that takes twenty minutes to button. I then met Diego at the doors of the Salt Lake City temple, where we were sealed together for time and all eternity. We exchanged our vows and gave speeches, and then came the food and dancing.
It was all a dream. The Italian villa-esque gardens with cobblestone walkways leading to the fountain surrounded by three long tables beneath floating lights and a huge white canvas. My favorite blues singer was strumming away at some slow sultry love song while couples swayed to the beat on the dance floor. But that’s not what I remember most.
Throughout the night, I’d peek over Diego’s shoulder at some cluster of people: there were my spitfire Salt Lake girls who got me through early adulthood with more laughs than my abs could sometimes handle; there were my six beautiful bridesmaids who had flown from across the country for this moment to stand beside me (and I knew would continue to well after); there was my besty flirting with a groomsmen (hollah!). There were aunts and cousins and uncles and my grandpa and, of course, my six raucous nephews who had discovered the VW photobooth and are on their 70th shoot (that’s why I got it).
I’d look again and see my sisters and my parents, my true blood tribe, who had spent three months helping me with every detail of this wedding and, basically, my whole life. There was my brother who was DJing (and wow, his mixes are seriously tight) and then there was my new family, a gregarious bunch of Brazilians who had welcomed me into their family without reservation and who were now busting out some impressive moves to some songs I wish I knew.
But I’ll never forget that moment when, upon running over to my bridesmaids to solve some logistical mini-crisis, Diego came behind me and whispered in my ear, ‘Come, dance with me.’ And so I followed. My hair was falling out and my seamstress would have rolled her eyes at my bridesmaid’s failed attempt to bustle the dress. But all I cared about was the way my hands felt in his.
And there we were, surrounded by people, coming together to celebrate not just Diego and I, but love in general. Whether married, too young, 50 years in, or still looking, we were there to celebrate the fact that whatever it looks like, we are all able to love and be loved.
We drove away after the classic sparkler exit and jumped on a plane to Maui with unnecessary amounts of leftover cake (note: hire a wedding planner who sneaks cake into your trunk!). That week, we were those shameless lovers nobody wants to be around and at moments, I thought I’d actually just explode from too much joy. And I felt something else I didn’t expect. Since the wedding, every time I looked at him, I saw so much more than just ‘Diego’. I saw a whole tribe of people who love him and now by default, me.
I realized that it wasn’t the Brazilian pastries or the blues singer we flew in from Harlem. It wasn’t the floating candles or the Anna Maier wedding dress that made that day special. It was the people who came to support us, the people who have always been there – the whole ‘village’ that raised us, befriended us, and loved us even when it was inconvenient. They are the ones who made us who we are today. They are the ones we have chosen to share this wild adventure of a life with.
So that’s the way our story begins, with an excessive amount of coconut cake and a million reasons to say thank you. Hopefully before we explode with joy.
This honeymooner, the new Mrs. Silva