Jennifer has been with her boyfriend, Nicholas, for 3 years, and they already share a baby girl, named Kaylee. On an outing with her small family, Nick gets down on one knee and says, “Will you marry me?” This proposal takes place in front of a waterfall at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium. Nick is holding up a heart-shaped, sparkling diamond engagement ring, which represents commitment to their upcoming matrimonial life. It makes her instantly daydream about married life, and then when she snaps back to reality, and then Jennifer blurts out, “Yes! I’ll marry you!” Nick begins to slide the ring onto her now trembling finger. The light reflects off the stones, which are twinkling like stars in the night sky. Anticipating the upcoming occasion, waterworks start to flow from her like a dripping faucet. Jennifer thinks, “Nothing beats the excitement of preparing and organizing my dream wedding.” The wedding day is the day when couples make a lifelong commitment to their relationship. She thinks that for some people weddings are just one big event.
However, in her case, she thinks of her wedding as three special events all in one day: the preparation for the wedding, the church ceremony, and the reception. It is a beautiful Saturday morning on November 27, 2010, at six in the morning when Jennifer is gently awakened by the cool, crisp fall air. The relaxed ambiance is interrupted when she hears a parade of girls barging in her front door. She quickly springs out of bed and throws herself in the middle of the group. While going over the game plan for the big day, the bridal party is enjoying a wonderful morning breakfast before starting the process of preparing for the big day ahead. Then they all pile into two cars and drive over to the salon, where they are seized by a mob of hair stylists and make-up artists. One make-up artist starts on the bride’s make-up and did an awesome job painting her face.
All hair stylists moved around the room getting the bride and her bridal party’s hair ready for the big day. The bride anticipates wearing a tiara, when the stylist pulls out the crown that was tucked away and places it on the crown of the bride’s head. The stylist says, “You look just like a princess.” The stylist has placed the tiara just right on the bride’s head, and two of the bridesmaids stand there with fists full of bobby pins, trying to stick them one by one into her hair until the tiara is secure. The bride’s mother finishes the look by placing the veil on her daughter’s head. This is when everyone begins to get emotional. They are crying like this is the last time they will see her again, but they quickly stop when they are reminded that makeup isn’t waterproof. This is when the wedding day seems to get real. This is it; Jennifer is getting married. The whole morning seems to fly by, and before she knows it, her mom is helping her put on her dress and shoes, which is truly a Cinderella moment.
Then she is whisked off to Fort Macon for a short photo shoot with her bridesmaids. Just when she has about enough with the photography, her cellphone alarm announces that it is one in the afternoon; it is time to get to the wedding venue. She starts feeling a little nervous, but the maid of honor assures her that she looks beautiful and that everything is going to be fine. As the guests walk in, they sign the guest book that is decorated with pictures of the loving couple. Soothing love music plays in the background, while the guests make their way up the path to the ceremony seating. There is a small table that holds the sand-castle-shaped wedding cake. The room is also filled with round tables that are decorated with long black underskirt cloths and a shorter turquoise tablecloth with arrangements of beautiful vases filled with sand, shells, and candles. Twenty round tables and one rectangular head table, which takes up half of the room, along with a wooden dance floor which is creates the backdrop for the wedding day.
On the inside of the aisle, between the two blocks of chairs, there is a dazzling display of shells and candles. At the end of the bridal path, a priest is waiting patiently for the ceremony to start. In front of all of the guests is a small table with a glass of wine, bread, and three candles. Two candles are already lit, but the big one in the center remains untouched. They give off a soft glow. The groom, waiting for the bride, stands nervously still he continuously looking for his true love. He has a nervous smile on his face. All of the guests are seated, waiting for the main attraction. Soon they will all witness the stunning bride. When the peaceful instrumental background music stops, faint whispers start to fill the room, “It’s about to begin.” November 27, 2010, is a day that will change the bride and groom’s life. The upbeat instrumental music starts. The procession of bridesmaids and groomsmen commences.
The first bridesmaid walks down the aisle. She is a friend of the bride. Right after her follows the second bridesmaid, the bride’s sister-law. Two more friends follow the bridesmaid path; and then, last but not least, the Maid of Honor, the bride’s best friend, makes her way down the aisle, with the best man. As the bride’s Maid of Honor finishes her walk, the bride’s niece is next. The ever popular flower girl is nine years old. She comes striding down the aisle, holding the bride and groom’s daughter, Kaylee, who is only six months old. Once the flower girl has carefully made it down to the end of the aisle, all of the music stops; everyone stands up and turns around so they can see the bride. This is the moment everyone is waiting for, especially for Jennifer. From around the corner, Nick can barely see what is going on. The crowd anxiously wants to see the wonderful sight. When a new bridal melody begins, the stunning bride, accompanied by her father, begins the stride down the aisle. He is a short, rugged man, who is slightly graying.
In sync, they walk towards the groom. It feels like time has slowed to a crawl as the groom waiting for the bride to reach him. Finally, after what seems like years, the bride reaches her groom. He walks out to greet the future father-in-law and his future wife. Shaking the father’s hand, as the father gives away his daughter to the groom to start their new life together, Nick reaches out for the arm of his bride. Together they walk the rest of the way down the aisle and stand in front of the priest. The priest opens with a prayer, and then he begins the ring ceremony. He speaks about the ring and what it symbolizes, and then they are able to face each other and speak their vows. As Jennifer speaks to the groom, she cannot hold in the tears, and she cries tears of joy as she makes it the rest of the way through her vows. The groom, fighting back tears himself, reads his vows to his bride.
Once all the vows are done, now come the “I do’s,” and there are no more tears. Their priest pronounce them husband and wife, and they have their first long, slow kiss as husband and wife. Before the ceremony is finished, they are directed to the small table behind them for communion and to light the one candle on top of the two previously lit candles to symbolize them becoming one. They are introduced to the crowd for the first time as “Mr. and Mrs. French,” and they walk together back up the aisle, followed by a parade of the wedding party. The ceremony is over, but the fun is just about to begin. Probably the worst part of the wedding is taking all the pictures. Right after the ceremony is over, but before they can enjoy the reception, they have to take pictures for about an hour. Once that picture-taking ordeal is over, they go straight to the party. Shortly after they sit down, dinner is served on luxurious white plates. An arrangement of steak, salad, bread, and vegetables not only looks amazing, but the tasted delicious.
It is the most savory, juiciest steak they have ever had. They are seated at the head table, where they can see everything going on. Sometimes when she looks away from her groom, the bride sees the hustle and bustle of people moving around and taking pictures. Everyone is trying to navigate through chairs and tables to come speak with the bride and groom. Now that dinner is over, it is then time for the bride and groom’s first dance. Jennifer looks so beautiful with her dangling diamond earrings and her new champagne wedding dress. Her hair is up, and it is nicely compliment by her tiara and veil. This is the first time she really gets to see the groom without so many other things happening at one time. This is the first time everything slows down, and she is able to take in everything that happens.
She leans into his chest and lightly whispers, “Thank you for loving me, Nick.” This is when it finally hits her that she gets to be with the man she loves for the rest of her life. “The moment that I have been waiting for has finally happened, and we have finally gotten married.” No more talking about it or thinking about it, the planning is all over now. Nick whispers back to her, “I love you now, and I will love you forever.” He pulls her closer to him. During the dance, when all eyes are on them, she finally steps back and sees everything that has happened. All of the empty chairs are now filled with people who have come to see the wedding. The families are huddled around the tables, talking and laughing with each other as if they have been friends since childhood. Although it is just another Saturday to most people, November 27, 2010, is the day that my life changed by the union of marriage.