Getting Married & Being Married

My little girl is engaged.

The happy couple and Mushroom, their cat

The happy couple and Mushroom, their cat

Oh, we knew it was coming, and we couldn’t be more thrilled, because her fiancé is kind and thoughtful, hardworking and honest. His family loves the Princess as if she were their own, and we love him like a son already. He asked for our blessing, and the ring is gorgeous. He’s a firefighter; she’s a nurse. They’re both wonderful people, and they’re crazy in love and have been for the past six years. They met their first day of college and started dating a few weeks later.

The last wedding I planned was my own. I helped with my sister’s wedding, but it was more of the gardening kind of help, since she got married in our mom’s backyard. Almost thirty years ago, weddings were different—they were just a happy day. Planning didn’t take up your entire brain. I don’t think wedding planner was a career.

The man of honor

The man of honor

McIrish and I picked a place, picked the food, made a playlist. My sister was maid of honor, and my godchild was flower girl. My mother-in-law made the centerpieces with dried flowers from her garden. It was Christmastime. Everyone had a really good time.

The other day, we talked with the happy couple about what they wanted. A small wedding, as the Princess isn’t the type who likes to be the center of attention. She wants to wear a beautiful gown and dance. The food should be good, she said. She’d like to have lilacs in her bouquet. Otherwise…not a lot of requirements. She hasn’t been dreaming of a wedding since she was a little girl…instead, she’s been dreaming of having a cozy house, children, a job she loves, a husband who will stand by her and love her the way her father loves her mother.

The Princess and her maid of honor

The Princess and her maid of honor

Likewise, I haven’t been dreaming of my daughter’s wedding, even though I’ve known she and Mike would get married for a few years now. I figured we’d wait till the ring was on her finger. And now that it is, there’s some work to be done.

What I want for her wedding is that it’s magical, beautiful and fun. I have no color schemes. I have no opinion on food, other than that it be delicious. While I would like all my friends and family who love the Princess to be there, I respect the kids’ wishes for a small, intimate wedding. I want to see my daughter and her husband smiling all day. I want to make this planning time fun and easy for her. She has asked me to do much of the planning, as I’m organized and know how to get things done.

Magical, beautiful, fun.

I remember a moment at my own wedding, which was all those things, too. I was sitting there, eating the delicious food, trying to take it all in, and I had a thought—I just want to be home with my husband. It wasn’t that I was having a bad time, not at all! It was that I was ready for this new stage of my life to begin. Just the two of us (and our cat).

So happy!

So happy!

Getting married was great. We ate and laughed, and I cried a little when my grandfather and I danced during what should’ve been the father-daughter dance. It was a beautiful night.

But being married, all these years…that’s even better. All the happy, ordinary days—more than ten thousand of them!—sprinkled with some real heartbreakers, are so much more important that that one magical, beautiful, fun day in December so long ago.

My wish for the Princess and her firefighter is that they are just as happy and dedicated and blessed as their parents have been.

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