Friday, May 2, 2008

Through the Veil: A Glimpse of My Wedding

Having my sister and her fiancé Chris to visit has me thinking nostalgically about my own wedding. We pulled out my wedding veil and tiara, wedding topper, pictures, and box of leftover invitations and thank you’s. It will be fifteen years on July 23. In some ways it feels like yesterday and in others like a hundred years ago.

It was love at first sight for both of us, and an eventual wedding was the unspoken presumption. I was only twenty when we had a sudden, whirlwind engagement.

My father was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and my family’s continued living on Long Island was not practical. They came to me with the news that they would be selling the house that summer of ’93. Would I like to come with them?

I had just earned my Bachelors’ degree at St. John’s University and had begun the Masters’ degree program. Kevin and I were in love. No, thank you, I was staying here, but where?

We went out that night with our mutual close friend, Ted (who would be our best man). He broached the question of our living together. No way, said Kevin. If we are going to live together, it will be as husband and wife. We know we are going to get married, so why not now?

We went to the priest and explained the situation. He granted us a four-week engagement. We went to the diamond store and, not having time for sizing, were able to pick out rings that fit.

When Kevin told his mother we were getting married, she was happy. So when would the wedding be? July. Of next year, she presumed. No, this July. Oh my!… But then they took it all in stride.

My father took care of all the arrangements. Tents, chairs, catering, were all ordered in his customary businesslike manner. My mother made sure her house and gardens were in their most lovely state, bringing in more flowers for the perimeter of the tent.

Our good friend Sean agreed to DJ for us and also took verses we had written and put it to music with his acoustic guitar.

Simple, black-and-white invitations were printed up right away with a one-week RSVP.

Ted threw Kevin a gentlemanly bachelor party while I went out with my two closest friends.

The rehearsal went smoothly, with a dinner at my in-law’s. Our families got along splendidly.

I got my hair and nails done, the nails for the very first time. Was I nervous? the ladies asked. No, why would I be?

Mom and I shopped for dresses. We went to around five places and finally came back to the first dress I had tried on in the local boutique. It was a perfect fit and required no adjustments, saving us time and money.

The most important item of my attire was the veil. I purchased a tiara and sewed on pieces to attach the veil. Mom purchased tulle and showed me how to sew it onto the piece that would attach to the tiara. It only took one evening.

Most family and friends were able to come, with a little over 100 people present.

My Nanna did my hair. I wanted it both up and down. Up for the classic look, but down enough to show off my curls. She accomplished both, bringing it up and allowing curls to cascade down from the ponytail-bun.

Mom did my makeup, simple and natural-looking, as I like it.

We drove in my Dad’s white Oldsmobile. We stopped for a few minutes by a lake so we would not be too early.

It was rumored that St. Rose of Lima in Massapequa had the longest aisle on Long Island. We were all nervous that Dad would be unable to walk down the long aisle but, with the help of his cane, he did it.

Mom fixed my dress and veil as I got out of the car. There was a light breeze. Now I was seeing the world through the dreamy light of my veil. There happened to be a church carnival going on in the carnival. It offered a surreal quality to the entrance.

My parents were emotional but it was my mother-in-law who cried openly, happily, when she saw me walk in. Tears of uncontained joy threatened to brim past my lower lashes and I hoped my veil would hide them. I walked past all the people like a dream. I can still see them as in a movie.

Kevin was far ahead, beaming with happiness.

We were there, and my Dad stumbled a little bit, not sure what to do with my veil. Mom helped him through the motion of lifting it. He kissed me and shook Kevin’s hand, with a look of full knowing that he was giving his daughter to a good man. Then I took Kevin’s hand, now seeing him and the world in full color, as we proceeded to the altar.

I Corinthians 13 – read by my college friend Andrea. A romantic selection from Song of Solomon – read by Kevin’s sister Bonnie. She really hammed up the part about the doe coming to her lover!

We had hand-written our vows and said them clearly, unhesitantly. When it got to part where the groom kisses the bride, he gave me a short sweet kiss and then came back for more!

Rice was still thrown back then, and we were pelted hard. It was in all our underthings and Kevin still had it in his ears days later!

Pictures were at Bethpage State Park and in front of our home. Then we had the best wedding any of us can ever remember.

If I had two years to plan a wedding, I would not do it any differently!

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