I was nervous. Not the kind of nervous where you feel like you're about to do something wrong, though. This was the type of nervousness that little girls dream about. The kind people write songs about. The kind that fuels romantic movies and books. It was what I had always hoped to feel.
I awoke to the sound of rain lightly tapping against the window in my parent's bedroom. Yes, the night before I became a Mrs. I had a sleepover with my mom. For twenty years my mother had been my best friend. My closest confidant. My source of strength and comfort. It only seemed fitting to spend my last as a Bryant at home with her. I was about to tie myself eternally to a new best friend.
I got out of bed and looked in the mirror. On any normal day I wouldn't pay much attention to the reflection staring back at me . . . but not today. Today I looked hard at myself. I saw a woman who was beautiful. She was worthy. She was happy. She was in love.
I started the process of getting ready. I wanted to look how I always looked. I wanted to recognize myself when I looked back on pictures of this day. I did my own make up, and I fixed my own hair. I always wanted it to be this way.
For two months now, my mother had told me to remember that "it's not about the wedding; it's about the marriage." I tried to keep this council in mind as I looked for a wedding dress. I tried to not stress about the wedding cake, or the decorations, or the invitations. I was very lucky to have a wonderful support system of friends and family who seemed to handle every important detail of my special day. All I wanted to focus on today was my handsome almost husband.
My father drove me down to the temple in our family’s minivan. I hadn't pictured arriving to my wedding ceremony this way--as a girl I thought I would make some grand Cinderella entrance--but this was perfect. For the hour it took to get to the temple, I was my daddy's little girl again. I don't remember what we talked about for those fifty something miles, but I remember feeling loved.
When we arrived at the temple a tall, blonde haired, blue eyed man wearing a newly fitted suit escorted me inside. I was going to marry this man in an hour, and I couldn't wait to be his.
We were counseled to take visual snap shots of our experience that day. My mental Polaroid’s are some of my most treasured thoughts. I will never forget the look my sweetheart gave me from across the alter. I will never forget the happiness I felt knowing that we would never be separated. Truly, we would be together forever.
The rest of the day, although beautiful, is seemingly unimportant in comparison to this moment. I love looking back on pictures of our wedding luncheon and reception, but the magic of these events pail in comparison to our ceremony.
One year later, I am as happy as I was that day. Maybe even happier. I have been shown love greater than I ever imagined. I have been treated like royalty. Not every moment has been perfect, but the imperfect parts make the good parts that much better. We have learned and grown. We have become stronger, kinder, better people. And I will forever be grateful for December 18th.