Continued from Our First Child’s Wedding…
As soon as we got home from our son’s wedding in California, we had to kick it into high gear to make final preparations for our daughter’s wedding, which was to occur exactly four weeks after our son’s wedding. This wedding was to take place in our hometown, Memphis, in the same church where my wife and I were married, which was also the same church where my wife’s parents were married. And before we knew it, the four weeks were gone.
Our future son-in-law’s family all lived out of town as well as most of the wedding party so a couple of days before the wedding, we hosted an informal bar-b-que dinner at our home for everyone to get a chance to meet each other.
It was a nice, enjoyable peaceful time and without knowing it at the time, represented the calm before the storm of the next two days of bustling wedding activities.
The wedding rehearsal was on Friday night.
As an officiant, our daughter was able to bring in the priest who had been at the campus church the two of them had attended while at UC Berkeley. He had recently relocated to a church in Knoxville, TN which made it easy for him to participate.
Following the rehearsal was the dinner at a local restaurant.
It was another great meal followed by numerous toasts, led off this time by my daughter’s future father-in-law. We then retired to the hotel where the wedding reception was to take place after the wedding. With most of the out-of-town guests also staying at the same hotel, it was a further chance to spend time with family members.
The wedding was to be an early afternoon affair, so all the normal wedding activities were compressed into just a few short hours before everyone had to be at the church. While my wife hustled herself and our daughter to the hair salon, my task was to pick up sandwiches for the wedding party as a 10:15 arrival time at the church meant that none of them would have any other chance to eat before the 1:30 PM wedding.
As I arrived at the church, my daughter was just coming out of the dressing room for photos (taken by the incredible Amy Dale) when I saw her down the hall in her wedding dress for the first time. I swooned at the sight of seeing my “daddy’s little girl” so beautiful in her wedding dress.
Everyone squeezed in a bite or two between photo sessions and then before we knew, guests began to arrive. As we awaited the final moment hidden away in the anteroom, I could hardly contain my excitement.
Once all the rest of the bridesmaid had departed down the aisle and it was just me and my daughter left, I seem to recall I gave her a hug seeing tears in her eyes and said we can do this. But as Pachelbel’s Cannon in D started, the music she had selected for her entrance, a piece that was special to both of us since I had helped her discover classical music many, many years ago, my eyes were also filled with tears. I had completely forgotten that was what she had selected.
With tears in both our eyes now, I extended my arm and we began our walk down the aisle. I recall thinking at the time (and still do, to this day) that this was one of the best days of my life and one of the happiest moments in my life. It is a truly special treat for a father to get to walk his lovely daughter down the aisle on her absolutely special day.
After giving her hand to my soon-to-be son-in-law, I joined my wife on the front row, this time on the left side of the aisle.
Their priest led a wonderful mass adding many personal touches as he knew the couple well when they were at UC Berkeley. At one point, he led them over to the side of the alter to a spot where, prior to the church renovation, he stated that my wife and I, and my wife’s parents would have exchanged our own wedding vows many years previously.
It all seemed to go too fast and soon the newlyweds were making their way down the aisle.
Then it was off to the reception where there was a cocktail hour before the wedding party’s entrance to the reception. We all then made our grand entrance and the festivities began.
It was a large seated dinner…
…followed by toasts…
…and a slide show they had put together of snapshots of each of them growing up finishing with photos of their lives together.
Then the dances started.
When it came time for the “father-bride” dance, it was another very special moment for me, the true culmination of all the father-daughter dances we had attended together. When I whispered to my daughter that her mom and I had been secretly taking dance lessons so we would not make fools of ourselves, my daughter cracked up laughing.
Dancing went on for another hour or so interspersed with the cake cutting.
When the couple made their exit through a crowd of well-wishers blowing bubbles, I had been upstairs getting the top of the cake to take home. When I heard the cheers downstairs, I rushed to the balcony to see them off (that’s me to the right on the third-floor balcony applauding).
As everyone began to depart, I reflected back that it was an absolutely beautiful wedding a fabulous day overall.
The next day was Father’s Day and it could not have been a more special one as the newlyweds came by in the afternoon to share the cake topper with all of us.
Since they had no idea where they would be a year from now, they figured it would be better to share the cake with all their family while we were all still together.
After what was a joyous but sometimes hectic four days, it was a bit sad to be saying goodbye to the couple and his parents. The newlyweds were heading back to California before leaving on their honeymoon and our son-in-law’s parents were heading back to their home.
Someone was kind enough to capture this shot of all of us at that bittersweet moment. While there was a tinge of sadness, none of us six could have imagined the joys we would be sharing together over the next few years visiting with one another and greeting the first of two grandchildren for both sets of parents.
And this week, my daughter and her husband will be celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary.