- Sonya Leigh Anderson
The day was perfect. And yes, we do tend to think every day is close to perfect, here at the lake. But Sunday exceeded all expectations.
I hadn’t slept much the night before. Too much excitement, and too many mom-thoughts, no doubt. Later I found out the same was true for the mom of our bride. A bit of dozing just before the sun’s arrival and then wide awake and It’s Here! The day of The Wedding.
I started out just like every morning, a strong cup of coffee and my Bible, settled into an Adirondack rocker on our east-facing front porch. Primed for prayer, but before I could utter any kind of coherent petition, spontaneous praise erupted from awestruck soul and lips. “Oh, God! I can’t believe…so amazing…everything perfect…thank you. Thank you.”
It wasn’t just weather. Sun shining brilliant after several days of haze. Temps in the 70’s, humidity low. Bluest skies, kiss of breeze. But it was more. And I’m serious. The way the birds sang their songs that morning. The way I had to stop my praying to identify this curious sound; realizing it was our trees, and they were really and truly clapping their hands. I’m not making this up. The one scripture I turned to—ribbon marked from the day before—just happened to be a Wedding Song. And it happened like this. All day long.
It was perfect.
I got to watch from a distance, bride and groom transformed in stages throughout the day. Brina and her family, and a few special gals, staying two doors down, in their Airbnb. Nils and his buddies spending their bachelor nights in our Black Squirrel Bunkhouse. The young men, including the groom, managed to spend a good share of wedding-morning on the lawn playing bags, while gals, I’m sure, were waiting in line for their chance at the shower.
The bride and groom saw each other in stages, too. It was an evening wedding. A low-key rehearsal scheduled for noon, when the pastor and his family arrived from Iowa. Nils practiced walking me down the aisle, and I pretended not to let him go. Brina’s Dad practiced walking her safety down our path of landscape rock. The bride tried practicing the final kiss with the groom on several occasions. And the pastor, dearest friend of the young couple, practiced variations of Mr. & Mrs.
Of course there was an official first-look, late afternoon, with only our photographer daughter-in-law present. Later I'd look at pictures, pretty certain I could tell the difference between the staged expressions, and the heart-pounding awe of wedding-day love. And they were perfection. Nils sporting his custom-fit suit, hair long, curls unruly, just like my favorite kindergarten picture. Brina’s simple elegance paired with Birkenstock sandals—her own curls a labor of love from her sister.
At six o’clock my firstborn (and the groom’s oldest brother) began his acoustic prelude, haunting melody and purest vocals, accompanied by rustling leaves and birdsong. Grandparents and parents, and wedding guests, hearts united, All Glory Be To Christ.
And then. My son, the groom, takes his place under the arbor, and it’s time. Vocals end, we stand and turn, and she’s there. Just like we imagined it a hundred times. Only now it’s real. Our son’s bride and her dad make their way slowly down those rocks, while the groom’s dad sneaks a peak at his boy’s expression, just to make sure. And it’s perfect.
Everything is perfect. Later, during dinner, I think of all the things. The barn-wood arbor, handcrafted by my husband, draped in a wonderful swag of flowers. Nils and Brina holding hands, nudging each other during the pastor’s message. The screech of an eagle and the chatter of squirrels in a tree nearby. And their wedding vows. I meant to tell them. How I always pay attention to the vows. And theirs were perfect. Perfect combination of two unique human beings pledging themselves to lifetime devotion, and not only to each other, but trusting fully in their union with Christ.
Later we’d gather at festive tables overlooking sunset waters, and we’d sing a blessing, led by my husband. So much love from an earthly father, tender affection for his newest daughter, the family gathered around these tables, and the grandchildren, too.
And then it’s over. We hug them close one last time, and watch them drive away to their new forever. We wander back to the candlelit patio, and make our way through light-strung aspens, to the path to the lake. I look up at the sky and Grant suggests a late-night walk to the end of the dock. And my husband and I and two adult sons stand in awe, taking in the riot of stars and shimmering water. And we marvel again. At how perfect it was.