What I want to tell brides on their wedding day is that it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if it rains.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the hottest day on record, and the air condition in the reception hall–on the 33rd floor of the beachfront hotel–breaks down.
It doesn’t matter if you wake with your period which wasn’t expected for another week.
It doesn’t matter if the photographer’s car breaks down on the Parkway and he won’t make it in time for the photo shoot at the hotel you booked to serve as “home” because your parents aren’t speaking to each other.
It doesn’t matter if the flowers arrive all wrong just as you hang up the phone with said photographer.
It doesn’t matter if your mother has finally hit bottom, and arrives with matted hair, barely able to stand.
It doesn’t matter if your best friend–the one you’re about to marry–uncharacteristically sabotages the wedding he so wanted by getting so drunk the night before that he wakes you in the middle of the night, just to slur how much he loves you before hanging up the phone to run to the toilet.
It doesn’t matter that the best man thinks this story is so funny that he repeats it to you, emphasizing how it was “coming out both ends.”
It doesn’t matter that your father first refuses to ride in the limousine with you on the way to the church because it leaves out your step mother.
It doesn’t matter that none of the photos taken (on your father’s camera) of you with both your parents (without your stepmother) never materialize.
It doesn’t matter if the minister talks about the disappointments of marriage instead of the blessings; or if he squeezes your hand so tightly–when introducing you to the congregation as husband and wife–that your diamond cuts into your pinkie.
It doesn’t matter if someone passes out in front of the musicians at communion.
It doesn’t matter if your aunt screams, “You’ll ruin her dress!” about the bubbles you distributed for the guests to blow.
It doesn’t matter if tiny little black bugs fill your veil and bite your entire wedding party so that someone is scratching in every photo.
It doesn’t matter that there is an awkward, exacting silence (instead of applause) when you are introduced as a married couple for the first time because you’ve omitted last names to avoid the glaring focus that nothing changed about them.
It doesn’t matter if your deejay plays all the songs carefully delineated on your “no play” list including “Shout,” and “We are Family.”
It doesn’t matter if the bouquet hits a chandelier and breaks across your sister’s face.
It doesn’t matter if your friends leave without you and you have to call for a ride after the reception.
It doesn’t matter if your husband drops you across the threshold.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t like weddings or dressing up or being the center of attention.
It doesn’t matter because somehow there is grace.
There must be.
Because even though every one of those things (except for a handful which happened to friends) happened to me, I still felt r-a-d-i-a-n-t and b-l-e-s-s-e-d on that crappy/beautiful day.
And still do,
25 anniversaries later.
May it be the same for you.