Through the hazy glass panels, I saw him. My dad. A man I’ve admired my whole life. Sitting. Waiting. Prepping his heart and mind to hold her in his arms for the last time. The first time, of course, being when the doctor passed that pink little blanket in his direction and said those four unforgettable words, “Here’s your baby girl.”
I beckoned him outside and told him, “It’s time to go.” Another four words he’ll never forget. Nor will I. For a moment, a brief one, a flash in the plan that no one else might’ve seen except the person starting directly into his eyes and seeing through to his heart, he hesitated, like his feet were glued to the floor, or he’d stepped on tape. He knew he had to go. He knew he wanted to go. But, subconsciously, it was as if his feet weren’t ready to step in to his new role in her life… because that meant, of course, stepping aside.
A single red rose in his right hand, moving a little slower than normal, holding himself a little tighter than usual, taking it all in no faster than he needed to, he walked with me. I described what was ahead. I explained what was to come. Where he should stand. What he should do. But he didn’t hear me. He didn’t even look up. His head was down and his eyes were lowered, because all he could think about… was her.
About her swaddled in blankets and in her cute Christmas pajamas. About her running on the pee wee soccer field with cleats on her feet, cheering on the high school track with pom-poms in her hands, and, most recently, with a cap on her head and college diploma in her hand, walking across the graduation stage. With each step, with every pace, he walked through a living timeline of her life with him, a hall hung with moments and a path paved with memories, reading the cornerstones of hers while at the same time writing one of the capstones of his.
She hid behind a tall, arched, wooden gate, waiting for his arrival. Outstretched branches and overgrown leaves strained to lean in, hoping to be lucky enough to catch a glimpse or perhaps a listen. He anchored his feet in place. One reluctant foot after the next. Clutched the rose with his right hand again, if it’s possible to clutch and shake at the same time, that is. With just seconds remaining, he bowed his head, closed his eyes, and did what he’d always taught her to do.
Then, as quiet as quiet could be, the spindled-style door slowly glided open. And time did what it does in moments like these: it froze. She wasn’t swaddled in blankets this time. The ballet flats and pom-poms were left home. Like Cinderella going to the ball, it was reminiscent of those things, yet, not the same at all. Draped in white, heels on her feet, and a bouquet of flowers in her hand, she reached out, touched him on his shoulder, and before he could turn around, I’m almost positive I heard God say what the doctor did twenty-two years ago, “Here’s your baby girl.”
Caelen and Austin, we love you. We’re so proud of you both we could burst. For the man and woman you are. For the family you’ve become. And for the grandkids you’ll hopefully bring into the world soon to distract Mom from the fact that we haven’t. Also, not that you had a choice (because we wouldn’t have allowed it be anyone else), but nevertheless thank you for trusting us to photograph your wedding. And we’d be remiss — wouldn’t we? — if we didn’t thank the creative team who made the fairytale of your dreams come true. From El Chorro for hosting and serving, to Outstanding Occasions for designing and planning, to Sarah’s Garden for floraling, and to Melissa and Karlee for photographing what physics said we couldn’t, and everyone in-between who’s certainly credited down below, thank you, from the bottom of our heart, for looking after our little sister’s wedding and taking such good care of her. Thank you will never be enough.
the WEDDING TEAM…
Event Designer: Outstanding Occasions
DJ: Push Play Entertainment
Bride’s Dress: Melissa Sweet at David’s Bridal
Bride’s Rings: Vera Wang
Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson Blues
Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal
Catering: El Chorro
Ceremony Location: El Chorro
Dessert: Twelve Cakes Bakery
Floral Design: Sarah’s Garden
Groomsmen Suits: Kenneth Cole
Groom’s Suit: Kenneth Cole
Hair Stylist: Erin Fink
Invitations: Champagne Press
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens
Macarons: Ruze Cake House
Makeup Artist: Arielle Rondeau
Officiant: Dustin Tappan
Photographers: Amy & Jordan
Ceremony Photographers: Melissa Jill & Karlee K
Reception Location: El Chorro
the GEAR USED for this WEDDING…