Last week I had the absolute privilege of being the Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. My sweet Christina lived with me through all four years of college, stood in my wedding, moved to Raleigh at the same time we did, and later flew all the way to South Korea to visit us. After my family, she is the person I love most in the world.
Christina is one of those girls who has it all – beauty, brains, humor, kindness, and a love for adventure – and yet for some inexplicable reason she was still single after many of our friends were married. This was hard sometimes, but Christina was always gracious about it. So when she met Andy last summer and it quickly became clear that this was a serious thing I couldn’t have been happier for her. Well, I would have been a little happier if this huge life event (meeting the ONE and getting engaged) hadn’t happened while I was on the other side of the world, but that’s just my selfishness talking.
The weeks and days before the wedding were stressful, like many weddings are, with more than their fair share of double-booked venues, botched dress alterations, and a million little details that seemed like they would never come together, but the stress of this wedding was compounded by the fact that Christina’s dad was very sick throughout the whole process. He passed away just two months before the wedding and she had to accept the unthinkable – that her dad wouldn’t be there to walk her down the aisle. So. Many. Feelings.
I left Columbia on Wednesday to head to Raleigh for the beginning of the wedding festivities. On Wednesday night we had a little bachelorette party with mostly local friends which included copious amounts of fondu and the most classic of all bachelorette activities – mini golf.
Thursday was rehearsal day and the first half of the day was absolute chaos. In an effort to be helpful I made several trips to the airport, to the craft store, and to pick up food and drinks to make sure the bride-to-be remembered to eat. One of the most fun things about this wedding was that the other women in the wedding party were also some of my best friends, so it was roommate reunion all over again.
Aside from the weather (which was pouring down rain all day for several days) everything from the rehearsal on Thursday night onward flowed like a dream and suddenly it was late Friday afternoon and we were zipping her into her dress and adjusting her veil and holding our bouquets and walking down the aisle to stand at the front of the church as Christina and Andy became a family.
I cry at all weddings. Weddings of people I know and weddings of strangers and weddings of characters in movies. There is something about that moment when the bride steps onto the aisle and she is radiant and gloriously happy and the groom’s eyes (and everyone else’s) are locked on her like he never in his wildest dreams imagined someone so beautiful would choose him forever. It’s magical. But this wedding – this moment when the doors opened and my best friend in the world stepped onto that aisle holding onto her brother’s arm, with her train and her veil trailing behind her, I couldn’t even breathe.
You guys. I ugly-cried.
I tried so hard to get it under control, but of course that just meant my face was all red and contorted doing that thing where you try to smile through it, but your whole face is twitching and your nose is running from the effort. I was a hot mess. Thankfully, nobody was looking at me (except Jonathan who confirmed that I was indeed ugly-crying) because everyone was so mesmerized by Christina’s bridal beauty.
And then, in the blink of an eye, the ceremony was over and she was Mrs. Proctor and we all headed out to the most exquisite reception I had ever seen.
As the Matron of Honor, I got to give a toast at the reception. This was my first experience writing a toast and I found it to be more difficult than I expected. Striking that perfect balance between being light and fun for people who aren’t as close to the bride as you are while also saying things that are meaningful to your friend and the relationship you have with her is tricky. Add to this the fact that my devotion to Christina borders on the creepy and you can imagine how tough of an assignment this was. But after much deliberation (and much vetoing of my ideas by Jonathan) I found a way to say how much I love her, how beautiful and holy marriage is, and how very happy I am for the two of them.
And then, we danced. And by we, I mostly mean me. I danced like a fool (because I am an epically bad dancer) for hours. And it was glorious.
At the end of the night, I hugged my sweet friend and kissed her cheek and then we all sent her off in a shower of sparklers to their honeymoon in Tahiti (dreamy, right?)
Week 39 was an epic adventure. We’ve got 13 weeks left and I don’t know that anything will top this, but I’m willing to try!
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