Wedding season is in full swing, and I want to share my favorite wedding story with all of you. I tell this story to every single bride-to-be I come into contact with as a reminder that even if your wedding day isn’t perfect, that doesn’t mean your marriage can’t be.
July 10, 2004 was a beautiful day. Aside from the sweltering heat, the weather was gorgeous. My friends Crystal and Clay were getting married that day. It was the wedding Crystal had dreamed of–an outdoor wedding on Clay’s family farm in Lawrenceburg, perfect for the country girl at heart. The wedding guests would sit on hay bales, there would be daisies everywhere, and the men would wear cowboy hats. It would be gorgeous.
There was a bit of a mishap in the afternoon when the fellas were having their pictures taken. Clay laid his cowboy hat down and a wasp got inside of it. When he put the hat back on, the wasp stung him. Since Clay is allergic to wasps, his head swelled to the point that his hat wouldn’t fit right and just sort of sat on top of his head.
One tiny problem. Nothing major. The beautiful wedding Crystal had planned for months was still on track.
As the day wore on, a storm rolled in. Like any bride with an outdoor wedding, Crystal had a backup plan–a large barn nearby. The mothers argued with Crystal about moving the ceremony inside. They insisted that the ceremony would be fine outside, until the lightning started. When the rain hit, it hit hard.
What followed was a series of unfortunate events that would’ve had most brides curled up in a corner somewhere, rocking and pulling their hair out.
The bride and bridesmaids ran from the house where we’d gotten ready to the limo that would drive us to the barn. Inside, we did a quick champagne toast…which I proceeded to spill all over myself and a fellow bridesmaid, Kristin. We ran back into the house to use a blowdryer to dry the spill from our dresses. Luckily, the material was shiny and a bit metallic, so it wasn’t noticeable at all.
We exited the limo beneath an array of umbrellas. The dogs had been put in a cage in the barn so they wouldn’t run loose during the wedding, and because of the storm they were absolutely losing their minds, barking like crazy.
There wasn’t enough seating for guests. The hay bales they were supposed to sit on were drenched with rain.
As Crystal’s father walked her down the aisle, her nephew ran across the aisle behind her, stepping on her cathedral-length train and pulling it off of her dress.
Her train. Fell off. Her dress.
Once she was up the aisle, the wedding went pretty smoothly. When it was over, the bride and groom hopped into a limo and left–just to have a few minutes alone before returning for pictures and the reception.
They were gone for over an hour. No one knew where they were. We finished all the photographs we could take without the bride and groom. Finally, a very loud flatbed Dodge truck made it way up the gravel drive to the barn, and Clay and Crystal hopped out of the passenger side. We stared, completely confused. They’d left in a limo. They returned in a truck driven by some guy we’d never seen. Crystal quickly explained–
The limo had broken down.
They’d hitchhiked back to the wedding.
They’d hitchhiked. Back. To the wedding.
At this point, all the bridesmaids were starting to wonder what Crystal’s breaking point would be. We gathered, we talked, we strategized. We were not going to let our friend fall apart. I heard someone gasp and I raised my head from the circle to glance back at Crystal. She was standing with Clay near the front of the barn, smiling and posing for pictures.
There was a dog standing right next to her with his leg hiked up.
The dog. Peed. On her dress.
After that, Crystal decided to change into the white sundress she’d purchased for the reception. We all ran back to the house to help her, and as she slipped it on, one of the straps broke. Because, of course.
Through it all, Crystal never lost her composure. She was so happy, and took every single thing in stride. When I made my toast, I told her that if the two of them could survive that wedding, they could survive anything.
Almost ten years and two beautiful children later, they’re still going strong.
Remember, as much planning as you put into your wedding and as perfect as you want it to be–something will go wrong. (Or, in Crystal’s case, a whole lot of somethings.) Don’t let yourself get so caught up in the details that you forget the end result–you’re marrying the person you love. Whether the weather doesn’t cooperate or the music is wrong or a dog pees on you, at the end of the day you will be married. Don’t let anything ruin that.