Once upon a time, there was a little girl twirling around in a white dress complete with her mama’s white heels. With this huge smile on her face, she danced and oozed with excitement as she clippety clopped down the hall. This little princess was my daughter at just two years old.
The years went by way too fast for my liking, and my little princess grew into a beautiful young lady. She met her Prince Charming while in college, and they dated for four years before he popped the question. He allowed me to be in on the surprise, so we planned a “family picture day.” When his side of the family and ours arrived, we did pose for family pictures. Then, we made our way over to the pond with everyone but her knowing what was getting ready to take place. It was a clear, perfect November day with the fall leaves changing along the pond when he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.
Ah … young love!
Wedding planning for this starry eyed couple began, and I was allowed the honor of preparing for their special day yet again. It thrilled my heart how they allowed me to be such an important part of these big events in their lives. They didn’t have to include me at all in the planning phase, and yet they did! At one point, our princess said she would be happy with a courthouse wedding, she just wanted to be his wife! While there isn’t anything wrong with a courthouse wedding, I knew deep down in my heart that was not going to be good enough for my princess.
We set out looking for THE perfect dress. While stopping at this one store, the nice ladies were trying to convince my princess that one of their dresses was “the one” for her. She certainly looked gorgeous in any gown, but the reaction she had when she saw herself in the mirror was not one that indicated to me that she was in love with the dress. I was in the doghouse when I made her leave that store in order to make the appointment at 3 p.m. at another bridal store. While there, though, I pulled every style of dress off of the rack, determined to find the perfect one for her! She was a bit overwhelmed and ready to call it quits, yet I asked her to try “just” one more. When she slipped on this one dress in particular, she almost squeal with delight when she turned around and saw herself in the mirror for the very first time! THAT was the reaction I was waiting for … and she, indeed, had found “the dress” at that point. It was perfect for her, with a high price tag, too, with NINE layers of lace but together we made her dreams come true with that particular dress, complete with long veil to match, and a princess tiara, too!
Our princess was not getting bogged down in the details of the wedding planning either, she was too in love with her prince to care about anything other than becoming his wife. She said she wasn’t much of a planner, meanwhile I live and breathe in planning mode! I can’t just throw something together last minute, oh no, months in advance I’m organizing, printing programs, thinking of flowers, tulle, and other decorations for the wedding spot she chose by our pond and for the tables at the reception.
Fast forward ten months to “the” day, and our princess got her fairytale wedding! She has always loved Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and The Beast. Those were her absolute favorite Disney movies as a little girl. I remember many days of watching these movies until I could almost recite the lines word for word. It was rather fitting that she chose music from both movies as well, and it did enhance the atmosphere. The little ring bearer even commented as we waited, “That sounds like the song from Beauty and The Beast!” And … it was. His mom recognized it also, and smiled and nodded. I expected his two sisters to recognize the song, since they were dressed like little princesses themselves as our flower girls. Yet, it was the little boy making mention of the song – priceless!
Our princess personalized the music, and her prince walked down the aisle to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. He walked down the grassy strip lined with white and mint green rose petals, then he took his place in front of the wooden arch. The bridal party started making their way down one by one. The groomsmen wore gray tuxes with mint green bow ties, and the bridesmaids, carrying a bouquet of lavender, ivory, and pink flowers, wore mint green formal gowns. The song transitioned into “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen alternated until the maid of honor (Sister of the bride) and the best man walked down followed by the two flower girls and our “ring security” (ring bearer) complete with black sunglasses, briefcase, and a badge! How adorable!
And then …
The Bridal March (by The Violin Sisters) began to play, as our princess bride began to make her way down the aisle to her prince. We practiced this the night before at the rehearsal dinner, taking it ever so slow as we enjoyed the violin music on the way down. Yet, that day, her wedding day, she started out the gate like a racehorse, and we literally had to slow her down! It was quite funny, but thankfully she listened when I whispered for her to take it slow. Her granddaddy was on her right, and I was on her left. She had chosen to give us both the honor and privilege of walking her on her special day. We were extremely touched when she asked us! No, this was not the traditional way, but it was her wedding. She personalized that, too, and it was truly beautiful for her granddaddy and I to be a part of her special day. (She also picked out the dress I wore!)
When we reached her awaiting prince, my husband and my mother, the bride’s grandmother, joined us. The pastor asked, “Who gives the blessing on this marriage?” My father, her grandfather, replied, “We, as her family, do!” Then I hugged my little princess, joined hands with my father, and we made our way to our seats to watch their lives joining together as one!
It was an extremely moving ceremony. The couple chose the sand ceremony to symbolize their lives joining together, and just as you could no longer separate the grains of sand once combined in one single vase, this couple cannot be separated either now. While taking turns pouring the gray sand and the mint green sand into the vase, “I’ve Been Waiting For You” from the Mamma Mia movie played, and the lyrics moved us to tears. As if that wasn’t enough, shortly thereafter, the couple began to exchange vows they had written for each other. When the prince started speaking, his voice quivered and shook as he began to get emotional. I was doing okay up until that point, but there was no holding back any longer. The dam broke, and the flood of tears started. There is something so incredibly heart warming and special about a man not being afraid to show his emotions. He stood in front of his princess, speaking the most beautiful words from the depths of his soul and pouring out his heart as we all sat witnessing it unfold. Next, our princess shared her vows, and again, we could feel the emotions that were poured into writing these words to her prince.
As the pastor said, “You may kiss your bride,” the couple began their special handshake, which had us all smiling and laughing at that point. They sealed the deal with a beautiful kiss, though, and after being introduced as husband and wife, walked out hand in hand and heart to heart together to Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon A Dream.”
The festivities continued with a barbecue feast at the reception. At the prince’s request, we had the traditional Southern “pig picking” with hash and rice, barbecue meat with sauce, green beans, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, wedding cake and brownies, too! We were extremely pleased with the caterer and with the wedding cake as well! Everything was so perfect, we almost had to pinch ourselves!
After the couple cut the cake and took a variety of fun pictures, we made our way to the patio area that served as their dance floor. The couple danced their “first dance” to “I Was Made For Loving You” by Tori Kelly followed by the father/daughter dance to “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. They added a dance especially for the bride and her grandfather as well, and they danced to “Grandpa” by The Judds. Toasts and speeches were given in honor of the beautiful couple.
The “getaway” car was none other than her granddaddy’s fully restored 1957 Chevy Bel-Air two door, hard top, and he was the chauffeur! I don’t know who was smiling wider, the couple or my daddy, as the newlyweds made their way through the “jazz” hands that formed a bridge for them to walk under! At the end, the candy apple red beauty waited, and the couple was ushered inside by the bride’s granddaddy.
Our princess did, indeed, have her fairytale wedding after all.
And the couple is living happily ever after!