My little sister spent the night, the night before the wedding. And while the others slept blissfully unaware, she and I slipped out early Saturday morning to get donuts. Whenever we're together, she and I, somehow we usually end up having donuts - not the fresh made ones from a local bakery, but the marvelously cakey ones that come in boxes of 12, smothered in a slippery chocolate shell, or covered with enough powdered sugar to leave a white splotchy mess on your clothes when you eat them, no matter how neat you try to be. Over all the stress of the week leading up to my wedding, she was there, laughing with me over remembered escapades from childhood years and reminding me that it would somehow all work out.
So when I still did not have all the outfits by the time we were to leave for the church, and one of those outfits was hers, I called the seamstress and explained quite calmly that I didn't care if she had to finish sewing there in the bridal room - she was coming over *now*, and she was bringing my little sister's dress with her.
At this point, it went from bad to worse. Ivymoon and my older sister's dresses seemed to have been mismatched with bodices and skirt. The junior bridesmaid's dress would not zip all the way. The ushers were not completed, and two groomsmen still had no shirts. It had been somewhat of a nervous joke the past week that the outfits would still be under construction the day of the wedding, but when we stood there, with a sanctuary full of people downstairs, waiting for the outfits to be finished, somehow it wasn't quite so funny anymore.
Suddenly people were pouring out of the woodwork offering to help - wonderful people. Richard's oldest sister (my almost twin now because we're five days apart!) managed to find choir robes that could be belted up and voila! - we had shirts for the ushers. A few members of the dance troupe came forward to help the guys get their swords and belts and boots on right. Ivy's fiance played gopher, helping with outfits, lighting candles, and Bethy came in and calmly did all the bridesmaids' hair and even helped fix the dresses.
Even though the ceremony started an hour late, it was wonderful. The ring bearer was properly serious, once convinced that he really did need to wear his red and white checked jester's costume. The flower girl had no problems with her pale satin back-laced gown , but wanted nothing to do with her fairy wings, and she charmed the entire audience when she took the basket of flower petals from her father (who followed behind trying to show her what to do), dumped them onto the floor, and then said 'uh oh' and plopped down to try to clean up the mess she figured she'd made. At eighteen months, we'd pretty much been holding our breath the whole time, not sure if she'd even be willing to make that trek down the aisle, but she did it and stole the show.
And then it was my turn and from there it's all somewhat of a blur. I remember the minister speaking the words we'd given to her, but I couldn't tell you what they were now without looking them up again. I remember my dad's voice wobbling as he gave me away. I remember holding Richard's hand as we listened to the readings. I remember our parents joining us in front to read and light our candles. and having to work at keeping from crying as we read pieces of an Irish blessing to each other while the best man and the maid of honor took lit candles down the aisles until everyone else's were lit. And most of all I remember standing there, my eyes locked onto this incredible man whom I was lucky enough to marry, thinking that everything we'd had to go through was worth it, just to get to this moment when, rings on our fingers and vows said, we were pronounced husband and wife.