I still remember that anxious girl just a few days away from her wedding. She spent months hand making décor and finalizing details and suddenly, all of it went out the door. Here I was only 2 days away from my wedding, sitting in the emergency room with a bumpy purple rash the size of my hand spreading across my face and down my neck. The doctor told me it would take 2 weeks to clear, and if I didn’t stop crying it would only get worse. A friend of mine recommended a naturopath doctor so I gave it a shot. Mom stayed up all night praying while I balled my eyes out. By some miracle that I still can’t wrap my head around, the rash cleared up within 24 hours.
The morning of the wedding I woke up letting go of it all. All the expectations, the anxiety, the dramatic “what if” scenarios that would never happen. The girls and I spent the morning getting dolled up and playing video games. As we arrived to the waterfront venue overlooking the city skyline, my sister grabbed my arm and whispered, “Ariba stop, look around. It’s so, so beautiful today”. It was warm, bright and sunny with a subtle breeze. I got out of my head and into reality. I just want to take this in. After my bridesmaids and I took our photos around the garden I made my way up to the rooftop where our ceremony would begin.
Everyone started walking out and suddenly my wedding planner runs in. “Ariba, it’s so windy outside the flowers and walkway, everything is flying off. We have to take everything down”. I took a deep breath and nodded. I turned around to my shy little niece who was just about to walk down the aisle and drop petals. I squeezed her tiny hands and told her how much I loved her, “Just have fun, I’ll be right behind you”. She smiled and nodded, comforting my nerves more than I probably comforted hers.
Dad came from behind me, seeing me for the first time. He was biting his lips to prevent himself from crying and held my face with both of his hands. I felt everything he was feeling without him saying a word. We went up the elevator and onto the rooftop, “We’re up dad!” He grabbed my waist and began to walk me down the runway, my nerves suddenly kicked in full force. I closed my eyes to hear the harpist playing and took a deep breath. I opened my eyes to my beautiful fiancé, smiling ear to ear. I suddenly felt a gust of wind and my veil went flying across the entire ceremony. Everyone busted out into a hysterical laughter as I tried to contain my own laughter. Well, the edge was definitely off at this point, why am I nervous? It’s just us! Haha!
Ken’s groomsman caught the veil and my sister popped it back on my head as everyone clapped and cheered. Dad and I continued our way down the aisle. Ken and I locked eyes as Dad passed my hand onto his. Everything is a bit of a blur after that, I just remember smiling. My cousin grabbed my attention and pointed to the ground right next to my dress. A beautiful gold butterfly, just sitting there next to me fluttering its’ wings. I looked out at the water as the Imam spoke, relishing in his poetic sermon.
As the ceremony came to an end we made our way into the reception area. Ken poured his heart out during the speeches, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. All his big, tough boys were wiping tears off their faces as I rubbed his back to get him through his speech. After dinner our MC asked Ken to escort his “Wife” up to cut the cake. I remember mumbling “Oh my God, he said wife, so weird.. so weird!” I heard a roar of laughter behind me, me mic was still on and I had no idea! Haha!
As we made our rounds to greet our friends and family I finally took a look around to see all of the details I worked so hard to put together. I thought to myself, “I’m seeing them at the end of the night and probably won’t remember any of it”.
There were months and months of planning and an entire entourage of people that helped me bring this dream I didn’t even know I had to life. At the end I still think back to my sister telling me to stop and look around, to take it in. I remember my veil flying off and laughing hysterically with my friends and family. I remember the emotions running through me as Ken poured his heart out during his speech. I remember squeezing Mom and Dads’ trembling hands as they walked me to the car at the end of night. Mom asked “You’re leaving me? You’re going home”? I demanded to know.. “Who made these rules anyway mama? Can’t I just stay with you forever”? Ken gave my mom a hug and grabbed me by the waist.
“Let’s go home baby”.