To Have Loved...

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Getting Married

The week went way too quick and tonight is the rehearsal at the church and then dinner. I took the week off of work and spent it with the girls getting caught up on their lives, going shopping, and sharing stories of our college days. If I wasn’t with the girls, I was with Stacy and my beautiful nieces and nephew getting to know them and spoiling them rotten.

“Babe?” I called out to Ian while I was searching for rehearsal bouquet made during my bridal shower. “Have you seen my bouquet?”

“What bouquet? I thought those were being picked up tomorrow before the ceremony by your mom,” he replied.

“Not those, this is the one with the ribbons all over it that we made during my bridal shower. I thought I brought it out to the kitchen, but I can’t…”

“It’s right here Sarah,” he says with a smile as he pulled it down from the top of the fridge. Why was it up there? I thought to myself and then chuckled as I took it from him. “Come on, let’s get going,” he chuckled along with me.

Ian grabbed our bags and loaded them into the car. We each had a small bag for our night clothes and what we were going to wear tomorrow before the wedding since I would be staying at my parents and Ian at his. We also had a couple of suitcases ready to go for our wedding night and our honeymoon that we would be leaving for the day after the wedding.

We plan on staying at a small motel after the wedding and then open our gifts the next morning at my parents before heading to the airport. They would take our gifts back to our apartment while we were gone. Our wedding attire was already at our parents since I didn’t want him to peek at my dress and it was easier than hauling them back and forth.

We drove straight to the church after arriving in New Salem and went inside to meet the pastor and wait for the rest of our wedding party. They each arrived on time and we went up to the front of the church to get our instructions.

Like my sister’s wedding, the guys were goofing around at this time and missed half of what they were supposed to be doing. I really thought they would mature a little bit in the last five years, but I guess not, I laugh to myself.

We did a full walk through and to my surprise everyone did what they were supposed to and it went quick and easy. I couldn’t help my nerves when we were going through the part where we will recite our vows and exchange the rings, but Ian kept rubbing his thumbs over the backs of my fingers to calm me down with a smile on his face.

We headed to restaurant in town for dinner which Ian’s parents set up a nice buffet with a variety of food for our guests for the evening. It was wonderful to have our family and friends there with us and I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to finally become Ian’s wife.

“Goodnight everyone and see you tomorrow,” Ian said as our friends and family left the restaurant before turning to me. “I’m going to miss you tonight,” he said with small smile while looking into my eyes.

“I’m going to miss you too,” I said. “It’s been awhile since I have slept alone and I really hate to do it again.”

“Me too, but it will go quickly and then you will be with every night for the rest of our lives,” he says before kissing my forehead and pulling me close. “I love you Sarah.”

“I love you, Ian,” I reply and give him a big hug.

He placed his hands on my cheeks and pulled me in for a kiss before I headed to my parents car to go back to their place and he got in his car. I watched him drive away before climbing into the backseat. Only one night…it’s only one night… I repeated to myself over and over.

*******

I woke up to my mother pulling the blankets off of me while Stacy pulled my curtains open letting the bright sunlight into the room. I tried to grab the blankets to cover my head, but Mom was too quick and pulled them away from me again.

“It’s the big day Sarah, time to get up. We have a lot to do today and…”

“Mom, slow down. I think you are more nervous than I am right now,” I laugh. “Everything will be OK,” I finish. It will be OK, right?

“Sarah is right Mom, everything will be OK. Let her get up and shower and then we will eat breakfast and go from there,” Stacy said with a smile directed at me as if she had read my mind a moment ago.

After they left my room, I got up and grabbed my shower bag and went into the bathroom. I did my business, showered and brushed my teeth and hair. I pulled on a pair of leggings and a blouse that was easily removable without having to pull over my head. I then joined Stacy, Mom and the kids for breakfast before we met the rest of the girls at the salon.

My gift to my bridesmaids was a full manicure and pedicure, along with an up-do hairstyle and full make-up. It was around 9:00 am, but with myself, the five girls, my mother, Emily and my two nieces, I knew it would take awhile. There were plenty of workers and we took turns getting our makeovers until everyone looked breathtakingly beautiful.

I cried a few times throughout the morning, but kept getting scolded after my make-up was on to not ruin it. It’s a good thing they used waterproof make-up because I know this is just the beginning of my happy tears.

Around noon, everyone was finished and we went back to my parents place to eat lunch and get dressed for the ceremony. As each minute passed getting closer and closer to 2:00 pm, my nerves picked up and I could barely stand in one place as I continuously paced the room before I was told it was my time to get my dress on.

I looked at my mom, Stacy and the other girls after they were all dressed and did my best to not cry again, but I couldn’t hold back my tears. I was so grateful to have these beautiful women standing there and being with me today.

“Alright ladies, everyone out now,” Mom started shooing all the girls out but Stacy. Emily agreed to watch Hope, Haley and Kayden.

“Are you ready Sarah?” Stacy asked me and she removed my dress from the bag and placed my shoes on the floor next to the bed.

“I’ve been ready for this since I was sixteen,” I admitted and smiled at her.

I quickly went to the bathroom once more, because I knew I would be limited tonight once I was fully dressed. I made a mental note to not drink a lot.

I came back to the room and removed my clothes I had on, being careful to not pull on the veil that was already in my hair after being set earlier. I changed into a strapless bra and Stacy and Mom helped me into my dress and zipped it up in the back. I slipped on my shoes and moved to the mirror to take a look at my finished appearance.

I really have been dreaming about this moment for as long as I have known Ian and I can hardly believe that it is finally here. I held back my tears until my mother started talking as she came up behind me, putting her hands on waist.

“I can’t believe my baby is standing here where this beautiful woman appears in the mirror,” she begins trying to hold back her tears. She reaches for Stacy to join us and continues. “All I have ever wanted since the two of you were born was to see you happy and I know you both are and…” she broke down into sobs and Stacy and I joined in and pulled each other in for a group hug.

“OK, no more tears,” I said as I stepped back and tried to dry my face without smearing any of my make-up by waving my hands in front of it. Stacy started laughing catching herself doing the same thing.

“We really need to get going if we want to make it to the church on time,” Stacy reminded us. She grabbed my small bag along with hers and we went to the living room to meet the rest of the girls.

Mom handed each of the girls their floral bouquet and we headed outside. We live a couple of blocks from the church, so we decided to walk there. I just hoped the guys were already at the church like they were supposed to be so Ian doesn’t see me.

I looked up at the church when we arrived and said a silent prayer that everything would go as planned. I was still nervous, but I actually felt more relaxed than ever as I started climbing the steps.

Emily went in first to make sure that the guys were not in sight so we could all enter without being seen. It was now 1:30 pm and we were sitting in a room just off the main entrance waiting for the guests to arrive and the ceremony to begin.

At 2:00 pm sharp, a knock sounded on the door. Mom and Emily had already been seated, so Stacy opened the door to see my Dad standing there. “It’s time,” he says with a big smile.

Angie left the room first and headed to the main doors and began walking down the aisle followed by Marci, Shelby, Vicky and Stacy. Bobby carefully pushed Kayden in a stroller down the aisle with the rings on a small pillow lying on Kayden’s lap. Hope and Haley walked side by side carrying their flower baskets occasionally dropping a petal on the aisle as they walked.

“Are you ready?” Dad asked me as he reached his hand to me.

“Absolutely,” I said with a smile and took his hand. I gave him a big hug before setting my hand inside the crook of his arm and he led me to the doors.

The music changed as I reach the entryway and everyone stood up as Dad led me down the aisle to the most handsome man in the world waiting there just for me. I gave Ian the biggest smile as I could as I noticed the few tears that slipped from his eyes before he returned the smile.

When I reached Ian, my dad gave me another hug and placed my hand in Ian’s before standing next to my mother. Ian led me the rest of the way to the stairs and we stood in front of the pastor. I felt him squeeze my hand and I returned it as I glanced at him with another smile.

The pastor began the service with a welcome and a prayer. Nikki read a scripture, followed by Bethany and Jodi reading a poem. Ian’s friend from school read another scripture and now it was time for us to recite our vows.

“Ian and Sarah, it is now time for you share your vows and I ask you repeat after me…”

“I, Ian, take you, Sarah, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” Ian repeats after the pastor.

“I, Sarah, take you, Ian, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” I repeat after him.

Like the rehearsal, Ian rubs his thumbs over the backs of my fingers as he holds my hand to help both of our nerves as finish reciting our vows. I stare into his eyes the entire time and cannot remove the smile that is spreading over my entire face as I promise to love him and be there for him all of my life.

We then exchange rings after Bobby brings the ring pillow to Ian when the pastor asks for them and blesses them. The wedding band that Ian gave me connects to the engagement ring and sparkles even more under the lights of the church. The ring I give Ian is platinum and holds a small solitaire diamond right in the middle of it.

After we exchange the rings, Mom and Emily come up and light our baptism candles and give us each a hug before returning to their seats. Ian and I light our Unity Candle using those candles as our song plays in the background. I let a few tears slip as the chorus reminds us of the promise we just made to each other.

We return to our spots in front of the pastor as the song comes to an end and I know Ian was affected as much as me as I feel a tear hit the back of my hand as he held it as we walked together. I reached up and wiped the tears away with a smile before we faced the pastor once again.

“It is with a great honor that I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the pastor says. “You may now kiss the bride,” he finishes.

Ian places his hand on my cheek and pulls me in for a kiss and I wrap my arms around his neck. When we step back, I can feel everyone’s eyes on me and my cheeks automatically turn a bright pink and Ian’s lightly chuckles at my reaction.

Ian and I are asked to turn and face our family and friends. “I have the wonderful privilege to now introduce Ian and Sarah Grant. Congratulations!” The pastor concludes the service and everyone claps and cheers as Ian pulls me in for another kiss.

We walk up the aisle hand in hand and we reach the back, he picks me up and spins me around and kisses me again. “I love you so much Sarah,” he says as he places me back on my feet.

“I love you always,” I reply and kiss him again.

By now, the rest of our wedding party has joined us and hugs and congratulations were given all around. Ian and I line up by the door and are greeted by all of our family and friends that joined us for this special moment in our lives.

Before photos, we finalized our papers with the pastor and our witnesses signed the marriage license to make this completely real to us. We spent the next hour taking hundreds of photos of the two of us, pictures with the family and so many more!

Today has been so beautiful in every way and the weather was perfect for us to walk to the park where we holding our reception. Most of our family and friends were already there waiting for us and cheered as we walked into the pavilion where the food is to be served. Ian pulled me for another kiss before we took our seat at the table.

The pastor said a prayer before dinner and then Ian and I went get our food. We didn’t want anything extravagant, so we kept it a simple buffet with fried chicken or ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn or mixed vegetables, dinner roll and of course a dessert. We had a some non-meat options for the few friends/family that were vegetarians.

We went back to our seats and began to eat once the entire wedding party was seated. I was actually very hungry, but I reminded myself to not drink a lot because I really didn’t want to have to restroom often, especially here at the park. I did go before we left the church.

Since my family has this thing with kissing throughout dinner, we changed things up a bit. Instead of responding to guests hitting their glasses with forks, we told them they have to come up show us a kiss and we will do the same. I was shocked at how many couples came up throughout dinner, especially my parents and Ian’s parents.

“What are you thinking about?” Ian asked me as I sat looking around the pavilion as dinner was nearing the end.

“What?” I said after I realized Ian asked me something.

“I said, ‘what are you thinking about?’” he said with a laugh, as he pushed a strand of hair that came loose behind my ear and then kissed my exposed neck below my ear.

I shivered from the kiss and smiled. “Just at how blessed we are,” I replied.

“Hmmm,” Ian hummed into my neck sending another shiver through me.

“I mean, look at everyone out there,” I pointed to all our friends and family that were here. “They are all here for us,” I continue and try not to cry again.

“Hmmm,” Ian hummed again kissing my soft spot on my neck again.

Just as I was beginning to enjoy what he was doing, we were interrupted as Stacy began her Matron of Honor speech. She talked about how much she saw my love for Ian when she first met him and how she was ready to hurt him when I told her we broke up. She continued on about soul mates always finding their ways to each other no matter what and she knew that we were soul mates even though we needed time to find ourselves first.

I knew some of this was related to her and Jake, but it didn’t matter to me, I knew she was right.

She welcomed Ian as her brother and told me how she loved me and of how proud she is of the person I have become through everything we’ve been through. She finished with a hug as we cried into each other’s shoulders.

Aiden gave his speech, but it wasn’t as sappy as Stacy’s. He joked a lot about his big brother, but I know it was how they expressed love and saw how much Ian appreciated what was said. He welcomed me as his sister and gave us each a hug.

I was too emotional to say anything, so Ian thanked everyone for coming today and told them to enjoy the dance. The caterers cleaned everything up and my family and friends moved tables around to make a dance floor. The DJ set up his booth in the corner and was testing his equipment while I stepped outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air.

I listened to the laughter of the kids that were playing outside while things were being cleaned up. Hope and Bobby were chasing each other and I could hear Jake tell them to be careful and not to mess up their clothes. I never pictured Jake as a family man when I first met him, but he is a wonderful father and husband to my sister.

I felt a small tug on my veil and turned to see Kayden grab it as Stacy came out to stand next to me. I reached over and took him from her arms and made him smile as any three month old can.

“Thank you for what said in there,” I said to Stacy as I leaned my head on her shoulder.

She wrapped her arm around me. “I only spoke the truth,” she said quietly. I smiled and closed my eyes for a few moments enjoying this moment with my big sister. Despite the crap she went through for so many years of her life, she is the kindest and sweetest person I know and the best mother to her kids, the best wife to her husband and the best sister in the world.

“May I have the Bride and Groom please come to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife,” I heard the DJ say interrupting my thoughts.

Stacy took Kayden back and followed me inside after telling Jake and the kids to come back inside as well. Hope and Bobby ran passed me laughing only the way kids can and I couldn’t help but laugh too. They joined Haley by my parents.

I met Ian on the dance floor and reached out to hold his hands as the music began playing. The sound of George Strait singing our song brought back so many memories of the two of us. Dancing together in high school; singing it at the hospital when he was recovering from his accident; lighting our candle only a couple of hours ago. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he pulled me closer and we danced without any words between us.

As the song ended, he lifted my chin and gave me a kiss pouring out all his emotions into that single kiss. I returned everything I have and let a couple of tears escape as I felt the happiest I could ever be. He wiped my tears away as he ended the kiss and gave me his gorgeous smile for the hundredth time today, or more.

Before saying anything else, Ian led me to a chair that Aiden brought out to the edge of the dance floor and pointed for me to sit. I gave him a questioning look, but he shook his head, smiled and left the dance floor leaving me there completely clueless as to what is going on.

As I start to hear the music play again, one by one of the groomsmen, starting with Aiden, come to the dance floor lip syncing and dancing to the song that was playing, “I Think I Want to Marry You” by Bruno Mars. I was hiding behind my hand at this point trying to hide my grin watching these guys in front of me. It reminded me a lot of them on stage during my Bachelorette Party.

Ian finally joined them on the dance floor and began dancing with them and lip syncing to the music. Shortly after, another song came on and the dancing continued and my bridesmaids joined them on the dance floor. After several songs, or snippets of songs, all my family and close friends were up dancing at some point and as the last song was playing, Ian came up to me and pulled me to the floor as he finished “singing” to me as the others left the stage leaving the two of us as the song ended.

I was in complete shock and couldn’t believe that Ian would do something like that. Well, he did it for my proposal, so… He got everyone in on it and I was left completely speechless. After several minutes, I finally was able to whisper, “Thank you,” and gave him a kiss.

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