An old year is slipping away and with it, a new January nestles into place. Wintertime.
Last January, I celebrated my wedding. This January, two of my friends will celebrate theirs. All weddings are gorgeous and holy, and they’re especially sweet in January. A winter wedding is absolutely the cure for winter blues. You can cover pinecones in epsom salt and glitter, hang ornaments from the aisles, give your bridesmaids mittens. The world is frozen, but you have something to celebrate.
Nearly a year later, I am full to the brim with joy at the thought of my own January wedding.
Snow-topped fir trees. White hydrangeas. Getting gas with a white satin dress in the backseat, ice on the windshield. Bobby pins (thousands). Lipstick. Laughter. The organ! The clapping. The clinking of glasses. Cupcakes and cocoa.
Warm grins, cold hugs, happy tears.
Which moments would I relive, if I could?
These ten. (Thanks to Kendra Oxendale Photography for your incredible snapshots.)
10. Soup at home with college friends.
11:30 a.m., the clock read. The morning hung frozen. These girls had driven from Michigan and Wisconsin and they sat in my kitchen, and we were giddy.
If I could go back, I would relax a little more – ask them to stay longer, eat another cookie.
9. The descent down the staircase.
“There you go,” Kendra said, waving me down the stairs like a fairy godmother. In that moment, I was Cinderella, and Princess Di, and an angel. A little girl playing dress-up.
A girl’s dream! To be the belle of the ball.
8. First look.
Dressed to impress, all cleaned up, and ready for the party.
Really, when you plan ahead for this encounter, it sorta sounds cheesy, but reality brings a sweet moment to savor. It was quiet and happy and full of excitement.
7. Praying with my bridesmaids.
(No picture of this moment… I think the photographers were taking a break.)
With every girl prettied and hairsprayed, waiting for the final cue to head to the chapel, the bridesmaids gathered around me to pray before the ceremony.
Such precious friends. I don’t remember what was said. I think my heart was fluttering. I remember my head bowed.
How blessed I am. I would go back to relive the holiness, the kindness, the goodness of that.
6. Peeking at the decor.
Right before the ceremony, my dad whispered, “Go take a look.” I peeked into the reception area. Our florist friend Jen and her team of helpers had absolutely transformed the blue room into a sparkling wonderland.
I think of the love and dedication of Jen and my friends, and I want to go back, admire every snowflake, oooh and ahh at each little finishing touch. And give them all another hug to say thanks.
5. Daddy and me.
When the wedding party had entered the chapel and the tall doors were shut in preparation for the bride’s big entrance, my dad took my arm. And then I thought we would have some serious waterworks.
Of course Dad tried to make me laugh. He’s a super hero.
I think a girl’s whole life is bottled up in that moment, waiting on daddy’s arm. So much emotion!
4. All of you.
Let’s go back and look at all the faces.
Sweet friends and family filling the chapel with love, crowding out the cold.
You came to celebrate our wedding!
Maybe I was trying too hard to find the right balance between looking at Alex in a loving manner without looking creepy, and not locking my knees, and holding Alex’s hand, and listening to Lloyd, and trying to not think about all the people staring at me, and wondering how the reception would turn out, and thinking this is my wedding! This is my wedding!
We made some big promises and I’d like to go back and say it again, a little slower this time, and mean it a little more.
2. Cupcakes forever.
Bailey’s Irish Cream. Apple cider. Red velvet.
The flavors of winter, in a couple tiny bites, topped with marshmallow hearts and snowflakes and sparkles.
Just Desserts Bakery from Albertville prepared these with love for us. They don’t have a website to link to – I wish they did! I will give you their phone number. I will recommend them forever. They were precious people, and these cupcakes were miniature marvels.
I would go back and grab another cupcake… just because.
1. The moments that slipped by while I was busy being a bride.
I’m glad for snapshots like these, the moments I didn’t see.
There’s my mom, in her flowy purple dress, having a laugh.
There’s our old friends, the Willises! I think I spot Nancy Berger!
You watched me all night… I didn’t get to watch you. I hope you had fun. I think you did.
January brides – if I have any advice, it’s this:
Breathe! Really eat the cake and enjoy it. Take pictures with everyone – everyone! – you wanted to (don’t be ashamed to hunt people down. You’re a princess. You can do that). Hug strangers like you mean it, and shrug it off when somebody forgets something, or messes up your hair, or delays the proceedings. Laugh from your belly. Hold your new husband’s hand in a death grip – even if you’re trembling, even if your palm is hot.
Because it’s your wedding, whether the details are perfect or somebody drops the ball, it’s sacred and precious and you’ll remember it forever.
So LIVE, live it, live it well, live it the way you’ll want to remember it.