Tanya Marchun English 315 Memoir Final Draft The pungent smell of the white stargazer lilies was strong even from a distance. With skinny stamen reaching out of the center and anthers that look like dark orange parachutes, the bouquet of these flowers was heavy and larger than I had expected. I was constantly twirling the white ribbon fashioned around the stems to take my attention off my nervous stomach and thumping heart.
It was like a roller coaster in my stomach, constantly turning and flipping only I was not
screaming. It was the most nervous I have ever been in my life. It was difficult standing without my knees buckling under the weight of my delicate but bulky dress. The white heels, that matched my dress perfectly, did not make the anticipation any easier. My legs felt unstable and I would not dare bend my knees for fear of dropping straight to the floor. The overly large burgundy chair was my constant support.
The fifteen of us were standing lined up like a small army ready and waiting to charge,
with me at the back of the line providing commands. Each pair asking me, “Tanya, can we go?” “Wait a little bit,” I’d say, waiting for the right moment in the music to come along, “Okay, now go.” I’d send each pair off starting with my grandparents-‐to-‐be making their way down the brown creaky steps onto the soft green sea of grass, in the background my Aunt singing Amazing Grace.
My aunt’s voice was raspy but passionate. Coming from Florida, the higher elevation seemed to make her throat dry and her moist mouth turn to a parched desert. It seemed coincidental, though it was intentional, that this ceremony was in the same place where my grandparents-‐to-‐be had gotten married nearly ten years before. The massive willow, with its flowing vines, provided a vast area of shade. The vast blazing white vinyl tents provided shade for the nearly one hundred guests in attendance. Next was my mother-‐in-‐law-‐to-‐be whose dress looked abnormally similar to a bridesmaid’s dress, with the exception of the length. Following her was my mother, dressed in black who was afraid it would seem like she was in mourning. Together they lit the unity taper candles, while the wind blew out each attempt they made. Being at the back of the line made me even more impatient. Thoughts running through my head about if each person had done what he or she was supposed to do. As I wait for my turn, I grip my father’s arm and ruffle the arm of his tuxedo jacket between my palm and fingers. It was his tuxedo from twenty years ago; he still fit into it and still looked handsome. With the black cummerbund around his waist and small triangle of red handkerchief peeking out of this left jacket pocket. The jacket that would later get locked in the car and required four men to get it unlocked. As the line of the small army lessened, the nervousness was nearly unbearable. The closer I got to the door, the more fearful I became. Reassuring the six year old, dark haired flower girl that she would be fine, she smiled big enough that her eyes nearly disappeared, turned and made her way down the stairs. Turning to my father I said, “I am going to forget everything, dad.”
“I am so nervous. I’m going to forget my vows.” Leaning in to give me an always reassuring, gentle kiss on the cheek he said, “You’ll be fine.” All the while, I was reassuring myself that I would not trip on my dress, or that my heel would not get caught in the miniscule crack between the wood panels. “Dad, you’ve got to hold me so I don’t fall.” The steps were simple compared to the sea of green grass. It had been fertilized and so well maintained that the ground was like water. With each step I took, I felt my heel sink deeper into the ground. I aerated the lawn while I walked down the aisle, leaving holes the size of pennies and my white heels a brownish green. Look straight ahead, I recall telling myself as I approached the pastor and my soon-‐to-‐be husband. I knew if I looked at the guests, whom I strategically placed within rows of eleven chairs, my attention would easily shift to who was in attendance and who was not. Exchanging glances between my bridesmaids and fiancé, every now and again I would peer past the wedding party at the distant mountains decorating the horizon. My father and I came to a stop, kissed and hugged each other and my fiancé took my arm. It was the beginning. The microphones which we had tested the previous day did not work. Luckily, my aunt could project her voice while singing Amazing Grace; however, the pastor spoke in a soft quiet tone which seemed like only my fiancé and I could hear nearly two feet away. The sun was scorching; the breeze provided some relief to the groomsmen dressed in black.
A bright, neon yellow index card was what my fiancé wrote his vows upon. With a mixture of humor and seriousness he promised to honor, respect and support me; even occasionally do the dishes. While saying my vows, either the nervousness of forgetting them or the heat causing his finger to swell up, I could not put the ring on his finger. This provided a little comic relief. At the exact moment we said ‘I Do’ the breeze wisped my veil straight up, pointing towards God. It must have been a sign. After walking down the aisle with my husband, our bridal party formed a receiving line where we greeted guests with hugs and enormous smiles. The ceremony that took hours upon hours to create seemed to flash by in an instant. The months of planning and organizing, not to mention the money and tears, was over. While the advice to stay calm, not get overwhelmed, or be too nervous is easier said than done, it does offer a little piece of mind that when the time comes everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Reflecting on my experience, many events and things did not work the way they were supposed to; however, it was not about those small miniscule worries like the candles and the microphones, instead it was about sharing the joy of a special day with family and friends.