Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
She stood there, looking positively radiant, the glow of a new bride around her. We all sat, waiting eagerly to watch as our dear friend, and sister in Christ, would come up the aisle. Whispers danced from the lips of everyone who had gathered to see this joyous moment–“She’s so beautiful”, “I can’t believe she’s getting married today”, “I’m going to miss her when she’s gone”. It was a quaint setting, out in an old cattle pasture, wooden benches served as what the guests would sit on and a white tent was set up not to far off for the reception. The trees around the pasture were all starting to change into their fall colors and the crisp air gave everything a more rustic feel. The bride wore a lovely white lace dress, with a crown of flowers adorning her hair. Her smile and the groom’s look of love was enough to warm everyone in the chilly weather. It was here. It was happening. My dear friend was getting married and moving on to the next chapter of her life. She came up the aisle way, her brothers forming a wall around her as they escorted her to her father who walked her the rest of the way up. “Who gives this bride away?”, her father was presented with the question that father’s both look forward to hearing, for it means their girl has found her love, and both dread having to hear, because it means they are, in a way, losing their daughter. “Her mother, Carmen Harmon, and I give her away”, was his reply. But we all gave her away that day. She has been a big part of everyone’s lives. There wasn’t a person present whose life hadn’t been impacted by this lovely young bride. Not only was her father losing his baby girl that day, but we were all giving away a strong friend, sister in Christ and generally great person, to move on and explore this new part of her life. When faced with the question, “Who gives this bride away”, we all silently said, “I give this bride away”. Rings were distributed and vows were exchanged, then both bride and groom were surrounded by family and lifted high into fervent prayer. It was an endearing sight, one that didn’t leave many dry eyes to be found in the small crowd watching. Afterwards we all bowed our heads and prayed for them once more. Happy to be married, both bride and groom walked joyfully down the aisle and out to the field, where they were surrounded by friends and family and given many “congratulations” and hugs. When everyone had given their congrats we all ambled over to the white tent, ready to dive into the food that had been prepared, and celebrate this beautiful occasion. Plants in old bottles and clippings decorated the tables, there were torches on either side of the tent to provide warmth in the chilly evening air and light as the Sun began to sink low. The dinner consisted of pasta with either alfredo or tomato sauce, salad, chicken or beef, red/green/yellow/orange peppers, mushrooms and bread with a pesto butter spread. The cakes were an assortment of bundt cakes, Kentucky butter cake, Caramel Apple cake, Chocolate cake and Pumpkin cheesecake with vanilla ice cream. The bride and groom entered the tent and out broke a round of applause as they made their way over to cut the cake. Following the meal and dessert the Maid of Honor and Best Man each gave their speeches, then the bride and groom had their first dance as husband and wife, followed by the bride and her father dancing as well. After that the dance floor was opened and the celebrating began.
As the time came for the bride and groom to make their departure, torches were lit and sparklers were handed out to all the guests. We lined up on either side of the lit pathway, sparklers lit and in hand, and waved on the bride and groom as they ran down the aisle way, hopped into their car and drove off. Reunited one last time, a trio of friends who met because of horses, became like sisters, and all have begun their separate journeys down their separate paths. Together in spirit forever and always. Congratulations a hundred times over to my dearest Natalie and her beloved Aaron. I wish God’s blessings upon the two of you and look forward to seeing where this new adventure takes you….together.