By Sarah Colson
“Just lean on me,” my dad said right before guiding me down the aisle at my wedding rehearsal. “We can do this.”
While this may seem like a sweet, sentimental moment between a bride and her father, I was actually worried about passing out while walking down the aisle.
On Dec. 18, the day before my wedding, I woke up with the worst stomach virus of my life.
By noon, I was completely quarantined on my couch, too weak to stand. I received a call saying that my little sister, also my ring bearer and junior bridesmaid, had the flu. My entire family was put on Tamiflu and only my mom was brave enough to occasionally break the rules and enter the sick room. Things were not looking great for my “big day.”
I didn’t think there was any way I could make it down the aisle at the rehearsal scheduled for 6 p.m. that same day. Knowing I didn’t really have an option, though, and sick of hearing the “at least you’ll fit into your dress” jokes, I eventually stopped crying, put on the rehearsal dress I had been dying to wear, and slowly walked to the car, Gatorade and banana in hand.
The rehearsal was scheduled to last an hour. I basically floated through the mock ceremony and leaned on a chair whenever I felt weak.
After the rehearsal came the rehearsal dinner. I had been excited about this for years. It was time for people to say nice things about my groom and me and eat a lot of good food. If there was ever a time in the one-year span I was engaged that all the love and blessings should have been 100 percent directed at us, this was it―my shining moment.
The only problem was, the entire place smelled like food―hot, delicious, home-cooked food. The smell that most people savored upon entrance left me even more nauseous and dizzy. Before I knew it, I was in tears again and begging my mom to drive me home.
While I was blubbering goodbyes to all of my loved ones, it hit me. Not only could the wedding almost take place without me, but the wedding was not about me at all.
Sure, all of the people I love were in one place because of my love for my groom and his love for me. But, ultimately, those people were in that room because we weren’t just combining two lives. We were creating a new family, a new culture of people who decided to join together in the name of love to help each other out for the rest of their lives.
As I walked down the aisle on my actual wedding day―after 12-and-a-half hours of sleep the night before and an absurd amount of Gatorade and toast―it wasn’t just my groom I was staring at, but all of the people who made our wedding possible.
Dozens of my family members and close friends had decorated, cooked, served, held my hair while I was sick―OK, that was just one, precious, selfless friend who happens to be my new sister-in-law―and came together to make our special day one we will never forget.
That’s how life is. When there’s something to celebrate, like the love of two people, or when you’re too sick to get off of your couch, the new family you’ve created is there to laugh, cry, pick you up and remind you that there is no one you can depend on more than the people around you when you say “I do.”