I’m gonna to be honest, wedding planning sucks. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either lying, or hired a wedding planner because they got big bread.
It starts with meetings....so many meetings - venues, caterers, dj’s, florists and bakers, the list seems to never end. You have to pick out colors, and settle on suits and dresses for the bridal party. You have to handle logistics and figure out lodging for family and guests and conduct countless conversations about hypothetical situations that you need to be prepared for. And then there’s the money. So. Much. Money.
You're basically responsible for planning what you hope to be a legendary party for yourself, your spouse and X number of guests, balancing the needs and expectations of all formerly mentioned parties, transitioning into a new phase of your life, a life which is strained by the pressure of the circumstances that wedding planning brings and you need to pull it all of off without breaking up or end up homeless during the process. These arduous tasks that all take place over roughly 9 - 12 months can cause one to wonder – what is the point? I know I felt that way, until the clock hit 2:30 PM on September 16th.
At that moment I stood shoulder to shoulder with my brothers in a packed room with all eyes on me...until her music played. A hush came over the room as 160 people simultaneously stood and turned toward the rear entrance. The door to the bridal suit swung open, light from the room filling its void and seconds later the closest thing I’ve seen to an angel emerged from the doorway. I smiled widely and internally congratulated myself for a job well done. And then she walked. Stride by stride inching toward me totally in sync with her father just off her right arm.
She descended down the stairs, into the aisle and toward the alter. I fixed my eyes on her remembering the advice that was given to me prior to the ceremony, “the day moves fast, remember to take mental snapshots so you can take it all in.” Blush dress layered from her waist to the floor. Crystal belt wrapped around her waist. Beaded embellished bodice that laid perfect on her skin. And her beautiful unveiled face, because why would you ever cover up that face?
From that aisle to the alter we went step for step. With every step towards me, my mind recalled a step towards us. Right foot – the $ .79 cent taco I bought her in college (I know big baller right), left foot – watching movies on a busted futon all day. Right foot – eating dinner together in the cafeteria, left foot – our first trip together. Right foot – the times we fell apart, left foot – the times she put us back together. Right foot – her sticking by my side, picking me up, throwing my arm across her shoulders and carrying me through, left foot – the look in her eye when I asked her to marry me. The memories were ready to leave my head make their way down my cheeks but I had to fight through. How did we make it here? To this moment, when just a few short years ago many would’ve said – I don’t think they’re gonna make it. We made it for one reason. Because love wins.
Not long after we said I do, I had a conversation with my aunt. My aunt born to a black mother and a white father at a time when you were not allowed to have a black mother and a white father. She had shared her story with me before, on the horrible things her and her family suffered through because of racist dogmatic thinking. How her mother and father couldn’t be seen together, how they would have pretend to be one race instead of another. Seeing my wife and I made her think of her parents, and how they weren’t afforded the opportunity to wed in this joyous way, it was as if our union brought things full circle. She told me, “I’m so proud of you, this is a dream fulfilled. My mother and father never had this opportunity, it was against the law and my heart is full to see their dream fulfilled here today.”
We ate a delicious meal, and it was time to dance. I took my mother by the hand and we made our way to the dance floor. As the music played, and we slowly turned one line stuck in my ear, “I’m so proud of the man that you’ve become.” I started to think about the man I am, and how I wouldn’t be anywhere without my mother. I thought about all the wisdom she had passed on to me. The lessons she taught me. The direction she provided to me. The money she gave me when I didn’t have a job. The strength she exhibited to me. The meals….the scrumptious meals she made just for me. I thought about sitting on her left Sunday after Sunday, I thought about her being there for my triumphant and terrible moments. I thought about how she believed in me when I didn’t believe in me. She encouraged me when I needed it and chided me when I needed that too. I know I can always turn to her and without her, I don’t know where I would be.
After that dance I stood back, I looked around the room and I thought about life, I thought about that moment and I thought about how different things were in this room than they were outside of it.
It’s been 350 days since I wrote part 1 of this series. In those 350 days hate has dominated headlines. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States…Donald Trump was elected President of the United States…DONALD TRUMP WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Dozens of unarmed African Americans were murdered by those sworn to protect and serve. We were reminded that hate is still alive and doing quite well as we watched the events of August 11th and 12th in Charlottesville in horror. And most recently, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks to ever take place on American soil occurred at a concert in Las Vegas.
Hate has displayed the stronghold it has on our country, but strongholds can be broken. But unlike what you see in the movies you don’t break out of strongholds suddenly, it takes many meticulous movements, but with each slight turn you become slightly more free. Small victories. Small victories that eventually add up to a big win. That’s what that day represented to me. A room of 160 people representing all creeds, colors and walks of life joyously celebrating. I needed that moment, that small victory. I needed September 16th to remind me in the end love wins.