November 29, 1969…. 3:00 PM
I’d written out the day’s schedule for every person in the wedding party and those helping at the reception, since Principal Scarce had let me use the school’s mimeograph machine.
A little after 3:00, cars began arriving at Moody Church from all directions. I rode with Mom and several others, and we were late… of course. But it was gratifying to me, as I walked into the church “ladies lounge” where we would dress, that several of the bridesmaids were already there, outfitted in their gowns.
The photographer was there, too, and announced he’d be taking pictures of us getting ready, as soon as everyone in the room was presentable. While he and his assistant waited, they hunted for the groom. Wherever Nate was, I knew he had probably arrived early and was already available for photos. Later I learned that not only was he ready, but his father and brother were, too.
I couldn’t wait to see him but forced myself to keep my mind focused on the schedule. Our timetable didn’t allow for dawdling.
As I took my gown out of its hanging bag, I had a twinge of nervousness, wondering if it would fit right. Had I gained or lost weight since the fitting weeks before? Zero-hour had arrived.
Stepping into it, I flashed-back to the happy days spent shopping for a gown with Mom, Aunt Agnes, Mary and others. Pulling the heavy satin fabric on felt just as good as it had on that day long ago, when I chose this dress. And I still loved it.
The smooth satin reminded me of Mom’s wedding gown from 1941. She had picked a dress without lace, pearls, or sequins, but it had scores of satin-covered buttons up the back that had always fascinated me. I wanted the same thing when I got married, and indeed I got them.
When the photographer reappeared, anxious to start, he asked me to face the mirror and put on my lipstick. I had to laugh, since I didn’t wear any. After all, it was the sixties, and many girls were wearing white lipstick, so why bother.
But I borrowed a tube from one of the other girls and pretended. In those days I didn’t wear makeup at all and had never worn earrings, so getting ready was easy. If it hadn’t been for the Swedish crown and its long veil (with multiple combs and bobby pins), I’d have been ready in 10 minutes.
But my eyes kept turning toward the door, hoping Nate would walk in. Since the plan was to take platform pictures of the entire wedding party ahead of the ceremony, we knew we’d be together before I walked down the aisle to meet him. Back in those days, wedding planners hadn’t heard of “a reveal,” so we had no special plan for getting the first glimpse of each other.
All I wanted was to get my arms around him on our wedding day, and I had full confidence that wherever he was, he was craving the same thing about me.
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 2:16)