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SOUCHERAY: Mother of the Bride - Part 2

The long-awaited, much anticipated weekend is over. Everyone told us to enjoy every second of it because it would go quickly. They told us we would want to live it over and over again, which of course, we would not be able to do. They advised us to appreciate every second of the day and evening. They were right.

Our weekend started with Maggie and I getting our nails done on Wednesday and then doing all we could not to chip or damage them in the days before the wedding. She had invited several friends over to our house on Wednesday night to put together gift bags, as her wedding was a "Destination Wedding." We would be heading to Winona and LaCrosse for the festivities and she wanted to welcome each guest to the hotel with homemade cookies.

Loading the car for our departure was no small feat. There was simply so much to bring and we didn't know if we would have room for it all. In the hubbub and confusion, I was afraid we would accidentally forget our dresses at home.

It could happen.

I had to write myself a huge note that simply read, "DRESSES," and lay it in a spot where we would have to trip over it getting out of the house.

Our drive down the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River is a drive we have made many times. Maggie attended St. Mary's University in Winona, as did her husband, and we have made this drive so many times over the past several years, we could do it in our sleep. It was a bit different this time, however, as we were heading into the unknown. It was exciting, and yet difficult not to be anxious as we drove, not sure what the weekend would hold.

When we arrived and unloaded everything, we went looking for the many family and friends who were staying at the hotel, as well. To say the weekend was one continuous party would be an accurate statement. We saw family and friends from far away who made the journey to celebrate with us. Lots of friends and schoolmates of both Maggie and Eric came to witness their wedding vows and the expectation of present and future happiness. It was a joyous and wonderful affair; everything and more than we could have ever hoped for or expected.

The hair and make-up appointments on the morning of the big event were filled with laughter, ooh's and aah's, and so much fun. At the church, the room where all the women dressed was overly-filled with dresses, shoes, purses, nylons, perfume, hair spray, and lots of delight and giddiness. The expectancy of what was about to happen filled the air with anticipation and excitement. Everyone knew their lines. They just didn't know how they would ultimately feel when the moment of truth arrived.

As Eric stood at the front of the church, waiting for his bride, his eyes filled with tears. Maggie came down the aisle on the arm of my husband and the two of them visibly attempted to walk slowly and give the moment its due. The three minute walk felt as if it was motionless.

Everyone's life in the church that day would somehow be altered by what was about to occur, as all people who attend a wedding are somehow involved in an intimate way with either the bride, the groom, or the family. Everyone present has, in some way, been touched by the couple or the couple's family. A wedding, therefore, is a life-changing event for not only the bride and groom, but for the entire family and circle of friends.

There is a sense of hopefulness and optimism about the wedding of a couple you believe is making a commitment to be life partners.. I think it provides a sense of continuity and an assertion that the best in life will continue on.

A wedding is far more than just a day's event. It is the gathering and celebration of all that inspires us to place our trust in a beautiful future. It's the ultimate experience of connection and camaraderie, due to the love and commitment of two people, supported by the affection and tenderness of family and friends.