There is no way to describe what it is like to open your eyes and realize that it's your wedding day.
That Saturday morning, I woke up to my mom's soft call. My dearest friend, Desaray, was laying next to me. She had stayed the night before, letting me talk. Letting me process. I will be forever grateful to her for the gift of her company that night.
I opened my eyes and could see the early morning sunlight coming through the curtains of my window. I looked at my ceiling fan, covered with tiny glow in the dark stars that I had bought when I was 13 years old. I could feel the weight of the threshold I was crossing--leaving my parent's home for the last time. As I rose and opened my door, I found a small business size card taped to the door. In Dave's handwriting was a tiny note "See you soon!" with a small bride and groom drawn under it. He'd given it to my mom the night before, and asked her to put it there.
I slipped on some flip flops and, in the tradition of Anne of Green Gables, went on my last walk through my childhood neighborhood. Desaray walked next to me, letting me remember out loud. I remember saying to her that I'd always wondered how I would feel on my wedding day, and if I would feel nervous or excited, and expressing surprise at what I felt: ready.
By the time we got home, it was time to kick into high gear. I showered and did my own makeup. Having learned my lesson, my sister Jen did my hair in a simple style--something I might've worn any day, with half of it pulled up and half curled under. She tied it back with a small white ribbon.
The phone rang. It was Dave, calling to say good morning. I grinned as I heard his voice, and commanded the butterflies in my stomach to find their formation. He promised to leave on time, and said that he'd meet me in Manti.
I slipped into a knee length black sheath dress with a black jacket, then hung the strand of pearls he had given me around my neck. We loaded my dress, slip, shoes, bouquet, and--finally--a picnic basket with a lunch for Dave and I into my grandparent's suburban. Time seemed to be going in slow motion, as I climbed into the car with my parents and younger brothers. We pulled away from the home that would never by my home again.
The drive down to Manti, Utah in June is a beautiful one. It weaves through the base of a narrow canyon surrounded by mountains then into a wide, open valley. You can see from one end of this valley to the other end, more than a 45 minute drive from one end to the other. In June, this expanse is a vibrant, living green. Not long after you enter the valley, you can begin to look for the Manti Temple, a tiny dot up on the hill far ahead of you. As you approach, it grows larger and it is truly breathtaking.
Completed in 1888, the Manti Temple looks like a castle on a hill. It is made of cream colored limestone that seems to glow from within. What makes it all the more striking is that it stands in the middle of this wide open space, overlooking mostly ranchland. As we drove, I watched it getting closer and closer. The closer it got, the more awe struck I became. We finally turned in the wide gates.
Looking up, I could see Dave. He was standing at the entrance of the temple, looking down, and waiting for me.