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About Weddings: Spontaneity

As a senior at MIT, our only daughter, Holly, got engaged. Soon the Army called her fiancé, Erik, to go to Iraq, so they planned to marry after he returned and she finished graduate school. As all brides do, Holly dreamed about her wedding. She chose a dress, a church and a family friend as organist. She chose her favorite processional and recessional marches, one of which her father had composed.

But reality did not follow the plan. Erik was sent to Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., where he learned he could ship out at any minute. Holly left school for a few days to see him off. The couple decided to marry right away, the uncertainty of war looming in their minds. They called to tell us, we arranged a flight but were still in the air when they found a justice of the peace at the courthouse. It happened so fast that the bride wore blue jeans.

When we arrived, we made the best of the situation and took them to dinner. As it turned out, our new son-in-law didn’t get shipped out that day. The base chaplain found out and asked all of us to come to the local church the next morning. We didn’t know why.

At the church, Holly wore a favorite teal silk dress, and Erik his uniform. As we waited, a miracle unfolded. The church’s entire congregation came to support the newlyweds, whom they had never met. Some even brought wedding gifts wrapped in silver paper and big bows. Following a blessing ceremony, the congregation formed a receiving line and greeted the couple at the altar. We didn’t have a photographer, but our “wedding guests” snapped away. They sent us their pictures, so we have reminders of a very special occasion. It was a wedding to remember for all the right reasons.

Lisa Compton Bellocchio is a reader from Haverhill, Mass.

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