And so there I was, all alone. Alone for a minute, but once I walk through those double doors I would again be surrounded by more people than I had been in months. Same as it had been for a few hours.
The day(s) had been long but fun, and then just like that they were over and done. Being the center of attention or the focal point of an event is hardly my greatest pleasure. I did enjoy the hugs, smiles, and congratulations, but all in all the reality of everything being over was the most liberating feeling. Our wedding planning was difficult. Our budget was a little smaller than my ambitions were. I, along with my family and fiance worked tirelessly for six long months. “It’s the greatest time of your life.” That’s what everyone tells you. And it was fun, but it was also the most exhausting time of my life. For an introverted person, so much demand for attention and interaction was absolutely tiresome.
All day had been just like people described. Fun, fast, and full of love. But hardly anyone talks about the pure exhaustion you feel even before leaving the wedding. I had smiled and nodded to dozens of friends. I had said “thank you” more times than I knew I could. And at the end of the day that started at 7 AM, I finally got a moment to myself. Not even my husband was there. It as just me and all that we had created. There is something more than satisfying about creating something with your own hands. Everything except a hand full of decorations was made specifically for the wedding. And I hardly got to see it all put together. So the time came for us to leave, and all the friends and family who had celebrated for hours walked outside to line the path to our car, when all of a sudden I found myself completely alone. No one, not one person was there with me, in our little wedding reception made by our hands. It was really significant to me. I was already married, and I guess technically I had already “crossed over” from my old life to my new one. But I stood there by myself, with my family outside and my husband too, and realized that this is where I leave. This is where it all begins.
Andrew was getting last minute things together for us before we left and so I stood in the middle of the empty food trays, tiny strung lights above me, and the smell of cider around me, and just got to soak it in for a second. Just for a minute I got to be small instead of being one of the two largest people in the room. It’s almost an out of body experience, standing at your wedding alone, in a place where so many people once were.
I like feeling small. It makes me realize all that I have and all that I am.
Then just like that Andrew and our photographer burst through the doors, and the stillness was gone. Ripping my attention away and bringing me back to reality. As we received our final instructions from the photographer, I could not help but look back over my shoulder one last time at the empty room. Thinking about all that it represented. A life I was leaving and a life I was joining. And as we left the still room to walk down the path of cheers and tell everyone goodbye, I took Andrew’s hand that he offered me and looked into his eyes and saw his smile and realized that I was home. I would always belong where he was and with that thought, he lead me out the door, leaving the empty room behind to start a new journey.
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay”