Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

Fall, winter, spring and wedding

By Ashlee Stallinga

By ASHLEE STALLINGA

Mt. Pleasant News

On June 4, my best friend, Rachel, got married.

It was a beautiful ceremony: candles in the front of the church, “mermaid” colored dresses, pink roses lining the aisle, petals scattered on the white aisle runner. I started crying as soon as she stepped into the sanctuary with her dad – happy tears, of course. I also shed a few tears during the vows, the lighting of the unity candle, the solo, and the presentation of the couple. I was very happy for them.

I’d been to weddings before; that was nothing new. But there were so many new things at the wedding; so many firsts: their first kiss as husband and wife, their first dance, the first time Rachel got to sign her new last name (not counting all the times she doodled it in her college notebook, of course).

And for me, it was the first time I was this close to someone who was getting married — figuratively and literally. Figuratively, Rachel and I are close because we’ve been friends for years; literally, we were close because I stood right next to her during the ceremony — I was the maid of honor, and that was also a first.

But this wedding was the first for me in a different way: the first of the season.

In fact, I’ve renamed this year’s seasons: I now call them fall, winter, spring and … wedding.

What used to be summer now looks like this: five weddings in six weeks, adding approximately 3,232 miles to my odometer. I’m probably not the only one who’s up to her ears in white tulle, rose petals and tiny bells, but it’s my first time experiencing it — I guess it’s about that time in my life.

I can’t point too many fingers – and I especially can’t point my ring finger. I’m engaged myself. (But we’re not getting married until this fall.)

Since my engagement, and since my friends started getting married, all conversations seem to lead back to weddings, and everything even vaguely reminiscent of weddings catches my eye.

The other day, I was driving back from the Winfield City Council meeting, I suddenly found my attention drawn to the Winfield Museum. Were those wedding dresses? Sure enough. Dresses dating all they way back to the 1920s hang in the window, making a display that’s quite appropriate for the season.

Just last weekend, I had on a wedding dress from an earlier decade — though it wasn’t quite that old: my fiancé and I tried on his parents’ wedding attire from their 1975 ceremony — exactly 36 years ago tomorrow. Aside from making an amusing photo, it was a good reminder that they made a promise to each other back when those clothes were in style — and they’ve kept it.

My own parents have been married for 26 years. What a blessing it is, as I approach my own wedding day, to have the example set by both my parents and my fiancé’s parents, as well as our grandparents, in marriage. I am very thankful to each of them all for taking their day of “firsts” so seriously.