"I'm sorry we're running late," Tiffany sighed as she began to rush toward the temple, carrying my dress and other bags in her hands.
"It's okay, I kind of prepared for this." I walked casually behind her, no rush.
"What do you mean?" She turned around, moving her arm to try and hurry me along.
"I accounted for 'Tiffany time'," I told her. "I told you that we had to be here by eight, when really we don't need to be here until around eight-forty-five," I smiled as she stopped in her tracks to fully turn and face me.
"What do you mean 'Tiffany time'?" She asked, her eyes slightly narrowed.
"You know, Mormon standard time, meaning ten minutes late, plus five minutes per child. So 'Tiffany time' means about twenty-five minutes late."
"I can't believe you lied to me!" She exclaimed.
"Yeah well, you're the one who thought she brought me late to my own wedding," I pointed out and she dropped the subject immediately.
"You think Matt's already here?" I asked as I began looking for him.
"Depends on if he lied to his family about what time they needed to be here," I heard her mumble under her breath as we walked through the doors.
An LDS temple wedding has it's own traditions and customs. Firstly, the wedding takes place within a temple, which we consider to be the Lord's house. Only worthy members of the Church may enter certain areas of the temple, so often times, the whole family cannot attend the actual ceremony. This was the case with our wedding.
Matt's immediate family were all members of the Church, but aside from Tiffany and her husband, and a few long time family friends, my side was fairly empty. It didn't bother me though. Everyone was invited to the reception, as well as the luncheon that would take place right after the pictures were taken. As far as I was concerned, Matt and I were the only ones that needed to be there for the ceremony, and my family understood.
Unlike other weddings, the first time Matt saw me was not walking down an aisle in my wedding dress. No, the first time he saw me on our wedding day was standing in the foyer of the temple in my Church skirt. I turned around and saw him with his family and it took everything in my power not to jump into his arms.
"Hey beautiful, ready to get hitched?" He asked me with a grin.
"I'm surprised you showed up at all, you're the one that's getting a ball and chain," I smirked.
We went inside to sign our marriage certificate and then kissed once before we were lead separate ways to get ready. It would be the first time I would go through the temple completely. Blessings would be given, covenants made with God, and promises that family was eternal.
By the time it came for the actual wedding, we were running very late. Our family and friends had gathered together in a special room where Matt and I would be married for time and all eternity. Outside the room, the man who would marry us, took us aside for some private counsel.
His name was Paul F. Royall, a one legged man in a wheel chair with the biggest and brightest smile I'd ever seen. He told us that he was the only one in the temple who could perform a "royall" marriage.
During the ceremony, Matt and I both felt happier than we'd ever been. So happy in fact that we felt it wad odd that we weren't crying our eyes out. For at least five minutes, the two of us stared at each other, trying to force tears out of our eyes to no avail. By the time we were officially married, we were the only ones not crying.
"Here's your marriage license," Paul F. Royall said as he handed me the piece of paper. "You own him."
I grinned and immediately kissed my husband before my new in-laws pulled me in for embraces, one by one. Eventually we were greeted by three of our Bishops and their wives. The first being the Bishop from our singles ward, the second being the Bishop from the new family ward that we would be moving into, and the last was someone we knew very well. The Bishop who baptised me when I was just fifteen years old. Though he and his wife had moved away, they'd heard of our impending nuptials and made the trip just to surprise us.
Time moved quickly, and as many a bride will know, the day can't be spent enjoying a new husband. There are photos to take, people to meet, places to go and presents to acquire.
Tiffany and I excused ourselves to get ready. The bride room in a temple, especially one as large as the Salt Lake City temple, is massive. Many brides fill the room as they prepare for the big event, or in our case, prepare for the photo session.
"Oh no, it's a blizzard outside!" One bride screamed to her maid of honor.
"I'm going to fall on the ice in those!" Another cried as her mother strapped stiletto heels to her daughters foot.
Mascara was running like rivers as bride after bride realised that they had planned the perfect wedding, with one small exception. High heels and snow often end in the emergency room.
"Tiffany, will you hand me my shoes?" I asked as I primped one last time while looking in the large mirror.
The other brides around me gave me sympathetic looks as I asked for my shoes.
Tiffany returned from the bag with the baby blue and silver tennis shoes I'd picked out earlier with Debbie, and I slipped them on with a grin as the other brides stood with mouths open and eyes wide.
"How did I not think of that?" I overheard one of them say before I left the room, holding my head high.
The plan was for Matt and I to meet up at a certain spot in the temple where we would then walk up a few stairs to some open doors where our family and friends (including the ones who weren't involved in the ceremony) would greet us for congratulations.
Tiffany and I moved to a bench where our escort through the temple instructed us to wait. Because the temple is so big, on your special day you are given an escort as not to get lost. Each escort signs in, so at any given point people know where you are and can find you in case of an emergency.
"Excuse me?" An elderly temple matron approached us. "Sister Woodruff?"
I stared off into space, oblivious to her voice.
"Miss? Are you Sister Woodruff?" She asked, touching my shoulder.
It was the first time anyone had called me that. I was a Woodruff now. I'd completely forgotten. My eyes lit up brightly and I turned with a big smile to look at her and say proudly, "Yes, I am Jessica Woodruff!"
She smiled back to me, and then nervously uttered, "Umm . . . we've lost your husband."
"Lost?" I blinked. "But . . . I've only had him for ten minutes."