"I don't understand, how is Matt lost?" I asked the well meaning temple matron who seemed just as worried as I now was, despite her attempts to keep me level headed.
"Well, he's somewhere in the temple, we know that much. His escort forgot to sign in, so we don't know who he's with or where he is. But we've got a lot of people trying to track him down for you." She smiled sweetly before asking my sister to go upstairs and see if Matt had been brought out to meet with the family.
I sat there, in my big poofy wedding dress, waiting to see when my new husband would show up.
Countless people came in through the doors for their own temple visits, and each would stop and smile at me and say things like, "Oh look at the pretty bride!" while I tried to smile and not look slightly panicked. I didn't have much to panic over. It wasn't like Matt had ditched me. We were officially married now, so if he was planning on leaving me high and dry, he'd picked the wrong moment.
My panic was mostly over our schedule. We were already at least a half hour behind because the ceremony ran long and we still had pictures to take, a luncheon to get to and then a reception. I looked down at my feet once again thanking God for giving me the good sense to wear sneakers. It was going to be one really long day.
"Wow," I heard from down the hallway and I turned to spot Matt, looking super spiffy in the special tuxedo he picked out himself. I stood up and smiled, practically running toward him, though almost tripping over my dress in the process.
"You look so . . ." he paused to kiss me before continuing. "Beautiful. You're like an angel," he grinned.
"You're setting high expectations. Eventually I'll just be your nagging wife," I smirked back at him.
"Ready?" He asked, taking my hand as he lead me up to the doors where our family was waiting.
"As I'll ever be," I winked at him.
The photographer had arrived early, so with us being late I wanted to get right into the photos to not make her day any longer than it had to be. My family was busy ooing and awwing over my dress, most of whom hadn't seen it yet, and despite the snow that kept on falling, I was burning up fast.
Between my undergarments, my slips, my corset, hoop skirt, dress, muff and cloak I was buried in cloth and needed to get it all off of me. While I'm pulling off layers of my clothes, Debbie realised that she had forgotten my bouquet in her car and decided to run back to fetch it. By the time she arrived back in front of the temple, she was soaked from head to toe, carrying my bouquet in one hand and a parking ticket in the other.
"They gave you a ticket?" I asked, wide eyed. "But, they can't do that on my special day."
"Well I'll be sure to tell them that when I go to pay the ticket," Debbie huffed a little and then tried to dry her hair on a towel that the photographer had brought, just in case.
"Alright, let's get the boys up there," the photographer motioned, giving me a moment to have my hair fixed. The snow was getting everyone wet and the amount of hairspray Tiffany put in my hair that morning was now leaking it's way down my neck.
My poor nieces were freezing, and Bell began to cry. It was cue to give the family a moment to collect themselves while Matt and I were stolen away to take pictures of just the two of us.
Then came time for the family photos.
"Alright, who are the parents of the bride?" The photographer asked.
Instinctively, I turned to my aunts and pointed. "They are."
"Bout time to wrap this thing up?" Debbie asked. "We've got to get to the restaurant pretty soon."
I was busy thanking friends and family for showing up, inviting them to lunch while also seeing who was also coming to the reception. Matt was busy cleaning all the snowflakes off of his glasses.
"How about one more photo?" The photographer held up her camera and ushered Matt and I closer together while everyone else began to pack up and leave.
"I love you," Matt whispered.
"I love you too," I smiled.
"We're married," he grinned, eyes wide.
"How weird is that?" I said, just before he kissed me.
Everyone packed up in separate cars. Debbie went immediately to the restaurant to make sure everything was set up, Tiffany and her husband left with their kids, and Joe went with Matt's family. Matt and I piled into Paula's car and buckled in just as she turned around.
"I need to make a quick stop first," she said.
Within a few minutes I found myself in a very familiar place. Somewhere I'd known since I was a little girl but hadn't seen in quite some time. Paula pulled her truck up against the curb of the snow covered road, parking under a large tree that somehow helped keep the snow from completely covering the headstones in the cemetery where my aunt Kathy, my Grandmother and my mother were buried.
"You don't have to get out if you don't want to," Paula said as she stepped outside.
"No, I want to," I smiled and had Matt help me out of the car.
Walking over to the headstones, I sighed looking down. "You were there, weren't you?" I asked quietly before pulling three roses out of my bouquet and laying them down on the stark white snow. I reached, touching the grave tenderly, the same way I'd done since I was a little girl, and then I smiled. Not even the reminders of death could ruin my happy day.
"Uh oh," I heard from back near the car.
"What happened?" I looked up at Matt who was staring at the ground.
"My . . . my wedding ring fell off."
"Well pick it up and put it back on. We'll get it resized later." I said, crawling over piles of snow to get back to the car.
"No, honey, it fell in there." He said, pointing to a pile of snow nearly three feet tall, extending out past the curb another two feet.
"Well . . . let's start digging," I sighed and set my bouquet down on the hood of the car.