What a beautiful day for a wedding, and for a first. How lovely that the two were combined as my elder daughter, Elissa, married her beau, Josh. In a charming little chapel, with family present, these two long time friends and more recent sweethearts, pledged to love and cherish each other.
The story of Elissa and Josh goes way back. Back, even, before they were born. Elissa’s dad Greg, and Josh’s dad Mike, were friends as young boys in a tiny town in southwest Missouri. I met Josh’s parents shortly after Mike married Debi. After Greg and I married and moved to Joplin, we discovered Mike and Debi lived in nearby Pittsburg, KS. We met frequently, as our families grew, and the kids played together. Josh was their eldest and Elissa ours. They have known each other all their lives. Both grew up and married someone else, each having a wonderful son as a result of their first marriages, and they stayed in touch over the years.
It seemed a natural pairing when they reconnected after their first marriages ended. Neither was in a hurry to marry again and they spent time being friends first and then so much more. Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed watching Elissa and Josh grow, as individuals and as a couple, encouraging each other, supporting each other, loving each other. They recently spoke of getting married next October. But, as Harry says to Sally, in the delightful movie When Harry Met Sally, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.” With the upcoming holidays and the threat of bad weather making travel between Joplin MO and Pittsburg KS more treacherous, Josh wondered, why wait? And Elissa agreed!
Today was such a joyous occasion. The ceremony was simple, classy, family oriented. Elissa’s 15 year old son Dayan walked her down the aisle and gave her away. He stood tall by her side, while Josh’s 9 year old son Jonathan stood proudly by his dad. What a sweet symbol of unity, seeing the four of them together at the front of the church, a beautiful blending of two families. There was no rehearsal, just life unfolding. We smiled when Elissa handed her flower bouquet to a slightly startled Dayan, as she and Josh exchanged rings. And laughed when Jonathan peered around his dad to watch him kiss his gorgeous bride. The ceremony concluded and Jonathan threw both arms upward in an excited expression of victory!
The wedding party and guests moved to the beautiful old Stillwell Hotel in downtown Pittsburg. Tables were arranged around the ballroom, their tops covered with cream tablecloths. Bud vases filled with fresh baby’s breath, white votive candles and hearts cut from vintage looking newspaper made attractive centerpieces for each table. There was a delicious dessert bar with two small wedding cakes, one with chocolate cake, one with vanilla. Family members contributed home-made desserts such as chocolate meringue pie, cupcakes, snickerdoodle cookies and fresh peach cobbler. The table was so cute, with burlap covered vases filled with more baby’s breath, hand lettered signs for each treat, a burlap covered letter A, and a lace cloth. I enjoyed the reception so, and forgot to get a picture of the table! We all watched, with teary eyes as Elissa and Josh slowly moved through their first dance together as husband and wife. And cheered and clapped for the children in the room who danced with uninhibited joy. Josh’s sister, sisters-in-law, mom and grandmother made the reception very special and one of Josh’s brothers snapped pictures, capturing moments and turning them into memories.
What a heart-warming afternoon of firsts, seeing my girl marry her man, officially welcoming a new son and a new grandson, and joining with the Adam family after almost a lifetime of knowing Mike and Debi. Someone once told me that when two people marry, it isn’t just a man joining with a woman, it is two families that join. I am thrilled to be so aligned with the Adam family. May we all live happily ever after!