The Wedding

People in the vestibule were talking about how beautiful it was, just as soon as they walked through the doors. The white colors, the draped linen, the floral arrangements, and magnolia blossoms.

Good morning, Erin. You don’t really know me, and I don’t really know you, but I wanted to thank you for inviting me to your wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful service.

You picked a good man to marry. Todd is an old friend. He’s moral, kind, loud-mouthed, and he can handle more adult beverages than any man I’ve ever known because he is Episcopal.

He is giving. Once, I saw him empty his wallet and give it to a handful of Hispanic boys outside the hardware store.

It was cold weather. They were looking for an honest day’s work. They were wearing T-shirts. He gave them a handful of cash to buy coats. That’s your new husband.

Anyway, it was a nice ceremony. They tell me that you and your mother decorated the chapel all by yourselves—and on a puny budget. It was breathtaking.

People in the vestibule were talking about how beautiful it was, just as soon as they walked through the doors. The white colors, the draped linen, the floral arrangements, and magnolia blossoms.

Somebody’s red headed toddler was running around in the back pews. And not that this is an issue, but he’d messed in his britches. We all know this because we could smell him.

His mother chased him, she was livid. She wore the angry face of Satan, adorned with pearls and heels. She couldn’t catch the kid. He eluded her grasp, then ran toward the altar of God just before the wedding started.

He waved hello to the congregation.

We waved back.

And once his furious mother caught him, we all knew this redhead would not see his next birthday.

Anyway, I was sitting beside your aunt and uncle. They were country people, and I have a soft spot for country people. These are the sort I come from.

They were beaming with pride when they talked about you. They told me how you skipped the sixth grade because you were so smart, and how you finished college early. They were so proud it hurt.

You probably know this, but I was friends with your new husband, long ago. We’re not as close as we once were, but we keep in touch.

He had his heart broken by his first wife—I’m certain you know more of the story than I do. You are medicine to him. I can see it. The way he looks at you tells a story, and it makes me believe in good again.

Your children were beautiful, standing on stage beside you. And when the preacher asked “Who gives this woman away?” we all sniffled when your ten-year-old son joined hands with his brother and sister and said, “We do.”

We in the congregation thought we were finished crying, until your kids read vows they’d written to their new step-siblings.

“You’re our real family,” your eldest daughter said. “And we’ll fight for you if you ever need us.”

Life is a fight, sometimes. A beautiful fight.

When you kissed your groom, people shouted. Several of us hollered. And please believe me when I say this: I don’t know who hollered “Roll Tide!” during your matrimonial kiss. It wasn’t me.

The reception was out of this world. Fried chicken made by church ladies, squash casserole made by your mother. And whatever those fried potato-things were, I ate nine of them.

You had all the dancing we could stand. The string band was big fun. And when your elderly aunt buck-danced, holding the hem of her skirt, I started cheering like everyone else.

Your father was in the back room, passing out water bottles to the men. And I don’t mean give away his secret, but these bottles were filled with what smelled like kerosene.

He winked at me and said, “It’ll put hair on ya back.”

When you cut the cake, you smeared icing on your groom’s face. We laughed and applauded. Because we believe in you, you see. We believe.

In fact, I believe in you so much I wanted to give you more than a flimsy Tupperware salad bowl from your Target gift registry. I wanted you to have words. Words that remind you of how much your new family gives me to believe in.

May you live a long, long life together. May age make your marriage even better. May you always feel the way you felt last weekend when your children read vows.

And please pray for that redheaded child whose mother finally caught him.

He’s going to need it.


  1. Rhonda Howell - August 15, 2018 5:55 am

    What a beautiful gift you gave this bride! You did real good . Yes you did! People never forget how you made them feel.

  2. Laurie Wasilewski - August 15, 2018 10:24 am

    As is happening with each post I read (I’m a newcomer), this brought tears to my eyes! Thank you!!!

  3. John - August 15, 2018 11:05 am

    Everyone’s wedding day should be magical. And you have captured some of that magic for posterity, so the couple can recall it forever .

  4. LeAnne Martin - August 15, 2018 11:41 am

    Sean! I love this. I have a similar story. Our wedding was amazing, our friends and family applauded, and lots of happy tears were shed. We didn’t have a redheaded toddler but we did have five little girls in frilly dresses who danced in a circle to the string quartet. It was the most beautiful day of my life. Thank you for reminding me of it, and best wishes to the happy couple and their new family.

  5. Sue Cronkite - August 15, 2018 11:44 am

    Perfect wedding. And wonderful words you wrote. Keep it up. You’re a natural.

  6. Edna B. - August 15, 2018 11:49 am

    What a beautiful story, sounds like it was an awesome occasion. What a lovely gift you’ve given this bride to tuck away with her memories of this happy day. I wish this couple many years of love and happiness. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  7. Penn Wells - August 15, 2018 11:56 am

    I honestly don’t know what makes one of your columns better than another…they’re all good in their own way…but this is one of your best.

  8. Connie Havard Ryland - August 15, 2018 12:30 pm

    Lovely. Congratulations to your friends. Wishing them much happiness and the strength to get through whatever life throws at them, together and whole. Blended families can be hard work, but they are a beautiful thing.

  9. Liz Watkins - August 15, 2018 12:37 pm

    WOW I feel like I was at the wedding. Your blogs are awesome! You have such a beautiful gift of words and of telling your story!
    Thanks and keep writing!
    Liz Watkins

  10. Joy - August 15, 2018 12:56 pm

    You are a very gifted writer…you always make me feel as though I am a part of your story. Blessing to the new family…our family is blended…and we now celebrate 40 years of marriage…God is so good! Can’t praise Him enough for all his love, mercy, grace and blessings He give us every day! Keep up the good writing!

  11. Heidi - August 15, 2018 1:27 pm

    Once again you started my day off believing in humanity. We all need that right now.

  12. Carol - August 15, 2018 2:25 pm

    A beautiful story and I pray they have a blessed wonderful life!!
    I know they have a friend for life and that’s you!!
    Love ya!

  13. Susan Swiderski - August 15, 2018 3:16 pm

    Just beautiful. Your words will give the bride and groom (and your readers) lots more joy than any piece of Tupperware ever could. (No burping required, either!)

  14. Esteban - August 15, 2018 3:37 pm

    “And whatever those fried potato-things were, I ate nine of them.” Sean, you had 12. But who’s counting? (Sorry, old joke and I couldn’t resist.) ;o).

  15. Summer H Hartzog - August 15, 2018 4:07 pm

    Your friend and his bride will treasure this forever. What a wonderful wedding gift!

  16. Linda Lovvorn - August 15, 2018 5:42 pm

    So wonderful reading your blog each day.? You brought tears to my eyes today!

  17. Susie-Q - August 15, 2018 7:01 pm

    Thank you for painting such a beautiful portrait for us. I feel as if I was at that wedding too. God Bless the new family and God Bless Sean.

  18. Nancy Powell - August 16, 2018 2:59 am

    Wow! I felt like I was there too! Thank you for always making me smile, and sometimes cry! God Bless you, and your friends, and even the little red headed boy!!

  19. Pat - August 16, 2018 2:20 pm

    When you can make people laugh, then cry, then laugh again, you are an outstanding writer!

  20. Jack Darnell - August 16, 2018 2:24 pm

    Love it dude!

  21. thefabulousflamingo - August 16, 2018 8:15 pm

    Excellent…just perfect.

  22. Lois Young - August 16, 2018 10:40 pm

    Made my day! Thanks, Sean

  23. perry5360 - August 18, 2018 5:47 pm

    ? Well said!


  24. Cecelia Arnold - August 20, 2018 4:55 pm

    I loved this post. I’m sure it will be the most memorable wedding gift this couple receives. My husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage in October and we are going back to the scene of the crime (Smokey Mountains) to celebrate and have a little down time together. Keep writing, Sean, because it so often makes me smile.


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