My childhood best friend's wedding served as a huge reminder of the passage of time.
Just yesterday, Lindsey and I were dressed as cats together on Halloween. We were making Christmas cookies together and playing at day care. Our moms were best friends. We were best friends.
Then suddenly, I found myself at her wedding, both of us years older, as she walked down the aisle toward a man named Hunter Lewis.
The tiny bit of decoration in the barn at Cotton Market gave the venue a rustic but elegant feel. Sheathes of white tulle hung in soft V-shaped drapes from the entrance to the altar. Guests sat in white folding chairs, and as always, the place filled up so quickly that people had to stand in the back.
The ceremony started with the matrons of the couple's families lighting candles for the bride and groom. I recognized most of the women from my childhood--Lindsey's mother, Paula, and her grandmothers Honey and Velma, each lighting a candle to bring another family into the mix.
As the first country song played, Lindsey's younger sister and maid of honor, Taylor, walked in, and the rest of the bridesmaids--most of them family members--followed in navy blue strapless dresses and cowgirl boots. As the bridesmaids walked down the aisle, the room was still full of the low hum of chatter, but when the barn doors shut, the talking stopped.
A woman pushed the doors open for that perfect photograph of the bride and her father. After a second, the bride finally got to make that journey down the aisle. Hunter's face lit up when he saw Lindsey walking toward him in a vintage-looking mermaid-hem dress. Though she complained later about being too warm in it, the dress fit her like a glove.
The couple lit a unity candle and returned to the altar to recite their vows. Before the final kiss, the groom brought out a gift for his bride--a gold necklace with her new initials monogrammed on it. As he was trying to put it on her, he seemed to be having trouble and ended up in an awkward embrace. Finally, Taylor stepped up to finish the job. A light chuckle from the audience turned to clapping when Lindsey and Hunter kissed.
I sat there thinking how strange it was to still remember Lindsey as my childhood best friend, while at the same time, seeing her before me as an adult, tying the knot.
Everyone piled into the adjacent reception area quickly, most moving toward the endless tables of food--barbecue pork sliders, cheese cubes (my personal favorite) and lemon-pepper chicken. The reception area even had a really neat mashed potato bar with the tastiest bacon.
My favorite part of the night, though, was the cutting of the cake. I happened to be standing nearby, looking at the many Instagram photos of the wedding, when all of sudden, I heard Lindsey yelling.
I looked up to see Lindsey in that incredible dress, with her face covered in white icing. She walked over to me and said, "Can you believe ..." I didn't let her finish because I had my iPhone out taking a photo. She smiled for the camera and went to wash off her face.
It was strange to be around these people again, like an odd joining of selves--my child self, and my (kind of) adult self. I saw my old life in all those people from my childhood, and then saw how far I've come.
I wanted to be able to sit and talk with Lindsey, just for a second, but she was occupied for most of the night.
Instead, I sat back and watched as my childhood best friend danced with her father, and then her new husband, as she took the first steps toward her new life.
Day-of coordinator: Christy Ponder
Officiant: Todd Sanders
Reception location: Cotton Market (2644 South Pearson Road, Richland, 601-906-5499)
Cake: Cakes by Iris (cakesbyiris.com)
Groom's and groomsmen's attire: Tuxedo Junction (locations in Jackson, Flowood and Ridgeland, tuxedojunction.com)
Bride's attire: Allure Bridal from Imaginations (119 W. Cherokee St., Brookhaven, 601-833-6280)
Caterer and Florist: Fresh Cut Catering & Floral (108 Cypress Cove, Flowood, 601-939-4518, wendyputt.com)
Photographer: Carrie Hoben (southernphotographyinc.com)
Sound: DJ Reign