So, I survived my cousin’s wedding. My cousin Amber, the beautiful bride, and I are only a month apart in age. I was born in August on the 14th and she was born in September on the 18th. We were close while we grew up and my grandmother always referred to me and my sister as the C’s (Courtney & Colleen) and my cousin’s as the A’s (Amber & Ashley). We always laughed about how my dad and his sister both had only girls and named us with matching first letters. Amber and I had dreams of going to the same college and living together in Salisbury, near the ocean. We talked about when we would meet, and eventually date, the Backstreet Boys. We built forts out of couch cushions in my grandmother’s living room and spent every New Years Eve together. But then, in 2007 when I was 18, my grandmother died and so did any sibling love between my dad and his sister.
There was a lot of drama at that time. There was bitterness because we had been taking care of my grandmother, and my aunt and cousins were never there. There was some money issues and some drama over the ashes. It was pretty ugly for a while and Amber and I ended up having a falling out over me telling her “nana isn’t looking so good, you should go see her”. I had watch my other grandmother die from cancer only a few years before and I knew what the end looked like, but when I cautioned Amber, I was the bad guy. We stopped speaking, ended up deleting each other on MySpace (all the rage at the time), and went on with our lives.
Four years later, close to my 22nd birthday, Amber reached out to me on Facebook and we began to talk again. Her mom and dad had gotten divorced, her sister was having a baby, and she was buying a house with her current boyfriend. We didn’t really touch on the family drama…we missed one another. We went to dinner regularly, she came out to my birthday party that year (and that’s about all I remember…that night was kinda crazy), her sister had the baby, and we became close again. When she got engaged in May 2012 she asked me if I would be one of her bridesmaids and I said yes, while crying like a baby.
Yesterday, May 10th, 2014, was the big day. On Friday I headed over to her house around 11 a.m., and we made our way to the mansion and the hotel we were staying at. We get to the hotel and Amber crushes her finger in the car door – pretty badly I might add. She didn’t break it, but she bruised the hell out of it. We got through the rehearsal ceremony and headed off for the dinner. The maid of honor, my cousin Ashley, left 5 minutes in and caused a little bit of a commotion. My aunt, cousin, and I bonded over a bottle of white wine that we all loved. Amber and I worked on the table/seating lists until 11:30 p.m. and then stayed up talking and laughing until 2 a.m. We got up about 4:30 a.m., I ran to get coffee for everyone from Dunkin Donuts, and we started getting hair and makeup done.
A few minutes before the ceremony started my parents, sisters, and grandfather showed up. I ran the boutonnieres down for her poppop and ours, and made sure the picture of our grandmother was out on the “Remembrance” table. When amber made her way down the aisle, she was crying and then I cried. During the reception, she cried – A LOT. She danced with our poppop and she danced with her mom. Her dad is a dickhead and decided that his new wife was more important than his daughter.The maid of honor ended up leaving the wedding, before the apron dance, so I stood in for her. At the very end, I went up to my cousin and asked her if the whole apron would buy a dance for me and her and she cried and danced with me.
My aunt was crying and telling me that she was really glad I was there and that my dad was there. She was scared he wouldn’t come. I told her that no matter what drama had gone down, he never would have done that to Amber. He never would have missed her wedding, no matter how much he groaned about having to go. She just hugged me, thanked me, and walked away. Then the DJ announced the parent dance and Harley’s parents (the groom’s parents) went up and danced, but my Aunt Melissa didn’t have anyone to dance with and she sat down. My mom and I went to my dad and told him that regardless of everything, it would be nice if he took his sister to dance, because she was a parent and she couldn’t help it if the bride’s father was an ass. And then my father talked to his sister for the first time in 7 years.
As soon as he asked his sister to dance, she started crying. When they hit the dance floor I watched my cousin’s reaction and it was absolutely priceless. As soon as she saw my dad and her mom, she did a double (and a triple) take and started SOBBING. She was almost hysterical. She could not believe it. One of the groomsmen was asking what was wrong and she could barely get it out, but she kept going “My mom…is dancing with her brother…my MOM is dancing with her BROTHER”. It was beautiful. When they finished, my aunt hugged me and thanked me for everything. The whole thing even made my mom and sisters tear up, and they would be the last people I would expect to tear up.
In the very end, the day was beautiful. The rain held out long enough for the ceremony and cocktail hour to finish, the reception was great, the mansion was beautiful, the drama was non-existent, and most importantly, my cousin was happy.
I don’t know what the future is for my father’s relationship with my aunt, but as far as yesterday went…it was just beautiful. At the end of the day, I was exhausted. But, I have to say this: not to beep my own horn or anything (beep, beep!) but I was up at 4:30 a.m., my hair and makeup were done around 5 a.m., I had endured a whole ceremony, I was soaked by the rain around 6 p.m., and I still looked pretty freakin’ cute:
Beep, beep 🙂