The Bunting Bash: Fashionably Late
Before I can explain why our bridesmaids were glancing at one another in confusion, let’s rewind back to where you last saw me.
My bridal party had rescued me after a wave of emotion threatened to consume me and I had regained my composure and was waiting patiently for my cue. Since our guests had all been seated, I was allowed to leave my room of hiding and peek out the windows. (Not that I could see much with all the trees between the building and the trellis in the lower valley.)
I couldn’t linger there for long, though. Daddy Bunting was waiting for me, and he asked if I was ready. I was. And after putting on his cowboy hat, he was ready, too.
Some of you may be wondering about the cowboy hat, since our wedding hasn’t had a hint of a southern or western theme so far. Daddy Bunting is a man of the west, and his ideal outfit includes jeans, a pair of his favorite cowboy boots, and his cowboy hat. Though the jeans weren’t appropriate for this wedding, I couldn’t imagine him without his hat, boots, and a bolo tie on my wedding day.
He helped pick up my train and we made our way opposite of the ceremony. We weren’t headed for the aisle, but to the parking lot.
And this is why:
A beautiful horse and carriage was waiting to carry us both for a particularly grand entrance.
I have always loved horses, and though I was never the type to plan my dream wedding when I was little, having a horse-drawn carriage was the one thing I always imagined having.
We discussed the idea in the early wedding planning stages, but then had to sadly dismiss it because it just wasn’t in the budget. And then something terrible happened to change that: the great BP oil spill off the Gulf coast. Daddy Bunting was sent to the coast by his company on several occasions to help with marine and water sample surveys. And you know what Daddy Bunting and Mother Bunting did with the extra money he earned from those weeks of hard work? They rented us that horse-drawn carriage. My parents are absolutely amazing.
But you want to know what the real kicker is? We kept this a secret from Mr. Bunting. For over a year. It was tough. There were moments when someone or another almost let it slip. Our DJ nearly let the cat out of the bag before the ceremony when, after taking our formal photos, he asked me, in front of Mr. Bunting, if I had seen the horse yet. He quickly realized his error and followed up by saying he saw some horses go on by, which was not entirely unrealistic since we were surrounded by farmlands and some horse stables. Fortunately Mr. Bunting was far too distracted to even notice!
And it was especially challenging at the rehearsal, since having a carriage meant I would be coming from a completely different angle (the side road versus the stairs off the pavilion like the rest of the wedding party, which was impassable by carriage). Daddy Bunting and I rehearsed on a prior trip to the park when Mr. Bunting couldn’t come with us. Our two photographers, videographer, and DJ, who was responsible for both ceremony and reception music, knew the general real plan. Even our wedding party had been clued in. But Mr. Bunting was absolutely oblivious.
I couldn’t wait to see his reaction, and I fervently hoped it would be positive… Mr. Bunting typically hates surprises.
Once we were both settled in, we were off down the road. The trees along the road kept us hidden from the view of our guests, so we crept along unseen.
Mr. Bunting, expecting me to follow the path of the wedding party, waited patiently and still unsuspectingly.
As we neared our destination, the butterflies in my stomach rolled with rekindled determination. I felt tears welling in my eyes as Daddy Bunting and I anticipated the next and final leg of our journey to the aisle. I was on the verge of becoming the bawling bride, despite how desperately I tried to contain myself.
But then something else unexpected happen, and this is the one major thing that went wrong on our wedding day. The carriage was to leave the main road and enter a two-track trail that lead into the meadow immediately behind the ceremony site. This track is normally chained off to prevent vehicles from entering the area when it’s not needed for special event parking. Our carriage driver had a key to unlock it before the ceremony started, and even though they had unlocked it and removed the chain, there it was… blocking our only path. The driver’s key was in the trailer, back down the road and in the parking lot, and there was no other way to enter the meadow because the ditch was too steep for the carriage to cross.
I could hear the bridal processional music playing, just out of reach, and I remember thinking, ‘Crap, we’re supposed to be walking down the aisle to this!’
And then I stared calmly at the chain, and thought, “Huh, well now what?”
It was at this time that some of the guests knew something was up. I believe a few of them could see the horse and carriage just between the trees, but they didn’t quite know what was going on or why we weren’t moving.
While I sat in the carriage and took advantage of the opportunity to distract and recompose myself from those nervous butterflies, everyone around us tried to find the fastest and easiest solution. Hey, I was the bride, and this wasn’t my problem to solve. I knew it would be remedied one way or another, so I wasn’t fretting. And it wasn’t long before rescue was on the way. The park associate that had made the mistake of locking the chain back up was waddling toward us with a key while my uncle (our Master of Ceremony) was darting toward us like a madman. Before the park associate could even reach us, my uncle took one look at the chain, then ripped the big eyelet screw holding the padlock out of its wooden post and threw the chain aside. It was like watching The Hulk. A very well-dressed Hulk.
Okay, he didn’t physically rip the eyelet screw out, just unscrewed it from the wood with a few good twists. But it happened so fast that I was completely in awe and am convinced he had super human strength. That screw was in there deep and that wood was not soft with rot.
With the path cleared again, we were on our way!
As the horse trotted along the slight hill overlooking the trellis, we came into full view of all our guests and Mr. Bunting.
I was still too far away to be able to see any faces in detail, but I was later told by several guests that there wasn’t a single dry eye among the women as Daddy Bunting helped me from the carriage and our DJ looped the bridal processional song to the beginning.
Mr. Bunting watched on as we approached off to the side and behind.
The majority of our guests and Mr. Bunting were completely taken aback by my entrance. Needless to say, it was a wonderful surprise that Mr. Bunting thoroughly loved.
I even consider the delay to be a blessing in disguise, because the distraction of trying to remedy the situation allowed me to regain full composure so Daddy Bunting and I walked down the aisle with full smiles and tear-free eyes.
I was torn between wanting to reach Mr. Bunting and wanting to lengthen my walk with my father. So I let Daddy Bunting set a pace that would allow us to fully savor our walk down the aisle as father and daughter.
I grinned at some of our guests as we went, but as I drew closer I couldn’t take my eyes off Mr. Bunting. There he was, standing silently, my husband-to-be. The man I had been dating and loving for over seven years; the man who grew alongside me as we aged from awkward adolescents to young adults; the man who I wanted to continue to grow alongside.
We don’t have any photographs of Mr. Bunting’s expression as I approached him except for this one guest photo:
I don’t think he minded me being so fashionably late. I later asked him if he had been worried at all when I hadn’t arrived with the music, and he told me no. He knew that nothing would keep me from walking down that aisle to marry him.
Daddy Bunting and I stopped just short of the trellis. Our officiant asked who was giving away the bride and Daddy Bunting responded appropriately.
Then Daddy Bunting and I shared an emotional embrace.
And he ceremoniously clasped my hand with Mr. Bunting’s hand.
Welcome to the family, son. She’s in your care now.
With my hand tightly squeezing Mr. Bunting’s, we faced our officiant as he welcomed us, all of our guests, and God to our celebration of marriage.
After the declaration of intent, we had a brief moment of silence to acknowledge the loved ones who were no longer with us, particularly Mr. Bunting’s father. You may remember that I searched for a variety of ways to incorporate tribute to passed loved ones, but in the end Mr. Bunting felt most comfortable with an intimate and special moment of silence.
And just like that, our ceremony was under way.
*Marked photos are copyright Bryan and Mae Photography. Unmarked photos are personal or guest photos.
Follow the adventure:
- We had a fluffing party and rehearsed.
- I woke up and got ready with my girls.
- I step into the prettiest white dress I’ll ever wear.
- Mr. Bunting recounts getting ready at the Man Cave.
- Wishin’ and prayin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ for perfect weather.
- I received the most important Post-It Note. Ever.
- We race toward one another for our first look.
- Mushy-lovey photos ensued shortly after.
- We strutted our stuff as one big happy Bunting Bunch.
- Our guests started to arrive: welcome to our wedding.
- I went into hiding… and panicked.
- Our wedding party assembled on time, but the bride was missing.