Our wedding was magical. It truly was a celebration of love.
After months of preparation, the big day finally arrived.
Every aspect was an act of love from friends and family.
It made me feel so good to look around and see my friends laughing and decorating our alter with vines from the garden. My mom and aunt Kathy in the kitchen making cakes. My aunt Bev making bouquets for the bridesmaids and I. Our friends Chris and Jazmin putting out finishing touches, laying out succulents from their garden, providing the most epic watermelon margaritas and even beer kegs they had on hand.
I did not want a big fancy wedding, but I wanted it to be special. These things made it so.
I woke up the day of the wedding feeling very calm.
My brother picked me up in his amazing retro rental car and dropped me at the house.
By the time I had arrived, friends and family had set the tables, bright red linen and red napkins popping out of wine glasses and our hand painted wine boxes all laid out. I was mesmerized.
Just as I was about to run off to get my hair and makeup done a gust of wind came down and knocked half of the glasses and plates onto the ground.
I took a deep breath.
We'd been worrying about a storm all week and it was up to the heavens at this point. We had gotten a tent last minute and there wasn't much else we could do.
So off I went to be made up. A girlfriend did my hair and a family friend did my makeup (both experts in their fields).
When they were all done, I slipped on my dress - an online whim for $70 - and felt the most beautiful I ever had.
Another family friend, a talented photographer, pulled me aside to take photos in the garden.
I expected to be nervous.
But walking down the aisle with my dad (to You Got What I Need by Joshua Radin) all I could feel was joy.
It was an incredible to feel all of the love and support towards our union.
My mom, our officiant, put together the most memorable ceremony.
She introduced one friend or family member after another, who joined us at the alter to share words, read poetry, and sing. The best man's father sang Caruso while the rain began to fall, my cousin Ayah belted out L-O-V-E after recovering from a devilish stomach flu just the day before. We were so beautifully surprised.
During Derek's vows, as he poured out his heart, the skies started to pour as well.
I raised my hands in the air, said "Let it rain" and was soon rescued with an umbrella while he finished.
It felt lucky.
The rest of the night flowed. We danced our first dance to "Without You" while the rain took a pause.
Wine, margaritas, freshly made tacos, Champagne and hilarious speeches followed.
I could never have predicted, or thought I deserved such a grand celebration.
The rain came down again and we danced our father daughter and mother son dances under the tent in the grass.
When it started to pour even harder after the reception, I took Derek out ito the rain and said "Let's use this dance floor."
I can only hope to live the rest of our lives the way we did this wedding - to work together to make things happen, to surround ourselves with those we love, to celebrate life and always dance in the rain.
My heart, my soul and my entire being was moved and restored in a way that I can hardly describe that day.
To put it simply: love conquers all.