After breakfast we went back to the hotel and got all fancied up. We gathered in the parking lot and as we waited Steve showed us a trick to keep our shirts straight - reach into your pockets and tug down on the bottom of your shirt from the inside. We then tested how it looked with a group photograph.
As you can see, my good friends were keeping my anxiety in check.
Once my parents joined us we headed to the event. The drive was short but the butterflies were getting more restless. At the venue we had our pictures taken - me alone, me with brother, me with Bill, Steve and John, me with parents, me with parents and brother, etc. The sheer tedium of this settled the butterflies.
Once we were done with pictures we waited. Well, all except for Kyle who was helping to seat friends and family. The waiting was the worst part. That's when the nerves took hold. It didn't help that my "friends" were having a jolly time watching the nerves build and were encouraging them by telling me that the person I was there to meet was wearing an inappropriately-colored dress. Despite the dress having been described to me previously by other parties, they said it so much I started to worry that something had changed.
Eventually, it was time to take our places. Bill, Steve, John and I stood at the front of the room. As the music played a beautiful woman entered from the back. Everyone stood to greet and honor her. Thankfully, she was wearing a flowing white dress with a slightly pink hue to it (and not the blazing red dress my friends had teased about). Her father walked her to the front of the church where he passed responsibility and entrusted me with her care.
For twenty-three years I have loved and cared for my beautiful wife, Shelly. We've overcome obstacles and tested our vows but together we are strong. I love her more and more every day. Happy anniversary, sweetie. I love you.