My sneaky sneaky mother has been lying to everyone for months. We were all under the assumption that a beach weekend had been planned as a mini vacation to enjoy time with my aunt and uncle who had planned to take a summer trip to the beach. This trip had been planned (and blocked out of our calendars) for months. Little did we all know that behind the scenes, my mom was planning to marry her fiancé in a surprise beach wedding the first night we were all there.
I will admit, I did think it was strange when I found out that my mom’s fiance had invited his kids from Iowa to come to the beach weekend. But even stranger, he had invited some of his old family friends from Iowa. My mom said it was as a thank you for helping him in the recent past. Of course, we all believed her. My mom never lies.
My mom may have fooled everyone. But not me. I figured it out about a day before we left Orlando. I told Nate that I had a feeling. And we packed an extra camera. We were told by my mom that we had to arrive NO LATER THAN 5pm for a special dinner the first night that she had planned. She was strangely adamant about the time. I made sure to straighten my hair and put on makeup… just in case.
When Lee (her fiance) came knocking on our hotel room door at 5:05 to hurry us out to a group of everyone except my mom I knew I was right. I whispered to Nate to get the camera out and set it for me. By the time I handed Cadence off to my aunt, my mom had stepped out of her hotel room in the most beautiful dress I’d ever seen. I looked around at faces that had no idea what was happening still. “Don’t you look nice!” a few voices said. It was like time stood still.
My Uncle (who was not supposed to be there) popped out from around the corner. Everyone looked at him, confusion for his sudden presence mixed with excitement to see his face. “Well I don’t know about you guys, but I’m here for a wedding! Follow me!” he shouted. Cheers and laughter erupted as one by one all the family and friends figured it out. Everyone except my aunt that is. Who figured it out once we arrived at the ceremony location on the beach and then freaked out for my camera. (Thanks Aunt Laura for the best photos of your surprised face!)
My mom’s brother officiated the beautiful and short ceremony under three palm trees and beside an altar of beach boulders and stones. Cheers, champagne, and surprise rounds of shots from fellow resort-goers awaited us all back at the hotel. And then we spent the weekend celebrating my Mom and Lee who are now on their honeymoon in the Florida Keys.
This is what it’s about ya’ll. It’s not about a banquet hall or a building. It’s not about the lighting or the matching bridesmaid dresses. It’s not about the mason jars or the handmade boutonnières or the details at all. It’s not about the timeline or the hair and makeup trials. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak. It’s not about the perfect order and having everything and everyone in their own perfect places. It’s about people, and promises. Strip it all down to just family and friends who love you. To vowed promises to love someone else, To happiness and the kind of hugs that only family can give. And, okay, a round or two of apple pie shots. This is the stuff wedding albums are made of you guys.