Family traditions framed the beginning of this woman's marriage.
Five years ago, I woke up in my childhood bed. A full-sized bed, decked in faded flowers. The bed on which I used to scatter my notes to study. The bed on which I used to sit with friends and gossip. The bed which I used to share with Sister C every Christmas Eve. You see, when I went off to Yale, C inherited my room. When C went off to Yale, T inherited her room. One after one, we Donnelley girls graduated from that room full of old pictures and books and trophies to much smaller dorm rooms on a certain New Haven campus. One by one, we graduated from that bed, that tall iron bed decorated in white Christmas lights year round, to much smaller beds where we spent our collegiate slumber.
Five years ago, I woke up in that bed for the last time. It was my wedding day. Per tradition, Husband and I had spent the night apart. It was a mild December morning. I woke up early and I just stayed there, under the cloud of covers, looking out the window onto the street I grew up on. I studied the naked branches of the trees. The windows on homes across the street. I looked at the ceiling. My shelter for so long. I stayed there in those moments, giddy with anticipation, on the brink of big change. Good change. Exquisite change.
I spent the morning surrounded by my family and best friends. We all nibbled on pastries and took turns getting our hair and makeup done. We played Christmas music. When the time came, I descended the steps to the parlor level of my parents’ home. And there it hung. My dress. My big dress. Champagne duchess silk with rich embroidery and a splash of color. Two turquoise beaded doves kissing on the back. Wedding Planning 101