Life is a Highway….

On this day 13 years ago, at about 5:00 in the evening, friends and family from all over came together to witness the marriage of me and Other Half. 30 minutes before I walked down the aisle, I was in the bridal room with my mom, Christina Yang, and Nervous Nelly with a trashcan in front of me trying desperately not to vomit and a box fan under my dress so I didn’t pass out from the heat.

For reasons unclear to me now, I picked the hottest weekend of the year to have senior citizens from all over North and South Carolina sit in direct sunlight while my childhood youth pastor performed what was, in retrospect, a VERY long ceremony. I think it was something about the idea that I only got to wear this dress one time, and one time only, and I wanted to make it count. Had I known that it was going to be 12 degrees hotter than you know where, I would’ve gone for the bare-bones version. Also, notice the Steve Madden Pony Hair Zebra Print 4 inch heels I was wearing. Also not a smart move for a long ceremony, but I needed them in my life (Thanks Uncle Jesse).

I loved my wedding. I loved my engagement ring. I loved my dress. I loved by fiance. But I did not love wedding planning. About half way through the whole process, I was about to have some type of nervous breakdown because I was trying to juggle nursing school with a second major, a job, a relationship, and an identity crisis that for some reason NO ONE told me I would have. I mean, it all sounds so romantic and care-free until you realize that you’re going to be with this person for better or worse, til death do you part, in sickness and in health…none of the bridal magazines or TV shows mention any of that. They’re too busy telling you what dress you should wear and how you have to make a seating chart. I gave up and let mom take over a good bit of the last half of the wedding plans. 

We had this old times Rolls Royce to drive me from the restaurant to the outdoor venue where I would walk down the aisle, and then later would drive us home. Everything was as it should be. Mom, Dad, my aunt, Uncle Jessie, and the in-laws made sure everything was perfect since I was hanging by a thread and couldn’t finish coordinating the details any longer. But one thing that I was adamantly involved in was the music. I hated traditional wedding music. I didn’t want some weird classical orchestra or anything depressing. I’d always hated when people had these serious opera-style songs at their weddings. I wanted the songs to be special. Something that meant something to me.

For the seating of the family we had Diana Krall “Just the Way You Are.” I also remember having “God Blessed the Broken Road” and Shania Twain’s “From This Moment.” The song that was most important to me though, was after we were pronounced. Instead of the traditional song that people exit the church with, I wanted a happy song. My friend had recently gotten married and used “This Will Be”, and I thought it was so cute. Another friend used Santana and Chad Kroeger singing “Why Don’t You and I.” I couldn’t copy either of them. So for months when I would listen to the radio or go on iTunes, I would listen intently for the perfect blend of happy, hopeful, quirky perfection that would round out the service. 

Finally, I decided on “Life is a Highway”, the Rascal Flatts version. The movie soundtrack for Cars had just come out, I think, is the only explanation I have. I thought of it as a great description of the grand adventure Other Half and I were embarking upon. 

People laughed and smiled, we took tons of pictures. We danced at the reception, and then in a blur, it was time for us to leave. In my mind everything had gone perfectly. My in-laws had gotten us this amazing trip to Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon, and we had a great time without a care in the world over that next week. 

When I got home and we were talking about how everything had gone, I was shocked to learn that my mom was not happy with the songs I picked. “They were perfect!” I said. “They were happy and hopeful, and they were songs people knew, and they made people laugh.” Then Mom says what was obvious to her but which I had not even thought of. “Well excuse me, Princess. I just didn’t think it was right to close out your wedding with a song about riding it all night long!” ……..for once, I had no words. 

To this day I laugh when I think about it. Once again, she proved that no matter how old you get, your mom is always right. Every time that song comes on I am equal parts embarrassed and amused as I remember the music starting, walking back down the aisle grinning ear to ear on the arm of my new husband, having no idea that my mom is absolutely mortified. Now maybe when you hear that song, you’ll see it in a whole new light, just like I did after that little heartfelt reality check with mom. You are welcome. 

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