It was just two months ago that I wrote about my son’s engagement over Labor Day weekend. I shared with you that Andy and Erin were planning to marry next November after Andy returned from his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Well, a lot has happened since then. As you can see by the accompanying photo, Andy and Erin decided not to wait until 2014, and were wed earlier this month in a chapel on the base at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
It was a lovely wedding on a beautiful autumn day, with fallen leaves carpeting the walk from the church, and branches laden with red, orange and yellow foliage perfectly framing their photos.
The bride was gorgeous in a classic satin dress, and the groom stunning in his formal officer uniform. Andy proudly wore his white cover (as U.S. Marines call their hats) and playfully plopped it on his bride’s head after the ceremony — a bit like Richard Gere and Debra Winger in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
Witnessing this joyous event was immediate family only — mothers, fathers, sisters, brother, sister-in-law and one first cousin. Between both families there were just nine of us — 11 including the bride and groom.
The wedding was intimate and deeply personal, with Andy and Erin focusing 100 percent on each other and their vows. There was none of the stress usually associated with getting married because there were no guests to greet and no reception to worry about.
Andy and Erin shared their commitment with their closest family members, those who have loved them since the day they were born, or younger siblings who never knew life without them.
Everyone else — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends — will have to wait until Nov. 8, 2014. That’s when Andy and Erin will renew their vows in the church where Erin grew up in Appleton, Wis. Together we will celebrate their union with a traditional Midwestern reception in a spacious hall overlooking the Fox River.
I’m still not sure exactly how this accelerated wedding came to be. Shortly after becoming engaged, Andy left for a month of training in southern California. While still out West, he called to tell me that he and Erin had decided to get married before he deployed instead of waiting another year.
So with the blessings of their priest and their parents, Andy and Erin began planning their wedding, and were married four weeks later. It was surreal how the wedding details fell into place so easily and beautifully. Even the weather was perfect.
As I write this column, I’ve been back in Land O’ Lakes for three days and am still getting used to the idea of a married son and a new daughter-in-law. Of course I am thrilled, but it is an adjustment — one of those transitional times most parents experience as their child embarks on a new life path quite separate from their own.
And, of course, this is the way it is meant to be: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh,” Ephesians 5:31-33
I never gave much thought to this Biblical verse until Andy’s wedding. But now it resonates loudly, as it does undoubtedly for all parents who have witnessed their son become a husband, or their daughter become a wife.