IT’S SO CLICHE to say that the bride was radiant. But no other word seems fitting for my niece, Carlyn, so in love with her now-husband, Jared, her high school sweetheart whom she married on Saturday at English Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove.
The bridal couple, family and guests walked below that bell Saturday before witnessing a beautiful ceremony celebrating faith and family and the beginning of a new life together.
Carlyn cried more than any bride I’ve ever seen. Cried walking down the aisle. Cried during the ceremony. Cried when she hugged her parents. So much emotion overwhelming her.
And I thought how fortunate she is to live only blocks from her parents, to work side-by-side with her mother in a family-owned daycare. Likewise, Jared works with his father on their nearby farm.
These newlyweds will be surrounded by those who have loved and nurtured and cared for them their entire lives.
I watched as kids wove freely among adults on the church grounds and at the reception in the Westbrook Community Center. Small town carefree. Connected. Something you wouldn’t see at a wedding reception in a larger community.
On one end of the reception venue, kids tossed a toy football back and forth. A boy rumbled a toy truck across the floor. Preschool boys splashed in the drinking fountain.
And in between it all, adults laughed and conversed and danced to the beat of polkas, country line dances, 70s tunes that I once sang as a member of the Wabasso High School choir and more.
As my husband and I passed below street lights outside the community center, past the impressive corner veterans’ memorial and the old brick implement dealership where the bride’s dad (my eldest brother) worked before a new facility was built on the edge of town, I considered what a perfect day it had been. September weather at its best. My mom recovered enough to attend the wedding and reception. And love. Radiant.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling