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The kissI stood gazing out of the picture window as Jennifer put the last of the tiny flowers into my hair.  As if on cue, the rain started falling steadily from an already grey sky.  My friend turned me so I couldn’t see the rain.  Remarkably, I wasn’t concerned.  I felt totally at peace.  My mother came flying into the house, dressed in her beautiful dress of champagne lace, assuring me the rain would stop any minute.  Really, I was fine.  No heart palpitations, no pangs of anxiety.  I was the calmest rained out bride the world has ever seen.  My one small concern was who was getting all the church’s sound equipment out of the rain.  But, even that was a fleeting detail.

My sister and friends and I stood watching the rain, hoping for a break so I could walk the short distance to the ceremony.  Finally, I grabbed the nearest umbrella–a black one–and merrily traipsed through the sprinkles to where my beloved waited with my unplanned ceremony.

Three months earlier, we had begun plans for our long-anticipated wedding.  As if on cue, nature conspired against us and every other outdoor wedding in the area.  On September 16, 2004, Hurricane Ivan ruined many a bride’s dreams of a beach wedding.  We were left scurrying and cleaning and planning.  It was a wonderful adventure!

True to my stubborn nature, I refused to change the wedding locale.  We literally shoveled debris out of Jayne’s once beautiful Bayou side home.  The storm surge had made its way through her enormous picture window.  We planned to be married beneath her lovely oak trees, overlooking the sunset across the water.  On our wedding day, as Pastor Bobby and James watched the rain dash across the water’s surface, Bobby remarked that he certainly hoped we had an alternate plan.  We didn’t

While my friends and I at the Hobbit House waited for the rain to stop, James and our friends down the road at Jayne’s house moved the entire wedding indoors.  One small problem:  Jayne was still without electricity.  Undaunted, all the lovely fairy candles were moved inside and passed around to willing attendees.  Ferns were moved inside, grape vines were artfully arranged and furniture was pushed to the side to create a standing room only situation for the excited crowd.  Mind you, I was blissfully unaware of all of these preparations.  When I stepped into the room (the only dry person in the house), my eyes were dazzled by the beauty before me.  In the low light, I was surrounded by smiling faces illumined only with softly flickering candles.

In short, it was amazing.  Our friends still grow misty eyed and smile fondly as they recall the “most beautiful wedding ever.”

Today, we mark the fourth anniversary of this wonderful adventure.