Having been a groomsman close to 10 times, I thought I knew a thing or two about what it’d be like to get married.
I thought I’d know what it’d be like to be the groom.
Boy, was I wrong.
When I saw my bride – Kari Albertson – walk down the aisle of the First Presbyterian Church, I was so entranced by her beauty I could no longer hear my friend Chris play Pachelbel’s Canon on the organ, nor could I see any of the 200 in attendance. Everything stopped, and I realized I’d never felt anything like this before.
As my dad – the officiant – asked me to repeat after him and as he asked my bride to do the same, I was awe-struck with the power of the moment. Not that I was making light of it going in, but what I felt looking into Kari’s eyes was unwavering, unconditional, indestructible love. In that moment, our lives came together as one, and I’d never felt more fortunate.
“Take a look around,” my dad told us, encouraging us to see the faces of so many family members and friends in attendance. Many of them we’d known for years – if not our whole lives – and many of them came a long way to see us.
There was also a large outpouring of local love and support; people we’d only known a few years who made their presence known and showed their support for our love – a love that began in July of 2012, just a few months after I moved here from Glendive.
In that time, Kari and I have come a long way together. It hasn’t always been easy, but our difficult times are in the past and our wrongs are forgiven. Through patience, kindness, loyalty, hard work and supreme confidence in our partnership, we’ve grown together and prepared each other for our special moment Saturday, June 18.
Then and there, however, we realized we’ve only just begun, and we have rings to forever remind us.
“Things change once you put that ring on your finger,” my best man Tom told me years ago. “You’ll feel it. It’s more powerful than you think.”
The emphasis on the ring by Tom and by other friends and family was also met with much humor on the wedding day considering how close we were to not having them when the ceremony began.
Twenty minutes before the big moment, I was sitting next to my 4-year-old nephew, Denison, the ring bearer, when it hit me.
Standing up, I immediately went looking for Tom.
“You have the rings?”
“No, I thought Denison – wait, why would a four-year-old have them?”
Fortunately, the house was only nine blocks away, and Tom and Chris rushed out to grab them and get back in time for the 4:06 (yes, 4:06 because of the area code) start time.
Needless to say, there was much stress involved with that day, but once the ceremony kicked off and I saw my wife-to-be, I became suddenly and surprisingly tranquil.
Standing up there, telling Kari I’d be her loving and faithful husband, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live, I meant it, and it hit me harder than any emotion I’d ever felt. There is simply no comparison. I felt more alive, more present and more exhilarated in that moment than I was when I went skydiving with my dad on my 16th birthday or when I performed music for my largest crowd. Never had I felt the gravity of “I do” and never will I forget it.
I thought I’d been to joyous receptions in the past; little did I realize just how joyous it’d feel to be the groom. This feeling of mine was obvious to many others, as I really let it out, crying at practically every toast and then crying some more during a few dollar dances.
Fortunately, I was able to keep it together while playing songs I’d written for Kari with some of my best friends performing alongside me, including my father on lead guitar. Looking out to see my beautiful bride smiling and dancing, I couldn’t help but feel a tremendous sense of pride in the present and remarkable sense of excitement and optimism for our future.
Never before had I been so captivated by the glory of true love.
(as published in the Lewistown News-Argus)