In a wedding for the ages, editor becomes sister-in-law


On Oct. 10, I had the pleasure of being the maid of honor for the first time ever. My 18-year-old sister, Carly, defied the odds of distance and the U.S. Air Force by marrying her husband before his first deployment.
I am the oldest of seven, so I wasn’t the only sibling involved with the ceremony. Our 13-year-old sister, Julie, was also a bridesmaid and our baby sister, Rachel, was the flower girl. Our 8-year-old brother, Josh, walked Rachel down the aisle as Carly’s ring bearer.
That leaves Sam and Isaak, who ushered everyone into the church. My parents were busy coming to terms with marrying off their daughter and watching their youngest daughter. Rachel fell asleep on the way to the reception and there’s pictures to prove it.
As for the wedding, Carly had to jump through some hoops to get married in the church at her “young” age. I agree she’s young. The thing that surprised us is that the Catholic Church doesn’t consider you an adult until you’re 19.
Being 19 does not make you more mature than an 18-year-old. You have the exact same legal privileges and the same interests.
But apparently it makes a difference when it comes the sacrament of marriage. Thankfully, Carly and Riley were able to get all that straightened out before he came home for the wedding.
That was not easy. I heard her complaints loud and clear over the summer as she tried to coordinate her Pre-Cana classes while her fiancé was stationed in England. Somehow they did it, though.
When my dad handed Carly off to Riley at the start of the ceremony, the couple both started tearing up. It was justified. They had gone through hell and back to get to this point.
He had only been home for maybe a month out of the year leading up to the wedding, and some of that time was spent in the grueling demands of basic training. I noticed Josh crying in his seat with the groomsmen. I think he thought Carly was moving away to England right after the wedding.
Which is not happening, luckily for Josh and my parents. She can’t do that until she gets her passport and name change figured out.
Even if we knew the bride and groom were not going to have much time together, the reception was as romantic as it looked. Carly’s time spent making decorations over the summer paid off.
The food tables all had some kind of vintage element to them. Bread was set out with some suitcases stacked next to it and the guest tables were decorated with burlap, lace, chiffon, painted wine bottles and flowers arranged in Mason jars.
Riley and his friends spent nearly two hours arranging white Christmas lights the night before and they added a glow to the hardwood floors of the French women’s club where we held the reception.
One of things Carly used everywhere was chalkboard paint. She put thrift store picture frame-turned- mini-chalkboards out to label the bridal party tables and some of the food. As we put them away for her after the party, I joked with Julie about how she was thinking ahead.
All my sisters and I have to do is erase all her pieces and decorate them ourselves. At least we know we don’t have to worry about that if we decide to get married.
Besides having a family wedding decoration collection, we had a lot of fun dancing with my mom’s Italian cousins and eating the food Carly’s mother-in-law made. It was the kind of union-reunion a wedding should be.

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