The morning after every wedding I have ever been in as always entailed two things: utter exhaustion and extensive travel. This wedding weekend was no different. I flew 5 hours and then drove for 4 in order to get to Lynchburg, VA where my friend Helene (pronounced “hel-ane”) married the man of her dreams. Lynchburg is set gently set in the Shenandoah Valley amid the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I can honestly say that I do miss that place this time of year. The colors of the leaves as they change from deep velvet green to crisp yellow, burnt orange, and flaming red or unlike anything I have seen anywhere else. The air is fresh and light, always gently blowing and rustling fallen leaves in little cyclones along the curbs and the fragrance of that place… I have never breathed deeper than when I am in Virginia in the fall. Everything there permeates the air with an intense perfume that is so intoxicating, so inspiring. There a familiarity about it; it’s feels the way home does on Thanksgiving day.
The Saturday evening wedding went off without a single hitch. It was perfection personified. The bride was absolutely stunning; a vision. She was what every girl hopes to be on her wedding day, breathtakingly beautiful. She was calm, cool, and collected.
She enjoyed every moment of preparation that morning. I have never seen such a relaxed girl on her wedding day. Of course, she had every reason to be calm- the day was exquisite. The weather could not have been more picturesque if it were painted on a canvas. She was married under a gazebo, overlooking hundreds of acres of rolling hills laden with lush grass and hay bales in the distance. And behind her was the plantation home, built a century before, perfectly maintained in its original Jeffersonian design and style. Large red brick. Tall white columns. Cobble stone sidewalks. It was as historical as it was romantic.
The reception was exactly what it ought to have been- a communal celebration of new love, new life, and old friends. It was everything she wanted since our freshman year, when I first met her and we had the “what do you want your wedding to be like?” talk. Charming. Elegant. Tasteful. Inviting. All the things that made me want to meet her our first day of school. Knowing her is like knowing Christ. Judgment free and genuinely interested in who you are.
Our friendship has, like any relationship, ebbed and flowed through calm and rough waters. And because of that, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is and will continue to be a fixture in my life.