We went down to Bluffton for a funeral. It had been a decade since I’d seen Spanish Moss clinging to live oaks. The bluff on the river was the same, really; there were more houses across the water but the sun still caught in those grey tendrils on the branches, just like I remembered.
It was good, good to say goodbye like this with the water and the palm trees rustling.
I was sitting in an all-but-empty theatre when Ashley sent me a message asking if I’d be around the week of Christmas to take some pictures. I will! I replied, darting up a quick glance at the previews before the film started. And to my query “what kind of photoshoot are you thinking?” she replied, “Josh and I are going to the courthouse to get married!”
The phone all but fell out of my hands!
As it turns out, the courthouse would be closed the day before Christmas Eve, and so through a flurry of texts Ashley told me they had relocated to Duke Gardens. It was bright, and cold, and a gorgeous day to get married.
Ashley met me at my car, a little breathless from the walk and the excitement, and we trod over to a little stone-stepped spot overlooking the gardens where her parents, grandparents, colleague/officiant, and soon-to-be husband awaited. I couldn’t stop grinning. Everyone was so calm, so centered. Ashley told me they’d found a wonderful woman at Lowes Foods to do the boutonnière and bridal bouquet, and they’d had their rings engraved on Black Friday. I had never been surrounded by so many peaceful people on a wedding day, in that sparkling almost-Christmas sun.
After Nana helped affix the boutonnière, the ceremony began. John 15 was read and vows were made.
All was calm, all was bright.
Ashley’s parents signed the certificate and everyone posed for a few portraits. Then, Ashley and Josh and I took a little stroll about the gardens.
After we wrapped up the photo-taking, Ashley and Josh headed back to their car. They were heading home, for a wedding luncheon of her mother’s lasagna (a favorite) and to put on their coziest flannels.
What a perfect day.