Monday, March 19, 2012

moment [moh-muhnt]

an indefinitely short period of time; instant; the present time or any other particular time; importance or consequence; a particular time or period of success, excellence, fame, etc.
Synonyms include: flash, instant, juncture, occasion

Two days ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, one of my very best friends married one of the very best men and I got to be there to see it. All week long, we were on weather-watch, hoping and praying that the rainy day forecast was wrong, or that we would at least avoid the bulk of the incoming storm.

“You know what?” Cile said, “if it rains…whatever. We’ll deal with it.”

And that attitude is exactly why this wedding was perfect from beginning to end.

My day started at 5:30 am so I could pick up breakfast from Porto’s before heading to the Luxe Hotel to get ready with the rest of the bridesmaids. The drive was a quick, but careful one. It had rained the night before and the drizzle, when I left the house, had turned into droplets. The streets were slick and the 405 was a-flurry with mist shooting from every direction of every tire that spun, and it was as foggy, cold and damp as any rainy day would be. When I walked into the suite full of bridesmaids, hairdressers and make-up artists, however, there was nothing but warmth. Whether it was heat emanating from all the hair appliances or the two dozen bodies in the room, I had suddenly forgotten it was raining outside.

After Cecile was dressed and ready, we accompanied her to the hotel lobby. She and Lester decided to do a first-look, where the bride and the groom get to see each other before the wedding. It’s a popular thing to do nowadays, most times to have pictures taken in order to save time after the ceremony, but it’s also a good time for the soon-to-be-married couple to have semi-private moment.

Lester stood at the end of a short hallway lined with windows and rows and rows of sheer curtains. He had his eyes closed and head down, hands folded in front.

“Do I have to hold my bouquet when I do this?” Cile asked me. “I wanna just hug him.”

I told her she could do whatever she wanted. This was their moment after all.

She walked down that short hallway, probably faster than the photographers and videographers would have preferred, but I don’t blame her. She was excited to see her groom. She put her hands on Lester’s shoulders, and when he turned around, he had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen since I met him, and it looked like he didn’t know whether to kiss her or hug her or just stare at her. Cile is already so beautiful in her own right, but on her wedding day, it was just so unfair to the world because no one should look that gorgeous. Lester couldn’t look any handsomer either. He just has such an ease about himself, and even in that tuxedo and bowtie, he looked as comfortable as any groom could be, and why shouldn’t he, about to marry someone like Cile?

After a short bus ride to St. Monica’s, us bridesmaids had to wait with the bride up in the choir loft. In the 20-30 minutes that we waited before the start of the ceremony, a string quartet positioned by the altar played a medley of tunes. I sat next to Cile for a good part of the waiting, thinking to myself how I couldn’t believe that after all these years, she was finally getting married. I tried to hold it together as much as I could, keeping a to-do list in my head for the rest of the day’s activities, but after I put her veil on just outside the church, I welled up a tiny bit.

“Thank you, love you!” Cile said.

“Love you too!” I told her as I walked away.

The walk up the aisle is always so nervewracking – smile, hold the bouquet by your bellybutton, don’t trip, and if you do, don’t take your partner with you, don’t forget to bow when you get to the altar, etc. But it was an easy walk, and seeing everyone who was there to celebrate made the day even happier than it was already up to that point.

After Tito Andy hugged Cile and basically handed her over to Lester’s care, they both lit a candle in honor of Tita Beth. I thought of Tita Beth every time I was out with Cile on a wedding-related errand. I thought of her all morning while Cile was getting ready, and I thought of her even more as Cile walked up the aisle. I have no doubt Tita Beth was watching over all of us – how else could it have been such a wonderful day?

The ceremony was every bit as personal to Cile and Lester as it could be, and a surprise performance by Tito Andy on the violin and Ja on the piano made it even more so. They played a song called, “Tanging Yaman,” which, translated into English, means “special treasure.” It was, simply, touching and another opportunity to cue the waterworks.

After the ceremony ended, the day whizzed by even quicker. The wedding party was whisked off to Skirball in a big bus where we enjoyed some loud, laughter-filled alone time with the bride and groom. It really was a fun wedding party to be part of and I look forward to when Cile and Lester have kids, which will probably be the next time we all get to see each other again, haha!

The cocktail hour served yummy hors d'oeuvres with personally-named St. Patrick’s Day themed drinks, and the reception was complete with a special guest leprechaun. Cile and Lester didn’t miss a single detail.

I had the pleasure of giving a speech, along with the matron of honor and the two best men. As much as I enjoyed writing my toast, I enjoyed listening to Junior, Ate Didith and Derrick even more. Hearing old stories and shared sentiments are always some of the most heartwarming moments of the day, and this part of it was no exception.

After the toasts and dinner, it was party time. Cile and Lester are blessed with a lot of friends and family, so the evening was not short on exuberance on the dancefloor.

This was the sixth wedding I’ve been a part of in five years, and the third time I’ve had the honor of being a maid of honor. People have asked if I ever get sick of it, does it ever get old, and my answer is always no. Every wedding day I’ve been part of has been a different experience. The only thing that remains the same is how happy I am when I’m there.

I’ve known Cecile for over 17 years. We were college roommates for four years and we’ve literally seen each other through our best and worst moments. Spending the wedding day at her side and seeing her marry Lester will probably rank as one of the best of our best moments. I’m so very happy for them!

Happy Honeymooning in Jamaica, Mr. & Mrs. Broas!


Anonymous said...

How many people can say that they saw a leprechaun at a wedding? Not many, I'm sure ;-)

Tam Lontok said...

beautifully written...congrats cile and lester!