Like Christmas, it’s come and gone.

Our daughter, Amanda, was married going on three weeks ago now. Unlike Christmas at the Bonner house, the planning for the wedding took months — almost nine to be exact. Still there was the last minute hustle and bustle, the little things that had been forgotten or pushed aside, and the desire to make the day perfect that made the process more hectic than expected after all that preliminary work.

The day arrived, bright and clear. It was a Chamber of Commerce August day in  Wisconsin’s capital city.

The days before the big event were filled with running here and there, to and fro, picking up this and dropping off that. Ole dad felt like he had run a marathon each night of the week and was definitely ready for the festivities to arrive.

The perfect weather, the high was in the low 80s with little humidity, was a precursor to the rest of the day. The wedding went off without a hitch. Mom’s worries were forgotten. It was like checking off a list.

• Hair and makeup — perfect

• One last look at the reception venue — good to go

• Lunch for the bridal party — accomplished

• Final touches on the sanctuary decorations — better than expected

• Dress — not a wrinkle in it

• Jewelry — got it

• Veil — breathtaking

Then, before we realized how time had flown, it was time for the ceremony.

That’s what everyone was most worried about. My wife, daughter, family and the attendants were afraid dad wouldn’t be able to handle it. They collectively agreed I couldn’t get through without breaking down and crying as we walked down the aisle in front of 200 people. My choking up at the rehearsal didn’t ease their fears.

Well, I did cry. But, it was during the father and daughter dance at the reception when “I Loved Her First” began playing and Amanda and I started to dance. Heck, I did love her first.

“It wasn’t noticeable,” I thought to myself until the photographs started pouring in and you could see the expression on my face in some. “Well, at least I didn’t cry through the whole dance. We laughed, we smiled and we cut up so that made it memorable.”

As for the ceremony, I handled it as I promised in an earlier column that I would. I stood ramrod straight and walked Amanda down the aisle with a smile a mile wide.  Heck, I was proud and thankful to be doing it. After all, I was escorting the most beautiful bride ever, the girl we were blessed with many years ago and still count as a blessing. I enjoyed the service Nathan and Amanda planned and tried to take in every word, each expression and salt it away to memory.

Sure, I had my moments the week of the event as we tied up all the loose ends, sat and reminisced and realized life was about to change yet again. I did tear up on more than one occasion but I never lost it so to speak.

So, dads, you can make it. The day can be perfect from start to finish including all the way through the reception.

But, remember, a daughter’s wedding is a lot like Christmas. It’s something you look forward to and dread. The day arrives and then, in a flash, it’s over. That, my friends, is a letdown.

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