We pick our way over the rocks and down the dune to the beach.
Is this the right spot?
We’re at the first bend on the way to Ludington State Park.
Those are the only directions we have to the site of my son’s 4th of July wedding.
How will the bride and the other girls pick their way down here in their long dresses?
We walk down the beach looking for another easier “aisle.”
We should have worn sweatshirts.
I hope it’s warmer in two weeks.
But not too warm.
A couple young studs raise their beer bottles and wish us happy Friday.
I try to imagine the afternoon activity during the ceremony time.
I wonder if the onlookers will applaud.
The plan is to choose a spot on the beach, set up an arch, a sand ceremony pedestal, and a handful of chairs. If there’s any music, it will come from a boom box. We’ve been told no loud music, no speakers, no mess. Like not even any flower petals? The grandgirl is going to scatter a few real ones anyway. We’ll pick them back up if need be.
We won’t know the whole plan until the rehearsal. An ordained minister who runs a local bed and breakfast will perform the wedding. There are no rain plans, so I ordered several 60-inch white umbrellas.
We scramble back up the dune further down the beach. This spot is a little easier to navigate. But my mind whirls with thoughts of how we will get the bride and attendants down safely in their long dresses and flip flops. And the guests. The boys in their tuxedos and bare feet will have to help.
Maybe there’s a better spot.
Some of us will be here a couple days early to find it.
We walk back down the road to where we parked our car, grateful for the small lane that protects us from the cars speeding around the bend. The grandgirl-flowergirl shrieks as we step over a snake carcass. It appears more like shed skin that crackles when we scuff at it. Why would a snake undress there?
My brain buzzes. About how many cars will line the road, the two one-year-old babies we need to carry down, the camera equipment, the wedding party, the grandma and great-aunt. And where was the spot they thought the guys could fireman-carry my mom down? (It turns out my parents won’t be able to attend, after all.)
And where will we hold the rehearsal meal? Deli sandwiches on white sheets on the beach? Grilled burgers in the park? Reserve space in a restaurant? A large table or room? Fancy? Pizza?
Weddings can be stressful.
Destination weddings can be stressful.
And the 4th of July is the busiest day of the year here.
And we are starting to stress.
Which is why my husband and I made a last-minute decision to scope out the territory this weekend, eat at the reception restaurant, stay in the hotel, see where the cake and flowers are coming from, get a handle on logistics.
The bride has made all the arrangements, but we are shouldering most of the finances for several reasons.
We’re approaching budget limits.
We’d like as few surprises as possible.
At least stressful ones.
And we want the memories to be good ones.
We drive back to town where the people at the hotel desk told us we’d find “hundreds” of picnic tables and charcoal grills in Sterns Park. It’s hard to envision what it will be like on the 4th. Right now there are kids and baskets and tents everywhere. It’s a Gus Macker weekend.
Tomorrow we’ll wander the streets of town. Get a feel for the land. Pay the rest of the cake fee. Come up with some decision for the rehearsal meal. Choose a personalized menu for the reception.
And then when we’ve done all we can do to prepare, we’ll stand.
And watch God pull it all together.
Because if He can organize the destination wedding and banquet He’s preparing, He can handle a small party of 25.
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” ~Revelation 19:6-9 (NIV)
Sharing with L.L because even though it’s Friday, it’s still around Monday. Right?
And with Laura Boggess.