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SPECIAL EDITION: Driving The Bride To Church

Driving The Bride To Church

By Lu Sobredo

Everyone had left. Gone were the excited chatter and lilting whispers. The house was eerily quiet. I took a peek at the walkway through the window by the front door to check if his car has arrived. Seeing no sign, I turned away from the door and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the entry way. I nodded somewhat vainly in approval as the doorbell rang. “It’s him,” I said out loud with the broadest smile of relief. We might actually make it to church on time.

You see, it was my wedding day. The Universe delivered the autumn sun with just the right amount of clouds with no rain in the forecast. Ideal weather. Check. The man at the door showed up on time. Check. My wedding gown securely wrapped was ready to be transported to the wedding chapel. Check. The shiny black BMW 535is was waiting on the driveway. Check. And the man who would drive the bride to church has arrived. He was my best man. Yes, the bride chose her best friend, who happens to be male, to serve as witness at her wedding. Not a traditional maid or matron of honor for a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony at a Methodist Chapel.

All looked well in the world. Not so fast. The wedding gown with a modest train must have weighed five, maybe even ten pounds at least. It took the two of us to awkwardly place the Spanish lace and silky satin creation on the front seat of the car. The plan was for me to don my gown once we arrived in church. The chapel has a stately dressing room, so that was fine with me. The plan was to arrive before most of the guests for pre-wedding photos with the wedding party and close family. 

I took one deep breath before I took my seat in the back behind the driver. I was feeling blissful that the long awaited day has come. I waited. And waited. The car did not start. My best man turned the key again. I heard the right sound. So we are off, I thought. The car did not budge. He tried to shift the gear. No luck. After a few minutes of this, I was near panic. Showing up late for my wedding day was not in the plan. This was before hand-held cell phones. Although I had a clunky cell phone in the car being driven by my groom, but of no help to me. I thought, of all the times, the car would break down now. Not on the most important day of my life. No! 

My heart was beating a mile a minute, my scalp throbbing as if the roots of my hair were being pulled from it, but I was not about to get sweaty. In my calm, albeit panicked bride state (no, it did not reach the heights of bride-zilla), I said, “Let me try.” Short of calling emergency road service, I felt I had to do some troubleshooting first. I decisively plunked myself in the leather covered driver’s seat channeling Mario Andretti of the racing fame, turned on the key to start the engine, pressed the clutch and positioned the gear to go backwards. The car cooperated. I strapped my seatbelt on, asked my best man to sit in the backseat (the gown draping over the front seat extended well onto the passenger back seat). And voila, off we went to get to the chapel on time.

Little did I know that my best friend was more nervous than I was. Yes, he knows how to drive a stick-shift; but totally drew a blank that day. He knows I love him no matter what. He also knows that he would never live down this story. Story of a bride driving herself to church because the best man went catatonic on her. Not the plan at all. Not traditional in anyway. 

And all that panic was unnecessary. I had no idea that the wedding time was delayed to wait for the musicians to show up. A pianist who lived near the chapel in the meantime filled in to play the wedding march until our chosen music duo finally arrived. I thought the wedding march sounded different than planned. But who cared if it was by Bach or Mozart or Beethoven. I was walking up the aisle to wed the love of my life. Besides, from the wedding ceremony and all the way to the reception, not much was traditional. Who chooses a protest song for your wedding reception? Only my activist groom! 

Saying Our Vows with Our Best Men Looking On. ©Sobredo Photo Collection

Opening Presents At Home and Recounting Who Drove The Bride To Church. ©James Sobredo

The Bride and The BMW 535is. ©Sobredo Photo Collection

This year my beloved groom and I celebrated 25 years. They were 25 years of bliss, adventures, adversities, and protest songs. Protest songs and marches for social justice are very much a part of our lives. Naturally. That black BMW 535is served us well years after that fated day. My darling husband drove me and our newborn home from the hospital in that same car.  As to my best man, I still drive him, drive him crazy that is with a head-full of ideas from where to retire, travel and to many topics of interest to us both. And my best friend is still my best friend.

© 2018 Essay by Lu Sobredo

Note: My best man/best friend consented to my writing this story from my wedding day. He said my story reminded him of what a mutual dear friend of ours had said to him: The Universe conspires for us, not against us. I wholeheartedly agree.


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