On your wedding day, it's so nice to be greeted by the smell of coffee. You are handed a cup by a carpenter who smiles and leans against the counter in the kitchenette. Across the sanctuary you watch as your family arrives to get dressed and ready for the photography.
You look forward to your best friend's arrival. After photos you'll have a few moments to visit before the walk down the aisle, when he will tease you about your ability to first ring the bell nine times in a way that sounds like you mean it and knew what you were doing - with no practice.
The photographer sets up his cameras and lights while the candles are put plumb in the candelabras and pew bows artistically hung on the pews. The old crooners are singing in the background on a compilation CD, and a middle aged gal in bibbies holds a needle and thread, or florist wire and tape to fix the little things that break. She has scissors in her back pocket and corsage pins at the ready.
It's nice to know that just the right minister will be along after while to lead you in your vows - perhaps written after feverish thought, something you are uncertain about revealing - but ultimately necessary for HER contentment. Your dimple shows for an instant at the thought.
You go outside alone for a breath of fresh air, lose yourself to imaginings while you watch the water spring up in the fountain, unaware of the wind chimes that follow you through the yard past the gardens and up the arching ramp into the kitchenette again.
And there they all are, waiting for you to take your place next to her, your arm around her waist. Smiles and pauses and laughter - and on to the windows, out along the garden path, the ornate benches, in front of the little church and every other interesting nook and cranny possible - before you meet in the bell tower to have that visit with your very best friend. The one who came from across the country, or from a far corner in the world. It's time to ring that bell for all you're worth - so she can hear it across the chapel in the bride's room, where she waits breathless. And you wouldn't want it any other way.
If you have longed to speak your vows in an old fashioned church that sits among the gardens, where the sun's light filters through stained glass windows, music echoes sweetly, and the candles' glow beckons you to speak of unending love, come to Candle Lit Way. We'd love to cry at your wedding.
Dan & Mary Ellen Oberender
Resident Caretakers - Incurable Romantics