Sometimes the Best Experiences are Provided by Complete Strangers

Dear Jalen,

Your father and I had the perfect wedding, though on paper it would seem everything was a borderline disaster.

It started off with the last minute cancellation of my bridesmaid attending the wedding. The reason for the cancellation is too long of a story to get into, but I was disappointed to say the least. Alas, the trip must go on and we soon we found ourselves at the airport. We checked our luggage but my wedding gown was clutched firmly in my hand as my carry on item.

The flight to Las Vegas was an experience like no other flight we’ve flown before…and we’ve each flown to a lot of places. We boarded our flight on SouthWest airlines and when we did, I immediately found the airline attendant to see if there was a place on the plane where I could hang my garment bag. Unfortunately there wasn’t, but she helped me stuff it into an overhead bin. This wasn’t exactly how I preferred to travel with such an expensive gown but it was much better than checking it to be stored with the luggage. Checking it with our luggage, I feared the possibility of never seeing it again. The alternative, stuffing it into an overhead bin was okay with me! I moved on to find our seats. I’m not sure if I’m recalling correctly but I think seats may not have been reserved on this flight. In other words, you get to board with your group and your group scrambles to find whatever seat you can. I just remember your dad and I couldn’t sit next to each other. We were separated by a few rows. Again, this wasn’t exactly how I preferred to travel, particularly on the flight taking us to the altar, but maybe it was for the best. I was already succumbed by a thousand thoughts as I settled in to my seat. I could barely stand myself with all the thoughts racing through my head, I didn’t need to annoy my future husband with them too. Yes, it’s better that I sit by myself to fret over the details.

I had the usual travel thoughts going through my head. Will we remember where we parked after this is all over? Did I remember to put the parking ticket on the dashboard like we’re supposed to? Do I have our hotel confirmation with me? Did I remember to pack everything? Only this time, I had a flood of other thoughts racing through my head. Primarily with the wedding arrangements.

Will the ceremony location remember our reservation for tomorrow? Will the party bus we booked remember to pick us up after the ceremony? Does that bus REALLY know how to get to the restaurant we booked for our reception dinner? Do I have their telephone number in case they forget us? The flowers! The beautiful magnolias I ordered for my the wedding bouquets, will they be waiting for me at the hotel like I had arranged?

“You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you, and then you meet one person and your life is changed forever.” – Jamie Randall

All these second-guessing thoughts and questions I had racing through head came accompanied with nearly every emotion imaginable. I was nervous. I was a little scared all the preparations wouldn’t go as planned. Planning a wedding in another state, there were so many details to remember and they required a lot of trust that they would all go accordingly. I also felt completely smitten with your dad. I was so happy. I felt impatient, I couldn’t wait to soon become his wife! I was also excited. We would be flying to Jamaica late at night after the ceremony for our honeymoon.

There were also some not so great emotions that passed by. Annoyance was one. Did my bridesmaid seriously cancel on us last minute like that? Ugh! I was also still recovering from the worst haircut in all of history. There’s no way I can have this horrible hairstyle documented in wedding photos for generations to come. My solution? Hair extensions. Fortunately, the hair and makeup lady I booked for the ceremony reassured me the hair extensions would have me looking like myself again for the big day. But I still worried. There was also a feeling of uneasiness over leaving our home and pets in the hands of a teenager to care for them. Will she be responsible enough to handle it all?

But most of all, there was a wave of sadness. My mom and dad are deceased and I longed to have them with us for this day. I was sad I wouldn’t have my mom help me get dressed and ready to walk down the aisle. It was a sad but also a lonely feeling knowing that I would be walking down the aisle alone without my father to give me away. Today, I’m sad you never got to meet them. They would have LOVED you.

Of all the thoughts and emotions I was feeling on that flight, embarrassment was one emotion I didn’t have. But little did I know, Southwest airlines had me covered. I was going through my thoughts one by one, feeling the emotions that came with them when I heard it. I was in the middle of feeling stressed over the wedding gown. I had tried it on for a final time the day before and it fit tight. Slightly uncomfortably tight but it fit. What if tomorrow I can’t fit into it at all? What will I do then? That’s when the Bing! of the intercom interrupted my thoughts and snapped me back to reality.

“Ladies and gentlemen please pardon the interruption but we have an announcement to make. Robin and Jamison are traveling to Las Vegas today to get married! Robin….Jamison….will you please walk up to the front of the plane and join me?”

I could feel my eyeballs nearly popping out of my head. I immediately look back to Jamison, totally freaked out by whatever was happening. He was smiling. Of course he was smiling. For him, this could only be something happy and fun. Me, the introvert that I am, I tend to think about everything that could possibly go wrong with this situation. I didn’t know what was happening. What the hell WAS happening? This is the last thing everyone on this flights needs. I panicked they would all be so annoyed to have their flight interrupted by whatever shenanigans Southwest airlines in store. I slowly stood up and even more slowly made my way to the front of the plane to stand next to your smiling dad and that helpful flight attendant….




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