At about 2:45 p.m. last Saturday, the LSU-Alabama game kicked off. It is the sort of game I usually watch, but this year its timing was off: My daughter was getting married at 6:00.
I only saw a few minutes of the first half while dressing for the wedding. You will laugh, but I was not too happy that CBS decided to play the game in the afternoon for the first time in several years.
That meant the game would end right when I escorted Audrey into New Covenant Presbyterian Church.
What a vision: The radiant bride entering the sanctuary as a bunch of guys are checking ESPN’s play-by-play report of the game.
From a dad’s point of view, we needed a backup plan. And I had been cooking one up for a week: If the game was going to end at 6, I was going to delay the bridal procession for a few minutes.
When I brought up the idea with the wedding planner, she didn’t sound too enthused. That may be because she didn’t have a son who went to Alabama and a million cousins and friends who are LSU fans.
The short version of the story is that no desperate measures were needed. At 6 p.m. the game still had 8 minutes left to play, so our parade was rolling on time.
I had two assignments: escort my aunt, Sister Mary Padraic, to her front-row seat, and then return to the back to walk Audrey down the aisle.
The minister, Rev. Jim Plunk, was just behind me as I prepared to escort my aunt. We were talking about the game, and he said that if I got a final score, he would announce it at the end of the service.
That was worth a smile, but the last person who needed to be checking his phone was me.
After seating my aunt, I walked back behind the bridesmaids and escorts to a hallway where Audrey
could not be seen in the sanctuary. She looked beautiful and happy, and did not seem nervous at all.
Or so I thought. Clutching her bouquet with both hands, she suddenly blurted out, “I’m about to get married!”
“Yes, you are,” I said. “You still want to, right?”
That seemed to help as we waited for the procession to enter. We stood in the hallway until everyone was in. Two ushers then opened the doors to the sanctuary and all eyes were on Audrey.
Someone asked me this week what we were talking about as we slowly walked up the aisle, and I honestly have no memory of it. The only thing I do remember is that at one point she lurched forward slightly, not for losing her balance but because the weight of her wedding hit her.
I held her right arm tight and she made it to the altar unscathed.
Forgive a proud father, but Audrey and her husband, Zach Landers, make a cute couple. They looked great Saturday, they were very happy, and everything over the entire weekend — rehearsal, dinner, bridesmaids hair and makeup party at our house, photos, wedding and reception — went off very smoothly.
No family can ask for any more than that.
The wedding certainly was lots of work — I didn’t get to eat during the reception at Fernwood Country Club because I was visiting with too many people.
But if I am being totally honest, my contribution to the weekend, and its buildup during the weeks before, was minimal.
Audrey and the wedding planner handled a lot of the arrangements, although the wife was not always pleased with the daughter’s schedule.
Mother and daughter had two significant arguments that I can recall, which sounds pretty good for this kind of event. They worked well together during the five weeks that Audrey lived at home before the wedding.
At the church, my son Thomas said he had bet that I would be the first person in our family to cry. I warned him to change his bet, but he lost anyway.
Weddings don’t make me cry — apparently not even my own daughter’s. This one made me happy.
Audrey chose a good man and she has a line on a job in her new home of Memphis. Mary Ann and I are fortunate that all three of our kids seem to be doing well. Last Saturday helped amplify that.
Back to that LSU-Alabama game. At the reception, one of my LSU friends told me that the game ended at the same time as the minister introduced “Mr. and Mrs. Landers.”
What wonderful timing — provided by two Ole Miss newlyweds at that.