I stumbled down the stairs in my nightgown, the ruffled edge getting caught in my five year old toes. I was dragging something – a teddy bear?, a blanket? I could hear the quiet hum of the television coming from the family room. I wasn’t sure why I was up so early – the sun was hardly up yet, but I could smell the coffee brewing in the kitchen. I followed the glow of the t.v. thru the dining room. I peeked my head around the corner. “Mom?” I inquired cautiously, “Why are you up so early?” She patted the sofa next to her and I quickly climbed up and snuggled in. “It’s the royal wedding on t.v.” she explained. “Look, see? That’s Princess Diana.” I looked at the screen and watched a shy blonde woman in a huge white dress seemingly glide up the stairs to a giant church. Carrying her long train were so many little girls. She glanced over her shoulder, a quiet smile thru her veil. There were trumpets, a huge spray of flowers in her hands, and a man waiting at the end of a long red carpet. It was beautiful. It seemed like everyone was holding their breath as she moved down the aisle. There was just one thing I was confused about, so I asked my Mom, “Why are they getting married so early?”
I don’t really know if that memory is accurate. But it is how I’ve always remembered it. It’s a sweet, sticky memory, the kind that is golden and warm, a little fuzzy on the edges and feels like a hug. I guess I could call my Mom and check my facts, but that would ruin the illusion. Sometimes memories are better than the reality.
I’m fairly certain that early morning wake-up call was my first exposure to weddings. It’s the first wedding I remember at least. And I’m sure it influenced me, even at such a young age. I know it influenced others. Just a couple of years after that early morning rendevouz with the royal wedding, I would wear a copy of Princess Diana’s dress as a flower girl in my sister’s wedding. A few more years later, a cousin of mine would enter the church to a trumpet, and then many years later, so would I. Diana’s influence wasn’t always in cop-cats though. Her very fashionable “of the moment” look was a warning too – as it went out of fashion, her bridal look grew more and more dated. The puffy sleeves, the hair. We learned to be more classic with the bigger decisions so we weren’t cringing in later years.
So today, a new, more modern set of royals is getting married. And I woke up early this morning to sit on the couch and watch it live. I wonder how many of my Brides did the same, and how long this wedding will influence what I get to shoot.
I called my Mom this morning to see if she was watching. She was.