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Runaway Bride

The best-laid plans for an elegant processional didn’t quite pan out.

Few moments in a wedding bring more anticipation than the first appearance of the bride as she begins her stately walk down the aisle. As the culmination of months—often years—of planning, it’s not surprising that the occasion can give a girl the jitters. Still, aside from nagging concerns about tripping on my dress, I felt confident that my processional would be perfect.

Like most brides, I planned every detail in advance: what the attendants would wear, what music would play and, most importantly, who would walk me down the aisle. Traditionally, religion plays a role. In Catholic and Protestant weddings, it’s the father of the bride; in Jewish weddings, both the mother and father accompany her. At my own nondenominational ceremony, I wanted both parents—each of them remarried—by my side. It seemed like a wonderful way to recognize their important influence in my life. And since a stroll with my parents seemed like a no-brainer, we never bothered to practice.

At our rehearsal dinner, the only motions we went through were eating great Italian food and raising glasses of red wine. Predictable jitters coursed through me on my wedding day, and with my satin-clad feet hardly touching terra firma, I met my parents at the beginning of the aisle before we linked arms. I remember taking the first step altogether as the processional music swelled, and the crowd rose in unison.

Then, from what I hear, I actually ran—nearly sprinted—away from them and toward my waiting groom. Reports from friends convince me that my parents were only faintly surprised to see me tear off in the direction of my beloved (because I’ve always been a bit distractable), leaving well-laid plans behind. Thankfully, my parents had enough sense to immediately seat themselves. What still amazes me is that I never knew what had happened until the next day—although, for all of our loved ones who were present, my moment as a runaway bride is the joke no one will forget.

To me, all this revealed a serious flaw in the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” Even with its unscripted moments, our nuptials felt exactly right—because the best part about a wedding is that no matter what unexpected turn the day takes, it ends with a bride and groom who couldn’t be happier.

Kate Chynoweth is the author of The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties, and Being Fabulous and The Bachelorette Party Kit, both from Chronicle Books. A resident of the East End, she is also the food editor for Pittsburgh magazine.

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