They say that having rain on your wedding day is good luck, and, as it went, it rained the morning of Lizzie and Kevin's nuptials. Black clouds rolled in over the ocean and filled the horizon. Surprisingly cold drops of rain came down with a vengeance as people scrambled for shelter from the storm. Garrett, Bubby, Kurt, Mark, my mother, and I sought cover under the snorkeling rental roof on one of the docks.
I'd been saying "not right now--later" all week long to Garrett's pleas of snorkeling out to the Belize Barrier Reef, and "later" had finally arrived. I knew that snorkeling was a must-do activity while on Ambergris Caye, but my fear of sharks, sting rays, and all other imposing sea creatures kept me from saying yes earlier in the week. (My worst habit is saying no to things. Garrett's best habit is saying yes. It's one of the reasons we work well together.)
Once the rain passed and the seas smoothed over, we rented snorkeling gear and hopped in kayaks to paddle out to the reef. Five minutes later, we clipped our kayaks onto buoys and flopped into the water. With a racing heart, I asked Garrett to hold my hand and not let go the entire time. He complied.
We saw large fish and small fish, red fish, blue fish, green fish, and brown fish. Striped fish, spotted fish, neon fish, plain fish. Some darted in and out of the reef while others swam along with us. It was beautiful, but panic rose in my chest every time I saw a flash of something white and long out of the corner of my eye. Bracing myself for a shark each time, I was instantly relieved to see that it was not, in fact, a shark, but actually Kurt.
Happy to have taken advantage of snorkeling the second longest reef in the world, and overcoming (somewhat) my fear of the ocean, we headed back to shore. It was time to get ready for the reason we were all there: Kevin and Lizzie's wedding.
Fresh off of the beach, my bathing suit still wet, I went to sit with my sisters as Lizzie got her hair and makeup done. We sat happily together, excited that this day for our beloved Lizzie had come. Lizzie was calm, much calmer than any other bride-to-be on their wedding day that I've come across. She and Kevin had waited a long time for this day, waited only so long to make sure that they were each where they needed to be, together and separately. No two people have been more ready to marry. Nerves were not necessary.
With about an hour left until go time, I darted back to my room to shower. I came back quickly to find the condo filled with Lizzie's dear friends and family. Friends from childhood, college, and San Francisco gathered with mothers, sisters, and daughters. The room was filled with love and excitement for the beautiful bride and happy couple. Anticipation filled the room as Lizzie stepped out of her room, one foot slowly in front of the other, to reveal her gown. Gasps, cheers, and clapping abounded as we all laid eyes on one of the most beautiful brides the world has ever seen.
She was a stunning bride. Breathtaking. Old Hollywood. Feminine. Glamorous.
The time came for all of the women (and Bubby and Kurt!) to leave and take their seats. My father, Annie, and I stayed with Lizzie as she looked on to watch Kevin approach the altar...
...which, in true Kevin style, he did so smiling.
Father and daughter proceeded slowly, closely together toward the altar, hearts full and happy. This was our father's third and final walk down the aisle with one of his girls.
He was the first man we all ever loved; the bar was set high from the start. We three have been so lucky in love, and I think we owe a big part of that to our father. In the words of Sam from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, "we accept the love we think we deserve". And our Papa O taught his girls that we deserve the best.
And so my father passed Lizzie on to Kevin, the man that can give his daughter the best. The ceremony was peaceful, intimate, and quiet. So quiet, in fact, that you could hardly hear the officiator. With his gentle voice and the waves lapping in from behind, he led Kevin and Lizzie through their vows and joined them together as a married couple. Tears rolled from the eyes of the bride and groom as they exchanged rings, words, and the sealing kiss.
Love and happiness swept up into the Coco Beach air as Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Munhall were officially announced. Kevin and Lizzie are MARRIED!!