Everyone who’s important showed up for them today, I noticed. From where I stood at the front of the altar, I could still see a few guests straggling along down the beach, trying to skip over the sand patches and make it down to the water, where the ceremony has already begun.
It’s a perfect day for a wedding, and the bride couldn’t be more beautiful. I watch as my aunt comes down the isle, the sun gently reflecting off her white dress and forming an aura around her. She’s glowing, and so are her friends and family, gazing intently, seated in the 50 white chairs on both sides, with some standing, enclosing the chairs in a semicircle. There’s a breeze, but a slight one—just cool enough to flow through my curls and move the bottom of my dress, with the ocean softly rippling and breaking against the shore in the background. Even the seagulls were cooperating today, for there wasn’t one in sight.
She winks at me, and the rest of the bridesmaids, when she finally lets go of her father’s hand and reaches for my uncle’s at the foot of the altar. And there they were married. On the beach. In Wildwood. In front of 200 closest friends and family members. It was a wedding unlike any other I’ve ever seen, filled with magic and laughter and genuine feelings. And then came the reception.
My aunt and uncle decided to hold the reception on the boardwalk, on the side of Mariner’s Landing. My uncle works on the boardwalk. It’s where he’s spent most of his time. It means something to him. It was only natural for him to want to spend perhaps the most special day of his life there. I’ll admit, when I first heard the idea, I was a little skeptical. But then I thought, why hasn’t anyone decided to have a wedding on the boardwalk before? It’s quite a romantic place in Wildwood, with the ferris wheel and the carousel, and I’m sure many of couples have fallen in love there. So why hasn’t it been done before?
And can you imagine where we took our pictures? After the ceremony, the entire wedding party walked off the beach and onto the boardwalk, making our way to the carousel. The photographer directed each of us to a different spot on the ride—some sat on horses, some sat on benches, some sat in carts that spin around as the ride moves. Not only did we take awesome, original pictures on a ride that everyone knows and loves, but we also got to have fun while doing it, which is perhaps the most memorable part of the whole experience.
We were an hour late for the reception after we stopped for a group shot in front of the ferris wheel. We walked into the party to “Wildwood Days” sounding over the speakers, while the guests cheered and clapped. The sun was setting by the time the bride and groom shared their first dance, on a platform surrounded by white tents on the left and right of the dance floor, where candles glowed from the tables and surrounded the walkway leading down to the beach, with the sun lowering its colors over the ocean and the beach.
After we dined over salmon and steak filets, we knew it was time to get the party started, dancing to typical wedding songs like “Cupid Shuffle” and “Electric Slide.” Everyone came and rushed the dance floor, and it was mobbed…until the fireworks started.
All 200 guests stopped and raised their heads to silently watch the firework display lighting up the sky—all except for me.
While bursts of red and blue and green and yellow fireballs exploded and fell above our heads, I took the moment to glance around at everyone. I saw my family standing together, and I saw groups of friends standing together. And everyone was smiling. And then I looked over and saw my aunt and uncle standing off in the corner. My aunt was looking into my uncle’s eyes as my uncle raised her arm to his face and kissed her hand, embracing her with his other arm. And it was then that I was no longer skeptical about weddings on the boardwalk.