Last weekend I had the privilege of standing for my dear friend Maria, as she became Mrs. Alexander Ko. It was our seventh (seventh!!!) wedding of the year, and there is no sign of it letting up anytime soon… we have five more lined up through July. But strangely enough, I don’t tire of going to weddings. Maybe it’s cause we were married not too long ago (11 months now, but I say we’re still newlyweds until we hit our one-year mark) & the emotions of the day are still fresh to me.

If you were in attendance at our wedding, you’ll know that I cried pretty much through the whole ceremony. So much that one of my fake eyelashes actually fell off & Steph Yu had to come in & glue it back on right after the ceremony. Steph Lim, now McAdams, and Maria make me feel a little better, cause they cried the whole time too taha. (I can always count on those two to shed tears as fast as I do.) I think in one of Court’s facebook pictures, some girl even commented on how the bride (me) looked so sad & serious in all the pictures. I couldn’t help it. I was totally fine all morning until I had my “first look” with Steven, and I saw my bridesmaids tearing up through the window where they were watching us from. Their crying made me realize how big of a moment this was in my life, so I started crying. Then we had to line up outside the sanctuary, and I had one look at my dad, and the tears came flowing out. My crying made my dad cry (and he never cries!!!), so you can imagine the fiasco that was taking place just minutes before the ceremony. Talk about losing it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw all the late guests and ushers staring at me — I think maybe panicking on my behalf — but I didn’t really care what they thought. I was getting married, you see, and I had to say goodbye to my dad.

via courtlynn photo

The wedding day, as much as it was about celebrating my union with Steven, was possibly in equal parts about leaving my parents. My dad and I butt heads a lot… we’re both stubborn, aggressive, a little hot-headed… oh, and definitely prideful. Sometimes when I’m blinded by my frustration & anger toward my dad, I forget why I love him. But the fact is, my dad was the one who woke up before sunrise everyday & prayed on his knees for my salvation. He actually made me read all of Romans when I was in eighth grade & submit a journal of reflections to him. He wanted to see if I really understood the gospel of grace, which I clearly didn’t, and he told me I didn’t. Not exactly the most gracious thing to say to a young one like me, but quite possibly the little wake-up call I needed. Through every trial, he has supported me & though he may not always agree with my decisions, he allows me to make them myself. He tries to be strong for me, even though I’m not his little girl anymore — I suppose that’s just the way dads are.

With my second miscarriage, Steven & I found out we were going to miscarry a couple days before my brother’s wedding. We debated whether or not we should tell my parents & ultimately decided to keep it to ourselves until after the wedding festivities. How hard would it be for them to celebrate with one of their children while grieving with another? I lied and said my nine-week appointment went well, that everything looked good, and I could sense the relief & joy & even excitement from both of my parents throughout that whole weekend. We held onto the secret a little longer, because we were going up north for my mom’s 50th birthday the following weekend. I decided I would take medication to force the miscarriage while I was up there, so my mom could take care of me during the initial recovery stage. We figured we might as well tell them in person, so we told my mom during the day after she had picked us up from the airport. She’s not the most expressive of women, but I could tell she was shocked and a little sad. We didn’t get around to telling my dad that day, but I figured my mom would tell him after we all went to bed. The following morning I woke up early to find my dad alone in his study. When I walked in, I could just see in his eyes that he knew. He cradled my face with both of his hands and said, “I was so sad when your mom told me…” It took every ounce of willpower in me not to cry & to let him know that I was okay, that I was going to be fine. I knew he needed to hear that from me for him to be okay.

All of these memories come flooding back to me whenever I see a bride walk in with her dad. I cried terribly when Steph Yu’s dad gave a toast at her reception about how much he loves both her & Tim. And even more when Steph McAdams’ dad gave his toast at her reception about how he had prayed his whole life for her to find a husband with a good heart. Their love for their daughters were as clear as day. And though my dad didn’t give a toast at our reception, I remember his kind eyes and soothing voice as we walked down the aisle together, telling me to walk slowly & take it easy. I remember exactly how he placed my hand in Steven’s when he gave me away. I remember how tightly he hugged me when we greeted our parents. And I remember that day he cradled my face & I could see that his heart was breaking for me. His eyes were full of tender love & sorrow for me.

That incredible fatherly love that runs deeper than I even know is exactly why I don’t tire of weddings. The love between a husband & wife on their wedding day is so sweet & unique & fresh & new — and there is nothing that can replace that in the world, ever — but the love that a father has for his daughter is special too. It is aged & weighty & a culmination of a lifetime of growth… and to me, that is what makes weddings so beautiful.

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