Tales from the Cabin
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The Cabin Wedding

Trying to plan perfection
By Christy Heitger-Ewing
Published: April 16, 2010
Photo by RJ Scott Photography, courtesy Christy Heitger-Ewing
Okay, I’ll admit it. Moments after my husband (then, fiancé) proposed to me at the cabin, I began to plan the perfect cabin wedding in my head. I envisioned a golden sunset ceremony on the dock with a warm, gentle breeze blowing, and soft, peaceful waves lapping on the shore while Eric and I recited our hand-written vows to each other.

A few months later, the time came to begin penning those vows. Being a writer, I figured I could crank them out in a snap. But as I stared at the computer screen, I found myself constantly self-editing.

Do I really want to say that? I thought to myself. That sounds too sappy. Backspace. Backspace. Too silly. Backspace. Too stiff. Backspace.

In the meantime, Eric was struggling for a different reason. He was hung up on word count. Convinced that his writer fiancée would ramble on, he feared his vows would come off sounding like “Cliff’s Notes” by comparison. I told him I’d do my best to keep my vows brief.

The week before the wedding, Eric and I did what any couple planning an outdoor ceremony does: We obsessively checked the forecast. Why we did this, I haven’t a clue because we all know that cabin weather has its own set of unwritten rules. For instance, the temperature in town never matches the temperature on the lake. And the water conditions across the lake are often totally different from what’s happening in our cove. Plus, the wind can change 30 times in a day, the sun can peek out two seconds before a soaking deluge, and the temperature can drop 20 degrees in the time it takes to pack a boat picnic.

Finally, July 18 arrived, though you’d never know it was mid-summer by stepping outside. A frigid, blustery wind tore through the trees, the elusive sun hid behind a thick wall of clouds, and fierce waves crashed over the dock with a tireless vengeance.

Eight o’clock came and the processional music started. Eric and his best man stepped out onto the wet dock. My matron of honor made her way down to the lake, her little black cocktail dress blowing every which way but over her head (thank goodness). And then, with my dad on one arm and my son on the other, I was escorted down to the lake in my beautiful sleeveless gown.

As I walked down the concrete path that led to the lake – the same steps I had tread a million times before – suddenly the cabin became even more magical to me. And although I was chilly and covered in goose bumps, I didn’t care. I was at the place of my dreams about to marry the man of my dreams. What more could a bride ask for?

As I passed friends and family, who were dressed in layers and huddled in groups to produce body heat, I thought, What a perfect day!

When I stepped onto the dock and took Eric’s ice-cold hands in mine, I couldn’t stop thinking, Could this moment get any better?

When we recited our vows to each other, teeth chattering and shoulders hunched up to our ears, I thought, How wonderful is this?!

And finally, when the pastor pronounced us husband and wife, I felt warmed by the love that emanated from my new husband. (Which is not to say I didn’t happily accept Eric’s suit jacket when he offered it.)

After the recessional, Eric and I made a beeline to the warm, cozy tent, where our guests offered well wishes and informed us that due to the crashing waves on the shore, nobody could hear a single word we had said during the ceremony. So it seems we agonized over our vows for nothing. Just as we had agonized over the forecast for nothing. But that’s okay. I still got my perfect cabin wedding.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, I did ramble on in my vows; mine were 727 words while Eric’s were a succinct 229. I guess I’m more predictable than cabin weather.
Frequent contributor Christy Heitger-Ewing is now back to checking cabin weather the normal way: by looking out the window.

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