IMG_0300October 1998: the year my sister and I dressed as brides for Halloween. My mom slaved
away at our costumes, meticulously adding shoulder pads, fairytale sleeves, and the traditional veil with flowers attached. We looked stunning.

At 4 and 6, we were a little young to be married, but most definitely not too young to be brides. Standing next to each other in our dresses made me feel like we were the perfect princess sister duo. And we were.

August 2016: the year my sister put on her wedding dress and walked down the aisle with my father. As I helped her put on the multi-layered gown, it hit me that this was it: my sister was going to get married. She was the most beautiful bride, and my heart was filled with joy as I stood by her side and knew we were still the perfect sister duo.

People say weddings are emotional. And I guess I never knew how true this was until I was in one. I’ve been to quite a few weddings in the last couple years, and I have gotten the occasional goosebumps, but I had never shed tears–not until this August.

I composed myself during the ceremony, but when it came to toasting time, something changed. Perhaps it was the fact that I was nervous, that it had hit me in that moment I was speaking of my sister’s marriage to the man who would make her happy for the rest of her life, or maybe just an overall appreciation for the sister I have always had. Either way, as I looked down at her and saw her eyes start to water, I lost it. I was overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for the moment.

Weddings are emotional, but they are also so beautiful. I understand that the divorce rate in America can be discouraging. I will never forget the first day of my “Psychology of Relationships” class in college. The professor asked us if we would ever ride on a plane that had a 50% chance of crashing. As we all clearly stated “no,” she asked why people continue to jump into marriages if the divorce rate is over that 50%.

I now have my answer.

Yes, there is an increasing divorce rate. No, not all relationships last forever. However, some do.

My sister just got married. She found a man who she wants to spend the rest of her life with, someone who she looks forward to coming home to each day, someone who gets her in a way that no one else does. And why wouldn’t someone want to take a chance on that?

I am also engaged. And I can’t wait until the day I get to fulfill our Halloween dream of both being brides. It’s not about a wedding; it’s about the marriage.

Weddings are focused on the love between the bride and groom, but I also learned from my sister’s wedding that there is so much more love present. There is the love that God provides unconditionally. There is the love that the family and friends share as they spend hours and days preparing for the big day.

And for us, there is the love between two sisters who have always been the princesses of each other’s lives and who will always stand by each other’s side, whether they have the same last name or not.