To Thine Own Self
A day, and a dance, to remember
By Renee Whitmore
I got married this past March. It was an outdoor wedding and a gorgeous day, truly.
But this isn’t going to be about the weather (it rained the day before and the day after). It isn’t going to be about the cake (salted caramel flavor with buttercream frosting). It isn’t going to be about the wedding party (we danced in couples down the aisle to Whitney Houston’s “How Do I Know?”) or about the fact that my oldest son played our favorite songs on the guitar during the ceremony and the reception. It isn’t going to be about the barbecue and mac ‘n’ cheese afterward (absolutely delicious) or the colors (plum and navy) or the fact that we totally forgot the best man and maid of honor toasts.
Nope. This isn’t going to be about any of that. This is about the father-daughter dance.
A few weeks before our wedding, Jesse, my fiancé at the time, and I met with our DJ at a coffee shop to talk over the song list.
“What about the father-daughter dance?” she asked as she sipped her latte. My eyes widened. I hadn’t even thought of that. Let me explain. Dad and I have a great relationship. He might be the coolest guy I know, other than the one I married that day. But we aren’t, well, the father-daughter dance type. In fact, the thought of a father-daughter dance made me want to laugh.
“Well, I . . . uh . . . don’t know about that,” I said to our DJ. “I guess I can think about it.”
Days went by. Finally, I texted my mom.
Me: Do you think I should ask Dad to have a father-daughter dance at the wedding?
Mom: (within 30 seconds) Yes.
Me: Do you think he will say yes?
Mom: (within 22 seconds) Yes.
Still, I was unsure. I decided to ask him — via text, of course.
Me: Hey Dad, this may sound weird, and you can say no if you want, but how do you feel about a dance? Like father-daughter?
(He replied, five hours later.)
Dad: Yes, we can do that. Let’s stay true to our characters though.
That’s all I needed to hear. I knew exactly what that meant.
We decided what we wanted to do. We didn’t practice, not once.
The wedding day came, and it was beautiful. The weather. The people. The ceremony. But this isn’t about that.
It was time.
“The father-daughter dance!” the DJ proclaimed over her mic, and everyone in the reception tent clapped. As I stumbled over my dress, Dad and I made our way to the dance floor.
He put his hands on my waist. I put my hands on his shoulders. “Butterfly Kisses” filled the air. “Awwww,” I heard.
We shuffled around, attempting a box step and it was . . . awkward. We hadn’t practiced.
Twenty seconds passed, and he whispered, “This is long enough, isn’t it?” I nodded.
Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, “Billie Jean is not my lover . . . ”
The DJ flashed the strobe lights. Michael Jackson to the rescue.
Dad and I pulled apart and started to moonwalk. My oldest son ran out there with us and started juggling three colorful balls. My five bridesmaids jumped up from their seats and joined in.
“She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene.” We made quite the scene as we moonwalked in unison.
The music shifted again.
“I wear my sunglasses at night,” filled the tent. We grabbed sunglasses from the tables and slid them on. The dance continued.
Our guests laughed. Our DJ laughed. Our photographer laughed. We all laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
It was a memorable day. The vows. The cake. The food. We even remember the things we forgot. But this isn’t about that.
It will forever be the day my dad and I stayed true to our characters. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m still trying to perfect this moonwalk. PS
When Renee Whitmore is not teaching English or being a professional taxi driver for her two boys, she is working on her first book.