a wedding i did not miss

i really, really love weddings a lot. and because it seems i’m always living in a different state than where my friends are getting married, i have missed so many weddings. too many. when my mission companion slash dear friend ashten told me she was getting married this august 11 and gave me some real good reasons why i should be there, i put my foot down and decided i wasn’t going to miss this one.

then, i got asked to help plan a statewide church young single adult conference here in the bay area that happened to be on the very same weekend as ashten’s wedding. then, my parents were invited to speak at said conference and accepted. and thus an ironic weekend evolved.

i put lots of hours and lots of stress into helping plan the conference, and then after work on friday drove to the airport, parked my car in short-term parking, and hopped on a plane. my parents picked me up at the salt lake city airport, we stayed up way too late talking and watching the olympics, and then early the next morning as i headed down to the manti temple for the wedding ceremony, they headed to the airport, hopped on a plane, and picked up my car in san francisco.

between all the wedding festivities on saturday, i texted the conference committee to make sure the things i planned were going okay and called my parents to make sure they knew where to report for their speeches on sunday. they drove my car and i drove theirs; they saw my views and i saw theirs.

it was funny. life is so full of trade-offs. but, swapped, we were all in the right place at the right time. and it really did feel so good to be at a wedding that i did not miss.

IMG_4450ashten and her new husband were sealed in the manti temple, which is about two hours southeast of salt lake city. i got to take the drive with another friend from the mission, carly. we never served together, but we served with many of the same companions in many of the same areas. it was so, so fun to catch up and to reminisce on mission experiences. there are certain fantastic, sacred and funny things that can only be understood by missionaries that served in the same mission at the same time.
england london south sister missionaries outside the temple.
i look freakishly happy because i felt freakishly happy, having been in a room so positively bursting with love and having witnessed the trump-all of human spiritual experiences. 
the ceremony was so, so wonderful. i have never felt closer to heaven than when i’ve been present at a temple sealing. i always get so filled up with profound emotion. the blessings pronounced upon faithful couples are unbelievably beautiful. when i witness this bestowal and expression of commitment, i am overcome with a fierce desire and excruciating determination to be sealed in the temple one day myself.
IMG_4453 IMG_4458
they had a ring ceremony and sweet reception in salt lake in the evening. it was so great to see ashten glow with love for her new husband, to hear their vows, to celebrate their true, true love.
and it was so, so fun to be reunited with friends i spent such incredible time with in england.
these are two of the girls that i trained as new missionaries – two of my babygirls.
sister hale, sister woodward, sister meredith, sister higbee, sister eyre, sister hardisty, and sister sorenson.
we no longer go by “sister,” but we’ll always, always be sisters to each other.
{yes, i guess i missed the orange/coral memo. those were the bridesmaid colors, but two other sisters showed up perfectly coordinated, too! i knew i should have worn my orange dress!}

there was a crystal moment in the temple that day that made the trade-off to be at ashten’s wedding so so worth it. as i caught my dear friend’s bridal eyes, glowing with love and light, across the sealing room, i felt a stream of remembrances of divine experiences we had together as missionaries. so much that is sacred enveloped me in an acknowledgement that life is good and that god is aware.


  1. Loved seeing these pics! Wow, Sis Higbee looked SO beautiful! and that temple is seriously impressive too. It looked like a wonderful day (even if you didn't get the coral memo!) glad you were able to make it despite your other plans! and how lucky for all those singles in the Bay area who got to listen to your awesome parents speak - I can still remember our fireside with them too!

  2. What a wild weekend! So fun to see you if even for a few minutes! It's so fun to be at places that you've just left (i.e. mission). It's great to have people mob us and tell us how much they love you! The food, by the way, was fabulous. Congrats on a great job on a gargantueous responsibility!

  3. You're such a beautiful writer Char. Love you.


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