Just in time for Halloween... If you want to read the earlier entries, they're here: Part I, Part II.
Sarah parked the car and hurried towards the church. The hairdresser had taken longer than she expected, and Sarah was running a little late. The ceremony wouldn't start for another twenty minutes, but there were still things to do. Putting on my dress, mainly, she reflected. She wondered again if she and Tom should have eloped, but... no. She really did want a traditional wedding, even knowing everything that it would require.
Lisa met her at the door and hurried her into the dressing room. Sarah caught a glimpse of Tia, her college roommate and Maid of Honor, in the sanctuary. Tia was keeping her mom distracted with floral arrangements, which was good. It would give her time to dress.
The preparations went by in a blur. Sarah's mother gusted through, kissed her, and then was gone again; Lisa guided her gently back outside before she could start them both crying and ruin their makeup. Tia came in, hugged Sarah, then went to check her hair.
When Sarah looked up again, the music was playing and her father was standing in the doorway. "Are you ready?" he asked gently.
Sarah looked away, knowing that if she saw tears in his eyes she'd start crying herself. She wasn't sure if she was ready - who ever was? - but she nodded. How could the most important day of her life be going by so quickly?
Tia helped her stand, and made sure her dress was arranged correctly. It was beautiful, long and white, satin with lace accents; it made Sarah look like a princess. She took a breath, and nodded to her father. Tia was already going out the door, to be escorted down the aisle by the Best Man. She took her father's arm, and waited.
A moment later (it seemed) they were walking. Everyone was standing, all her friends and family, and they were all looking at her. She barely saw anyone: her eyes were on Tom, who waited - tall and dark and handsome - in front of the altar. He stood stiffly, but his smile was wide and genuine. Tia and Lisa were off to one side, Charles and Will to the other. The priest was standing just behind Tom, next to the altar.
Sarah kept her steps steady, matching her father's pace despite a sudden urge to rush. It seemed to take forever to reach the altar, but finally they were there. Her father led her up to her place, beside Tom and in front of the altar. Then he stepped past her, in front of the altar itself. The priest nodded and discreetly passed him the microphone. Out in the aisles, their friends and family were seating themselves.
"Ladies and Gentlemen..." Her father's voice broke, and he took a moment to recover himself. "We're very glad to have you here. Six months ago, this young man came to my house to ask for my daughter's hand. With the agreement of Sarah and her mother, I gave him my consent. Now the day is here, and it is my great pleasure to give my daughter's hand to Tom Grayson."
He reached out and pulled the cleaver up from the top of the altar. Sarah came forward, filled with an inseparable mixture of anticipation and dread. The priest stepped up and helped her pull back the sleeve as she carefully extended her arm. She placed her wrist on the ceremonial cutting board, and thought to herself: Finally.