My entire life I told my parents I wanted to elope when I finally found someone I loved. They didn’t take me too seriously as a 12-year-old. “Lauren,” Mom would say. “You’re only 12. You won’t be saying that when you’re an adult.” I would then whine about how I hated dresses and hated crowds and hated being the centre of attention. And then, I would forget about it and play Neopets. The sound of Mom’s voice saying “You’ll grow out of it” rang in my ears as I realized I probably would.
I was 22 when I got engaged, and I had not grown out of it. Though dresses and I are no longer mortal enemies, I’m still not a fan of formal gowns or fancy outfits. I still don’t like crowds and being the centre of attention stresses me out. I desperately wanted to get married, but a wedding did not seem necessary.
“Weddings are expensive,” I complained to my mom. “And I still don’t want a wedding dress or a veil or fancy-pants shoes. And I don’t want someone fondling me while they put my hair into a silly up-do or plaster my face with pounds of make-up. And false eyelashes are completely out of the question. And don’t get me started on the “first dance”…that is NOT happening. Honestly, I just don’t want any of it.”
And so my mother lovingly replied: “The wedding is not just for you.”
I sighed, but complied. I couldn’t get out of a wedding. I knew that my family and Jeff’s family would be devastated if they weren’t there for the moment we committed ourselves to each other. And so a month after we got engaged, I started asking my close friends to be in my wedding party. My maid of honour was my best friend: My cousin, who feels much more like a little sister to me.
This was September 2014.
My cousin was 17 going on 18 at the time. I was worried she would say no about being my maid of honour because she too was not a fan of weddings and also was going through some pretty serious things that I won’t get into. Despite my fears I asked her, and she excitedly said yes.
Fast forward to May 2015. My wedding day.
My wedding was….well…a wedding. But it had little touches of Lauren here and there and I had an amazing time. It was fun, it was relaxed, and it was full of the people Jeff and I care about the most. But something else happened the day of our wedding that we were unprepared for. Something I would have never guessed.
My cousin, my maid of honour, was in a very low place at this point. I knew…sort of. But I didn’t know how bad things were. She was not following Christ and seemed strongly against the idea of rededicating her life to Jesus, so I usually avoided that topic with her.
Yesterday, on October 18 2015, my cousin was baptized at her home church. In her testimony, she talks about having a defining moment of clarity. Apparently, that moment was at my wedding. Since then, she’s never looked back.
My wedding ended up becoming a testimony. Through our actions, through our words, through all the other Christian friends and family members who attended. My cousin talked about looking into the room and seeing how some people looked so…empty. But many did not.
I’m not taking credit for her conversion. I’m not even saying that had we chosen to not have a wedding that she would never have become a Christian – it could have happened anywhere. But, it didn’t. It happened at my wedding.
This truly made me realized that as Christians, everything we do is a testimony, and people are watching.