He had never seen anything so beautiful in his life before. Standing at the altar, he saw his bride walk in to the hall, her arm linked to her father’s. He recalled the moment he asked her to marry him. They were on vacation with their families in the Maldives. Shane and Leslie were sitting on the rocks at the beach. The tide was low, and the sea was engulfing the sun at the horizon. An orange hue touched the sky in the moment. Shane looked at Leslie. He was so thankful to have such a wonderful woman in his life. The wind was in her hair, and their toes just touched the water. He extended his arm till his fingers met hers. Kissing her hand, he ran his fingers on hers and said, “You know what would look stunning?”
Leslie looked at him, smiling and asked, “What?”
“A ring on that unfortunately barren finger of yours”, pointing to the ring finger.
It took a few seconds for Leslie to understand what he was saying. When Shane pulled out a black Tiffany’s box, Leslie started screaming and laughing at the same time. He opened the box to reveal a platinum solitaire- The diamond was square cut and sparkled gloriously in the remaining sunlight.
“Leslie Cooper, will you grant me the honour of calling you my wife? Will you marry me?”
“Yes, Shane. YES!” Leslie replied. She was blushing and ecstatic.
They hugged each other and gently kissed. They were about to pull back, when a high tide almost hit them. Shane and Leslie started laughing, and holding hands, walked back to their villa to announce the great news.
Shane snapped back into his senses. Leslie was walking down the aisle, smiling gleefully. Embodied in an ivory strapless silk gown, she took her time, careful to not trip. The gown had a waistband which was encrusted with crystals. There were ivory flowers embroidered extending waist down, but not entirely. There was a train behind her, following the bride to her altar where her to be-husband stood waiting, anxiously. When she reached the altar, she kissed her father on her cheek who then handed his daughter’s hand to Shane. Shane helped his bride up the tiny steps leading to the altar, and then both of them stood together, smiling endlessly. Shane noticed that Leslie had flowers in her hair- white roses. 3 of them, crowning her veil. Her makeup was minimal, and her cheeks were rosy, probably because she was ecstatic about today. She held a bouquet of red roses, which she handed to her maid-of-honour before snuggling her hands into Shane’s.
The ceremony began and the minister started his speech. Shane couldn’t keep his eyes off Leslie, who silently giggled when she noticed Shane looking at her. He mouthed “You look beautiful” to Leslie and she replied with a bashful “thank you”.
“Shane. The vows?”
“Oh! Yeah!” Shane responded suddenly. Leslie giggled.
“I vow to love you more than life itself. To hold your hand when the times are tough and especially when people are looking at us.”
The gathering laughed.
Shane continued, “I vow to be a good husband and your best friend. To understand your problems and help you deal with issues. To not back off when things are going downhill and try really hard to make this work. I vow to love you fiercely, and to remind myself every day that this is a once in a lifetime kind of love.”
Shane reached his hand out and wiped a tear from Leslie’s face. He knew she’d almost cry. Makeup, he said in an undertone. Leslie smiled, sniffling.
“Leslie?” said Minister Patrick.
Leslie read out her vows while Shane just looked at her in awe. He couldn’t believe that this was the woman he was going to wake up next to every day for the rest of his life. He wanted to grab and kiss her, but he couldn’t do that. Not until the Minister asked them to.
“Do you, Shane Phil Andrews take Leslie Ross Cooper as your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?”
“And do you, Leslie Ross Cooper take Shane Phil Andrews as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?”
“The rings?” Minister Patrick enquired.
The ring bearer (also Shane’s best friend) handed them the rings.
Shane carefully slipped the gold wedding band onto Leslie’s slim fingers. Leslie placed the ring onto Shane’s.
“You may now kiss the bride.”
Shane had been waiting for this moment for a long time. He placed his arms around Leslie’s waist, pulled her closer and gave her a soft kiss. Even though he had kissed her before, his heart was pounding and he felt like his head would explode. He hugged Leslie, secretly thanking God for introducing her to him.
The crowd cheered, and Leslie and Shane laughed. They stepped down the altar and made way to the door, where Leslie stopped to throw her bouquet. They walked out the door, as husband and wife, holding hands and got into their car.
There was one final kiss, they waved goodbye to their families and drove away, into the sunset.