April Jeppson: The opportunities and magic of a wedding

Published 7:20 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


I grew up around my extended family, and I feel like there was always someone getting married. I remember going to weddings for people I didn’t even know I was related to. I didn’t mind, though. I got to dress up, there was fun food, I’d see my cousins and, of course, I love a good wedding dance.

Email newsletter signup

My cousin got married this past weekend, and I wasn’t going to miss this for the world. As I’m telling the kids where we are going and why we are packing, they have questions. It occurs to me that none of them remember attending a wedding — which means they also don’t know about the fun party afterwards.

The wedding was short and very sweet. I almost started to cry before it began as I was explaining to my 10-year-old what to expect. He kind of halfheartedly teased me for almost crying.

As the music transitioned, and we watched my cousin escort his mom down the aisle (his father passed away nine years ago), the tears started to flow. As I watched my cousin wipe the tears streaming down his face as his bride approached, I noticed that my son was now ugly crying. We consoled each other and shared the paper towel my mother found in her purse. We were a mess.

After the wedding, we walked to the back lot to the cemetery. This is the church I grew up in. This is the church my ancestors built. The cemetery is full of people with last names that are on my family tree. My son was not keen on walking with us because, he did just spend the last 30 minutes sharing a sandpaper tissue with his mom. He knew what laid ahead for him.

He wasn’t wrong. As my mother pointed out where her parents were buried and introduced them to my children as, “This is where my mom and dad are,” we made eye contact and now there were three of us trying to maintain composure.

Then we walked over to my uncle’s stone — my uncle who should have been there. My uncle who would have worn cowboy boots and loved the woman that his son fell for. Smiling through the tears, I shared stories with my son as we walked back to the front of the church.

After an emotional roller coaster like that, we needed a good reception. When the music started, I could tell my girls wanted to dance but were too shy. My husband went out with them, and I was quickly behind. As the dance floor started to fill up with people, I encouraged my kids to dance with the other little kids, but they weren’t feeling it.

It was hard to get my son on the floor, but I knew he’d like this experience more if he fully participated in it. After much embarrassing mom dance moves and a pep talk, I was successful! I now had all of my kids getting their groove on.

At one point my 5-year-old was dancing completely with strangers — an entire group of adults she’d never met before that night were circled around her and cheering her on. She later informed me that she’s basically famous now and people are going to hire her to teach them how to dance. She’s been practicing — that’s why she’s so good.

I’m happy my children had this opportunity to see all the magic and fun that a wedding provides. The music, the food, the tears, the stories, the laughing — you simply need to experience yourself, to truly understand it. Hopefully next time I remember to pack tissues.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.