If I had to describe in one word the way that I’m feeling and have felt for the past three days, the word would be “grateful.”
My beautiful daughter, Mary Rose, was married to her handsome Prince Charming, Tyler Smith, this past weekend. They are truly a real-life Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Mary Rose and Tyler met when they were both cast in the 2015 Peoria Players’ community theater production of “Cinderella.” Mary Rose was cast as Cinderella and Tyler was cast as the Prince. Mary has always had many of the same character traits as Cinderella — she’s sweet, kind, loving, pure-hearted, and thoughtful.
Tyler has many of the same character traits that Cinderella’s Prince had — he’s handsome, strong, persistent, and of course, charming.
When Mary Rose and Tyler were in Cinderella, there was magic. Everyone felt it. The comments after every show confirmed what everyone suspected — if they aren’t in love in real life, they should be.
A year ago, Tyler proposed to Mary Rose in front of a wooden Cinderella carriage that two of his friends built for him to use during the proposal. It was the perfect backdrop to a romantic proposal.
Mary Rose and Tyler then made plans to be married on May 30, 2020. But their plans had to be changed because of the pandemic that swept through the world. They didn’t know what to do because of all the closings and restrictions that were placed on churches, venues, schools, and businesses. Their planned honeymoon to Disney World in Florida was cancelled because of the uncertainty about Disney World being open. The bridal showers and other related celebrations were also cancelled.
They rescheduled their wedding for July 25, but we were still limited in the number of guests that could be invited to their wedding as well as many other restrictions that were placed upon us. It was at that time that I asked the Mother of Jesus Christ to take over as the Wedding Planner for the wedding. I prayed that the wedding details would be planned in Heaven and I decided that I would be willing to accept whatever God permitted to happen on their wedding day.
After my prayer, I felt a sense of relief and confidence in knowing that Mary Rose and Tyler would be able to follow through with their special day. I wasn’t sure what that day would look like, but I knew that God would provide for us. As the date of the wedding grew closer, we were excited and grateful when the governor of Illinois announced that our state was advancing to the next phase, which would allow us to invite more guests to the wedding.
The weeks leading up to the wedding were filled with several last-minute changes that had to be taken care of. We worked on seating charts for the church and the reception where we had to seat the guests according to who they had been living or interacting with.
The night before the wedding, Harry and I prayed with Mary Rose for her and her soon-to-be husband Tyler, and then we hugged her tightly before we went to sleep. We had confidence that our heavenly wedding planner would make sure that the wedding would be special for everyone in attendance.
Before the wedding ceremony started, Mary Rose and Tyler sang a prelude (The Prayer) with a partition between them so they wouldn’t see each other. It was so beautiful that tears filled my eyes. I noticed that several people in the church were also drying tears from their eyes.
The choir for the wedding ceremony consisted of Mary Rose’s siblings and two of her uncles, Steve and Peter Williams. Many guests commented on how the choir sounded as though they were from Heaven. We had a “Ring Security Squad” of five of my grandsons who processed down the aisle wearing their sunglasses, while acting as though they were official security guards for the rings. Two of my two-year-old granddaughters were flower girls and impressed us by their ability to follow instructions as they confidently walked down the aisle.
The wedding gown that Mary Rose wore was a white ball gown that had shimmering jewels and embellishments. She really did look like Cinderella. As she walked down the aisle with her father, I looked at Tyler and tears of joy and excitement were streaming down his face, an image that I will never forget. The love that they felt for each other was clearly evident.
After the ceremony and pictures, we drove to my cousin’s house for the Khameera, which is a Lebanese tradition that we have carried on in my family for many generations. When Mary and Tyler arrived at the Khameera, there were several minutes of music and dancing, and then Mary was escorted to the front door of my cousin’s house where she stood on a ladder and placed some raw bread dough on the area above the door jam. The tradition says that if the dough sticks, then the marriage will be strong and resilient. Of course, the dough stuck and stayed where she put it.
Everyone who was present had an opportunity to enjoy the cold drinks, snacks, candy, fruit, and vegetables that were served by my cousin’s family. Then we all drove to the venue where the wedding reception was going to take place.
At the reception, the carriage that Mary and Tyler had used for their engagement was available so their guests could take pictures with the carriage in the background. The centerpieces on the tables were handmade Cinderella wooden carriages that Tyler and his dad had made. Fairy lights shimmered and peeked through the table runners, while candles added a romantic ambience to the room.
After dinner, my husband Harry got up and gave a speech that included heartfelt stories about Mary while she was growing up and then he sang a love song to her. Then it was Tyler’s turn to sing for Mary. He surprised her by singing a love song and did a memorable group dance with his “guy group” of friends who had also participated in the wedding as some of his groomsmen. For the finale, Mary sang a song for Tyler. She was accompanied by all her siblings and their spouses, as well as her nieces and nephews. Harry and I also participated in her performance.
All of our guests were gracious, kind, and supportive. Their compliments were very humbling. All I could do was praise God for what He had done for us. I had promised to accept anything that He was going to send our way and He continuously showered everyone all day long with His blessings, grace, and love. It was truly planned in Heaven. It was amazing!
Do I believe in miracles? Yes! On that very special day, Almighty God proved to us that even during a time when there is uncertainty and chaos everywhere, He opens doors for those who have faith in Him.
As the song from Cinderella proclaimed, “It’s possible. Things are happening every day.”
In my heart, I know that God will help Mary Rose and Tyler live happily ever after.