Do you promise to cry at your sister’s wedding? I do.


My baby sister got married on Saturday. And I knew I wasn’t going to get through the day without a few tears.

I thought I might cry when I saw her in her gown—but I must have been too busy wondering how my husband would get our two preschoolers into their suits by himself while I was spending most of the day with the bride. For the record, he handled everything beautifully.

I knew I’d tear up when my father lifted my sister’s veil and gave his little girl’s hand to my brother-in-law. And, of course, I did.

Then I almost always get emotional during marriage vows. There’s something so awesome, so wondrous, so mysterious about that promise. Forever. Wow. What trust, what faith, what hope you have to have to say those words—and mean them. But I was confident that I had my emotions in check until I looked at the groom and realized he was choking up. And then I was done.

Trust me. Your eyes would have been moist, too.

So, OK, I knew I’d cry.

I knew I’d laugh, too. My 9-year-old niece and I had such fun taking silly pictures on the steps of the Basilica, while we waited for the bride and groom to finish their photo shoot. Toward the end, I asked my niece to jump for a picture. She did. The next thing I knew, the bride and groom were jumping for me.

When I look at the pictures from the day, the picture I took at that moment is my favorite.

One surprise for me, however, has been my reaction to the video I took of the couple dancing together for the first time as husband and wife.

When they took the floor for that first dance, I had a talkative 2-year-old on one hip and no plans to do much with my camera. But I was so struck by that moment—and the Irish waltz they were dancing to—that I had to try to capture it.

And what surprised me was not their exquisite dancing, or how their connection conveys the tenderness of their love. It certainly wasn’t that Daniel asked me for a Band-aid for an invisible “boo-boo” on his thumb halfway through the song.

What surprised me was that at the moment I merely thought how lovely it was, but that every time I have watched the dance since then, I suddenly find that I have tears in my eyes.

Maybe it’s because of the lilting Irish music.

Maybe it’s because I can’t believe my little sister is all grown up.

But I think it’s because when I watch my sister and brother-in-law dance, I can’t help but think of how beautifully they are matched, how God’s hand is so evident in their lives, and how their prayers have been answered.


Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.