Married: Stephen & Lauren Hagan

Laguna’s city streets flickered with joys of summertime. Shredded jean shorts, dripping ice cream cones, youthful shouts from one side of PCH to the other, burnt shoulders, rainbow striped umbrellas over dad’s shoulders, the scent of re-applied Banana Boat, stampedes of jolly vacationers and salty skin. With the ocean glittering an ombre of aqua, it was as if the coast was winking upon the land and people it contained.

And at the heart of the town, towering between a stack of modern restaurants and vintage art galleries, I found a pulse of nostalgia: the Historic Hotel Laguna. A building with rich California history ready to host more.

There on the second floor, with hands clasped a bride modestly blushed at the site of herself in the mirror. This… this reflection of herself, was a vision words have no place describing. All vocabulary inadequate– because the reflection was a culmination of far too deep of sentiments. A little girl’s princessy hopes, teenage dreams, and adult ideals all blended into one unfolding reality. Fireworks in her eyes spilt the grandness of her soul. “I waited for a Spring wedding just so I could hold these big ivory peonies. The weren’t in season until now. Look at them. Aren’t they the most beautiful?” It was a race of shutter speed vs. heart beat.

She sat on a white sheeted bed by an old and weathered thin window, peering out from the second story, as guests gathered in the courtyard below. One by one she named them, as they greeted each other and mischieviously lifted their hands above their brows, trying to gain an impossible look at her. But they tried anyway. They were all antsy to know her in white, elegant and veiled, voyaging that famous walk into a Mrs.

But in this moment she was still a miss. And this miss sat, waiting like a beloved queen, while salty sea air danced across the room, through her hair, and out the door behind her. These were the final moments before the best moments. She felt lucky.

A choir of laughter ricocheted off the hallway walls. People were merry as they both her and Stephen had sincerely hoped. It felt right, like she imagined it would. She lifted the bottom of her dress and took those first few steps. It was time. And then her dad offered his arm out to her, like he had a million times before. When she had fallen and skinned up a knee as a child, when he wanted to teach her how to dance, and now this. She took his arm, so proudly, and down an aisle of hot pink petals they walked. All guests on their feet– even some on their tiptoes, as if being taller would allow for more of the moment. Even their baby boy, in the arms of family, rose as he watched it all. His daddy and mama were already madly in love, but now, in front of his pure and impressionable eyes, they were promising him one joint FAMILY for all times. They’ll never give him something greater, and I’m confident that one day he will say those very words for himself.

Under an alter dripping in the most vibrant shades of fuchsia, yellow, and pink, was a bouquet of promises long seeded now thirsty for roots. He wiped her tears, memorized her smile, and swallowed the enormity of her vows. They bent at their knees as they belly laughed between turns, joyfully punctuating the promises made. She wrapped her arms around his neck, he kissed her lips real good, and added to the ongoing list of summertime bliss was their very own wedding day. Their best day in the history of ever. Amen.

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