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He is smiling from ear to ear

One of my best friend’s wedding brought us to Nashville on our second summer trip last weekend. I was practically adopted into the Binkley family in college. Chris, the groom-to-be, watched out for me like a big brother, which could just as easily be defined as saving my life over three years of chaos. His mom took me to the doctor when I had kidney stones, and his dad drove me to see him when he went to grad school in Arkansas. The oldest of the Binkley boys, David, tolerated me at most, but shared plenty of hilarious memories in the process. And the youngest, Dale, was my little brother in Tau Phi and my watch dog when Chris left.

Chris and I began as mutual friends and developed a bond when we dressed up as Adam and Eve for Halloween my freshman year. It’s no secret that I helped Chris, and dozens of other friends, write papers in college and although this is our most referenced interaction I think, our friendship is far more defined by years of laughs. Chris made functions with our clubs, innumerable long talks, and as many nights out on the town as dancing in the living room unforgettable. He understands me better than many people I’ve known for years longer and has the nearly impossible ability to communicate with me through grumpiness or disappointment.

For these brief reasons that don’t do him justice, his wedding was as big a day for me as for any family member’s. I adore seeing him happy and have adored the girl who makes him happy from the moment they started timidly texting. My parents and Joel are well aware of the saving grace his friendship served both Anna and I in college, so the five of us attended together completely giddy for the occasion.

A delayed-turned-canceled flight limited Joel and I’s time in Nashville to 20 short hours, so we relished the time with my family over brunch and quality time at Anna’s new apartment. After catching up and cleaning up, we arrived at the church right on time and took our seats on the groom’s side, a first for me. When Chris entered through a door at the front and took his place at the alter the entire audience smiled. From every direction you could hear whispers about how happy he was, his smile was ear to ear and remained that wide throughout the entire ceremony.

The décor was beautiful, the wedding party was delighted, and the bride was drop dead gorgeous. You could feel the bliss in the sanctuary from family to friends to the bride and groom. The sheer happiness was blatantly evident and the couple waltzed out completely bashful. I’ve truly never attended such a heart-warming wedding, it left every witness in good spirits.

The nearby reception offered time to greet friends from college and catch up as best I could with each. We got the few moments we needed to congratulate the pair who was overwhelmed with greetings and headed to Sunset Grill for our traditional visit with my close friends Ruthie and Brandon. This was the first time I could remember going without Chris, but a fulfilling reunion nonetheless. I was anxious for Joel and them to mutually love each other and enjoyed the extra time together.

Just before midnight we caught the newlyweds leaving a wedding party reception and wished them the best. However short, the trip was entirely worth being there to witness–however cliche it sounds–such a joyous occasion. Wishing The Binkley’s the happiest future.

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