I love fairy tales. According to Wikipedia, the fairy tale genre comes from the German term "Märchen" meaning “little story.” These short stories were from a long time ago when the world was still magic. We begin fairy tales with the phrase “Once upon a time.” One German opening is “In the old times when wishing was still effective.”
I love this! One, because of my German heritage and two, because I believe the world is still magic. Wishing is still effective. I believe in miracles and fairy tales. Parts of my life follow the Cinderella story. I will share the magical parts of the story with you.
Once upon a time …
Cinderella and her very loving mother were putting the finishing touches on her hairstyle. It was her wedding day. Before either could step back and admire Cinderella’s hair and makeup, there was a knock at the door. Prince Charming was on the other side looking handsome as ever. Cinderella was pleasantly surprised to see him.
Prince Charming helped her put all the wedding things she needed in his champagne colored Nissan Altima carriage. Peace and calm settled over Cinderella like a warm blanket as the two lovebirds drove for 45 minutes to the Timpanogas Temple together.
The temple foyer was filled with people standing shoulder to shoulder. A lady asked Cinderella if she was there for a wedding. Cinderella told her she was the bride! The lady started to whisk the stunned bride away. Cinderella stopped the lady in time for her mother to arrive and follow along. The lady took them to a Bridal Room where Prince Charming’s mother joined them. Cinderella left her street clothes in the locker room and went back to the Bridal Room wearing only a silk robe.
The Bridal Room was about the size of a standard bedroom. Along one wall, fancy straight back chairs held the two mothers with an empty chair between them. Cinderella had seen movies where brides were dressed and fussed over. She expected some degree of this bridal rite of passage. Both mothers stared across the room like statues. Cinderella realized neither mother had ever done this before. One had two boys while the other had a boy and two girls. Cinderella was the oldest girl. The show must go on. Cinderella swallowed her modest pride and opened her robe to dress herself. As the pile of wedding clothes went down, Cinderella was seized by a new fear.
There were no shoes.
Before Cinderella met Prince Charming, she had seen an ad in a magazine. The picture was of a bride casually sitting on concrete steps. The front of her dress was pulled up to her knees revealing a pair of black Dr. Marten boots. It was a growing trend for brides to ditch the torturous high heels for a pair of comfortable shoes under her pretty gown. Cinderella chose to participate in this trend by selecting a pair of white sneakers. They were knock off Converse sneakers with a thick sole. Imagine the shoes Frankenstein would wear for moonlighting as an orderly at a hospital. Those are the shoes Cinderella bought for her wedding day. Those were the shoes that were patiently waiting in Prince Charming’s carriage deep in the parking lot. Cinderella was wearing a pair of white nylons. That would have to do.
The temple escort took Cinderella to an Endowment Room where Prince Charming was waiting outside. The three waited a moment out in the hall. The escort opened the door to let them in. The couple was told to wait their turn at the front of the room. Cinderella sat in a chair that resembled a throne from Downton Abbey. All eyes were on the princess as she sat there with her wedding dress billowing around her like a fluffy cloud.
The couple moved into the Celestial Room where they were able to sit and hold hands. They didn’t know what to say to each other. Butterflies swirled an excited nervous dance in each of their stomachs. Still their eyes sparkled as grins spread across their faces. This was their wedding day!
The escort came back to take the couple to the Sealing Room. They walked out like a three-person train. Prince Charming was the caboose. His eyes were fixed on the floor where the back of Cinderella’s dress touched. He was so afraid of stepping on the back of her dress. She was afraid of stepping on her own dress without shoes to give her some height. Just as they came to the door, Prince Charming felt a burst of confidence. His eyes looked up to take in the beautiful room before they left. Then the sound no one ever wants to hear.
The sound of tearing fabric was amplified in slow motion if such a thing is possible. Hearts stopped short. Then a jumble of commotion. Prince Charming was apologizing while Cinderella was forgiving him. In one deft step, the escort was crouched behind Cinderella to assess the situation. Triumphantly, she announced that all was well. The couple’s eyebrows arched suspiciously. The escort explained that one of the clear plastic snaps that bustled the back of the dress had torn so slightly it was barely noticeable. She spoke the truth. Even after the wedding, Cinderella could not see where the damage had been done.
As soon as they reached the Sealing Room, Cinderella’s concerns returned to her nearly naked feet. From the doorway she could see their friends and family. Her coworkers, the 6th grade team of teachers she worked with, were front and center for the surprise show. Oblivious to his bride’s secret, Prince Charming knelt. Cinderella faced him across the altar and sank to her knees before quickly tucking her feet underneath her dress.
After the ceremony everyone went outside for pictures. It was a sunny and crisp February day in Utah County. Cinderella lifted her dress enough to keep it from dragging on the ground. Audible gasps were heard all around as her secret bare feet were revealed. The air was tolerably cool but the ground was decidedly cold, so Cinderella was grateful when friends and family insisted she get some shoes. Her mother went to get the errant shoes from Prince Charming’s car.
Fairy godmothers worked their magic with wedding plans since the couple had no money. The wedding photographers were some fairy godmother friends and the couple's four year old nephew, who was given a disposable camera to capture the day. They took pictures and donated the film to the couple, who only had to pay for prints. Cinderella’s favorite pictures from the whole day are the ones where Prince Charming is putting her shoes on for her.
Cinderella tried to put her shoes on. Miles of satin and tulle obstructed the view of her own feet. Prince Charming was happy to help. She grabbed fistfuls of dress to lift and move out of the way while Prince Charming knelt to tenderly put the shoes in place and tie the laces. The shoes were a perfect fit!
The rest of the day floated on like a dream. Back in the carriage powered by 155 fuel injected horses, the happy couple was stopped at a traffic light. A cowboy riding his own fine steed, looked over and saw Cinderella in her wedding dress. He honked his horn and gave them a thumbs up sign while grinning. Life is bliss.
Few things about that special day went according to plan. The couple rolled with the punches. Like life, weddings are full of surprises. The trick is to enjoy the ride. Prince Charming’s misstep had no ill effect on the bustling of the dress. It stayed bustled all day. Cinderella’s only regret was forgetting to unbustle the train. She bought the dress for the train and completely forgot to let it out after being in the temple! How can someone forget to enjoy a childhood dream? Easy. She was in love.
This fairy tale couple had their fair share of conflict and drama before, during, and after their wedding day. They continue to live happily ever after because they learned early on that love is all you need. Whatever fire breathing dragons and other forces of hell threaten to destroy, this couple has learned that they always have each other. Love is all you need.
Side note: Wedding memories have been coming to mind a lot lately. Partly because of this time of year and partly because of a friend who is donning her Mother of the Bride hat for the first time. But mostly this story is because of a recent Relief Society activity where women shared shoes that had meaning to them. I thought of my Cinderella memories. My wedding shoes became regular shoes, then shoes to mow the lawn in until the inside cushions disintegrated and I tossed them after 15 years of marriage. I do love being married to Prince Charming though!