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Dream deferred: Who will walk me down the aisle?

There are a handful of absolutes when planning a wedding — finding a dress, settling on food and choosing a location.
My fiance, Vanzie, and I have managed to do all of the above with ease, but I must confess the hardest has been not having my father here to share in it. Every little girl dreams of having her daddy walk her down the aisle. It’s like a rite of passage.
My father, Dewitt, died in 2011 after a brief battle with cancer. My dream, as I had always imagined it, died with him.
Immediately after becoming engaged in November I pushed aside the question I knew would arise somewhere along the way. Who will walk me down the aisle?
I’ve been taking you on this wedding planning journey through a series of monthly columns. As always, if you haven’t been reading, you should. The name for the column — Altar Ego — came from Post columnist Mark Wineka.
Throughout this planning process I’ve kept my dad in the back of mind. Initially I thought I’d forego tradition and walk myself down the aisle, but ultimately that idea just didn’t feel right. I asked my mama what she thought and she said the decision was up to me. I was secretly hoping she’d just tell me. I had an uncle offer and though it would’ve been nice it too didn’t feel right.
A few months ago I asked Mark Wilhelm and he graciously accepted. Some of you may know him as the former police chief. I have over the years looked to him as a surrogate father figure.
As a matter of fact, a few months after moving to Salisbury, my mom came to visit me and met then Police Chief Wilhelm. She made it clear she was releasing her daughter to Salisbury and she wanted him to “look after me.”
I met Wilhelm on my second day at the Post. My co-workers gave me the tour and informed me I’d be sitting in on daily meetings at the police department.
“Trust has to be earned,” he said (or something close to it).
I was kind of taken aback. He didn’t even know me and he was already planning on not trusting me, I thought.
I learned over the years what he meant. The crime beat deals with some very sensitive topics, including crimes against children, and in order to work with me he had to trust me.
He must’ve trusted me because on my first major holiday in Salisbury he opened up his home to me for dinner. I had to work that holiday and wasn’t going home. He was “looking after me.”
Over the years Wilhelm has tried to set me up on dates and I’m so glad he failed miserably.
Some years ago, before Vanzie and I began dating, Wilhelm jokingly told me he’d have to walk me down the aisle.
I never imagined my dad would not be here to walk with me, but I’m so glad I have someone like Wilhelm there to look after me on such an important day.
Wilhelm, I hope you have your dancing shoes. Did I forget to mention you gotta dance at the reception too?

• Wedding day emergency kit
I’m in the process of putting together any necessities for those unexpected emergencies that may arise. You can Google wedding day emergency kit or go to my favorite site, Pinterest, and see a number of ideas.
My kit will contain some of the following: safety pins, aspirin, spot remover, lint brush, mints, snacks (cause I might get hungry, OK!), bobby pins, oil-absorbing blotting sheets, Q-tips and floss.
I say get creative and think about what things could happen and toss what you need in a bag and be on your merry way.
• Make a plan, stick to the plan
I’ve asked a church member Sheri Wilson to be my “day of coordinator.”
The day of the wedding I plan to relax and be stress free as all brides should expect. But it’s unrealistic to think nothing will happen. Someone might be late (they better not be), or someone may forget which side of the aisle to walk down.
Sheri graciously agreed to help us. She’s a person I trust to be reliable, authoritative and organized. She’ll help the wedding party stick to the plan.
• Use what you got
During my first dress fitting I realized I’m going to have about five or more inches that will be cut off the bottom, ’cause well, I’m short. So I’ve asked my friend, Tasha, if she’ll make something out of the scraps. I’m hoping she can make me a garter and a wedding headband with lace and rhinestones. This chick can sew, let me tell you. I’m sure whatever she creates will be fabulous.
Shavonne Potts is a reporter with the Salisbury Post. She can be reached spotts@salisburypost.com or 704-797-4253. Find her Altar Ego board on Pinterest.


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