100. The Wedding Gift

100. The Wedding Gift

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

The Wedding Gift

More in a garden grows than what the gardener sows.

~Spanish Proverb

I had picked out the flowers in my wedding bouquet carefully, with thought for the meaning of each one. There was blue iris, my fiancé’s favorite flower; white roses, symbolizing purity; and strands of green ivy, to represent faithfulness.

Midway through our wedding reception, I found myself breathless and happy, chatting with friends and juggling a full champagne glass and my flowers. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see a woman I had met only briefly, a friend of my new mother-inlaw. In her hand, she held a tendril of ivy.

“This fell out of your bouquet when you were on the dance floor,” she said. I thanked her and began to reach for it, when she added, “Do you mind if I keep it?”

I was startled at first. I hadn’t even tossed my bouquet yet. And I barely knew this woman. What did she want with my ivy?

But then practicality kicked in. I was leaving on my honeymoon in the morning and certainly wouldn’t take the bouquet along. I had no plans for preserving it. And I’d been given so much today.

“Go ahead. Keep it,” I said with a smile, and congratulated myself for being gracious in the face of a rather odd request. Then the music started up, and I danced off in the crowd.

A few months later, the bell rang at our new home. I opened the door to find that same stranger on my porch. This time, I couldn’t hide my surprise. I hadn’t seen her since the wedding. What was this all about?

“I have a wedding gift for you,” she said, and held out a small planter crowded with foliage. Suddenly, I knew. “It’s the ivy you dropped at your wedding,” she explained. “I took it home and made a cutting and planted it for you.”

Years ago, at her own wedding, someone had done the same for her. “It’s still growing, and I remember my wedding day every time I see it,” she said. “Now, I try to plant some for other brides when I can.”

I was speechless. All the quirky thoughts I’d had, and what a beautiful gift I’d received!

My wedding ivy has thrived for many years, outliving any other effort I made at indoor gardening. As the giver predicted, a glance at the glossy green leaves brings back memories of white lace and wedding vows. I treasure the ivy’s story and have shared it many times.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I’m the mother of three growing sons. Someday they’ll be married, I know. And although I don’t want to be an interfering in-law, surely the mother of the groom can suggest that the bride’s bouquet contain a bit of ivy?

I know just the plant to cut it from.

 

~Carol Sturgulewski
Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

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