Oklahoman Modified: June 8, 2012 at 12:51 am •  Published: June 9, 2012

“When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.”

— Dr. Joyce Brothers

By Kate Sugg

From the right flowers, which just happened to be light blue and violet hydrangeas, to tackling the headache-inducing seating charts, I spent months planning every detail of my traditional wedding, and it had to be perfect!

The venue that I fell in love with was a private country club in Connecticut that neither I nor my family could ever afford to join. The reality was that I was cursed with Champagne taste on a beer budget. What would my wedding be without the perfect venue, though? My “perfect wedding” obsession forced me to make some serious compromises (I now regret my lack of passed hors d'oeuvres), but I knew I had to have the venue. And after weeks of haggling and negotiating, it was mine.

As time went by, I started to get lost in the details as if they were the only things that mattered. I bought four different pairs of wedding shoes because I couldn't decide which shade of ivory matched my dress just right. After that splurge, I actually started doubting my dress as I delved back into bridal magazines searching for one that could have possibly been better. I admit that if my wedding planning had gone on another few weeks, I would have morphed into a full-blown “Bridezilla.”

Although I didn't realize it at the time, I was actually one of the lucky brides-to-be. By that, I mean that I got a reality check. It came in the form of a life-changing event that reminded me what really mattered ... and it wasn't the frosting on the cake or the length of the bridesmaids' dresses.

I received a phone call two weeks before my big day. I had just returned from my hair and makeup “dry run.” My dad was on the other line telling me that he thought he was having a heart attack and was on his way to the hospital. I grabbed my bag and jumped in the car with my fiance. The 10-minute car ride to the emergency room seemed like an eternity as I relived a phone call I had received eight years earlier. I was in college at the time, three hours away from home, when my aunt called to inform me that my stepfather had died of a heart attack that morning. I couldn't bear the thought of losing my dad, too. As tears started streaming down, I kept telling myself that he was going to be OK.

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