Photos by Samantha Jay Photo
The story behind this mirror is heartwarming and incredible. It epitomizes the good will and generosity in people - in this case, total strangers. Whenever I look at this mirror, I think of the life it had before it welcomed the guests at our wedding. I loved using it as such a harbinger of happiness and excitement, and the way I found it makes it even more of a gift. So, I call it, the giving mirror. In honor of our 6-month anniversary (today!) I wanted to share this beautiful story with you.
For our October 27 wedding, I wanted to go for a mood that was on the elegant side of rustic. Our stunning venue, the Holly Hedge Estate, is a chameleon of a place. It can hold countryside charm, quaint colonial vibes, old-world elegance, or black-tie glamour. Or all of it. I decided on a combination of elegance and rustic charm to tie into the peak of autumn. I love painting on mirrors, so I decided that I wanted an antique, anthropologie-esque gold mirror to welcome my guests as they arrived on the grounds. In addition, they were also greeted with a hot or cold apple cider as they awaited the beginning of the ceremony :)
So, in my search for the perfect mirror, I went to an unlikely place: Facebook. I found so many contenders, but I wanted to stick to a reasonable budget. My mother always had uncannily good luck on Facebook, of all places, for lightly used furniture and home decor in the community - sort of like an online yard sale.
I immediately found this mirror - the one I ended up having at my wedding. I messaged its owner, who I will simply refer to as K. When I found out her location, I felt discouraged because she was over an hour away. At the time of wedding madness, last-minute details, and the beginning of a new school year, I wondered if this was a good idea. I asked K if we could meet halfway, and K kindly obliged.
"Thank you SO much," I gushed. "I'm using the mirror for my wedding coming up, as a decoration. It is beautiful and I so appreciate that you're driving out to meet me."
Ugh, I thought. I must have annoyed her.
Our meeting place was in front of a Target store. It was a weekend right before the wedding, when I had a zillion things going on. Of course, as I was driving down, I was running late. I messaged K on Facebook again. "Running late!"
No response. She must hate me.
When I got to Target, I threw on my 4-ways and stopped my car in the no-parking zone. I saw another car there, and assuming it was K, I got out of the car. She did the same. We met, shook hands, and dodged a bunch of passersby. I remember being so flustered (and late) that I didn't even close my car door, and it was open so passing cars had to drive carefully as not to hit it (I'm an idiot). "You'd better get your door!" K said.
After closing my door, still in a rush, I met K at the trunk of her car. "Here it is!" she said. "I want you to have it. No money." I insisted on paying, but she would not allow it - I was floored. I'll tell you, in all of the expectations I had about K and the mirror, I was not expecting that.
She handed me a handwritten card.
I did not read the card in her presence because we were both pressured to get out of the way and leave the busy parking lot. But when I pulled over to read her card, I welled up with tears and gratitude. In the card, she explained that she wanted to give me the mirror from the moment she learned it was for my wedding. As soon as she knew my intent, she made the decision to use the mirror in its rightful place. The mirror, to her, was filled with happy memories. It was a gift from her parents for her first home, actually, a wedding gift. She had fallen in love with it, but the mirror soon found its way into the basement - years of moving, redecorating, and general life. And K explained, it was time to let it go. Her treasured gift always reminded her of her parents. As I read on, she explained that she was dealing with the recent death of her father. My heart sank as I read this. But she explained, the mirror always reminded her of her parents, happy memories, and of the lessons her father had taught her: whenever you can do an act of kindness, do it. So, she used my inquiry as her opportunity for kindness, and to fulfill her father's advice.
She told me she wanted to have it because it would mean the beginning of the same sort of happiness for another bride. Me. "Save the money you would have spent on this for some honeymoon cocktails," she wrote.
A total stranger, and the kindest gesture. Who would have thought? This mirror means so much to me, because it meant so much to her, a beloved heirloom from her parents. K, wherever you are out there, I will always treasure this beautiful mirror and the memories it holds for you. I'll also always be reminded of your kindness, and your giving.
And that's the story of the giving mirror.