I took my seat amongst the decorative rows of chairs underneath the grand pavilion. It was possibly the most beautiful wedding I had attended, yet I expected no less from the most amazing couple I knew.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, my heavy tuxedo jacket becoming increasingly warm in the summer sun. I wanted to remove it, yet the small note that had been placed at the bottom of my invitation stopped me.
'Dress warmly, expect rain'
It had seemed strange, a direct request for guests to consider cold weather at a wedding held in the very midst of summer. Yet, I took it seriously; Helga Pataki was not one to joke about things when it came to her wedding day.
I took my time to observe the people around me, who were now making their way to their seats also. It seemed a large number had ignored the warning and had simply dressed for the summery weather that was to be logically expected.
It was then that I noticed the umbrellas, one at the foot of each chair. Moving from the pavilion to the ballroom where the reception was to be held required walking through an unsheltered garden – I assumed this was the reason for the umbrellas.
I suppose it was natural to feel a little sceptical of the strange rain 'forecast' as I sat in the heat of the sun watching people find their seats, watching the priest and groomsmen take their positions and eventually the flowergirls' and bridesmaids' make their journeys to the altar.
It's one of my clearest memories to this day, the moment Helga stepped out from the limousine I felt a rush of cool breeze. I heard a lady in a floral summer dress shudder as the icy gust hit her skin.
I remember the way Helga stopped, and looked up toward the sky, and as though on cue it responded to her, a few raindrops finally hitting the pavilion roof.
I remember Arnold looking toward his bride and nodding with a knowing smirk and I remember the warm smile that crossed her face as the rain began to pour down.
How had she known?
I'll never forget the ferocity of the rainfall as they said their vows, the mud puddles that formed outside as she recited a beautiful poem nor the flurry of wind as they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
I walked from the pavilion to the ballroom with the provided umbrella in my arms, wrapped in the warmth of my coat as I watched those who had not dressed for the weather shiver in their summer outfits.
I'd thanked her later, for the umbrella, and the warning on the invitation.
"I'm glad you took notice, others questioned my forewarning." She had said.
"How did you know?" I had asked.
Helga cast her gaze to Arnold and an infectious smile covered her face, "It was saying goodbye." she simply stated.
I looked at her with interest, raising my eyebrow in confusion.
"It was saying goodbye.." she continued, "Because I finally got my umbrella."
All I know, is it hasn't rained a day in Hillwood since.