I had the privilege to be present at the wedding of a lass I’d seen grow up and her sweetie this past weekend. It was different from watching a peer or a daughter get married. Here, all I felt was tremendous hope for the success of young love, love for all involved, and concern that all would go well. Weddings are so challenging that way. There are so many expectations – from the dress to the family behaviour to the food to the service to even the weather. Since the wedding of Mr. Ex and myself, which was an unmitigated disaster, blessed only by the fact that we did in fact get married and no one *at the wedding* was killed, I’m kind of suspicious of the wedding scene. I spend half the time waiting for something to fall over, the rest of it hoping against hope that it will be the beautiful day the bride and groom hope for.
The wedding I survived myself involved strangers, missing family members (my aunt died just prior to the wedding, my uncle the priest fell and was healing from broken ribs), my dad was taken off to the hospital, it HAILED, oh, it was just awful. Now I’m like those women who tell you their awful baby birthing stories when they see you are pregnant. “Elope!” I tell people. “Just run away. It’s be safer for everyone!” And yet, in the photographs, I look like I am happier than I’ve ever been. It looks as if we are all having a good time. As my ex said, when I asked him how he could be brave enough to marry again, “The triumph of hope over experience, I guess!” My mother actually told me we shouldn’t renew our vows, as we didn’t have enough relatives still living to lose any more.
The wedding this weekend was somewhat fraught with the usual minor disasters associated with a wedding – unexpected things going wrong, family stressors, missed appointments and just life. But in the end, the joy of the participants carried through. I knew everybody was going to be all right when the bride and groom joined their friends in the folk choir and burst into spontaneous song – and everyone down below in the church sang along. It reminded me of the Whos down in Whoville, and when they join hands and sing around the space where the Christmas tree used to be, the sun rises among them to the sky. I could feel that warmth and joy and sunshine rising from the crowd gathered, and I thought what a blessing these young people have, to have such a supportive group around them.
I have to admit to a small frisson of jealousy. My mum managed our wedding, and I really had no idea who half the guests were. We did everything “propah”, from the engraved invitations to the live band (live being a relative term, as anyone who was there would tell you), to the roast breast of capon dinner (What’s with the breast of capon thing? It’s a castrated pigeon. What’s the subliminal message there, eh?). I felt like a guest. (Part of my otherworldly feeling was no doubt due to the infected wisdom tooth I was sporting). I still regret not moving the whole thing to my dad’s bedroom when it turned out he couldn’t get out of bed – but that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do – so I went along. It’s taken me years to get over doing the “propah” thing just because. Okay, I’m still doing it. But I’m getting better.
There’s nothing wrong with proper. It’s just that it isn’t the sort of format that leads to the unmitigated joy and soul sharing as I witnessed on Sunday. It’s good to be able to do things a little different, to take what you want out of the framework and add your own spice. Or in this case, candy.
I feel so happy for this young couple. Yep, life won’t be all puppy dogs and sunshine, as the song goes, but they have started it with joy, and that’s gotta count for something.