Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dearly Beloved

I went to a wedding today.

Doing so was a nice addition to the long weekend we’re enjoying over here this week. It was fun getting all dressed up. Wearing things I only rarely wear. Choosing the right shoes for the outfit, the right earrings, and the right shade of lipstick.

At the venue, I sat in one of the rows in the little garden, taking it all in. The wedding color scheme was burnt orange and chocolate brown. It suddenly occurred to me that I should’ve known this already, since the wedding invitation was printed out in the same colors. It just goes to show that I haven’t attended many weddings in the last decade.

I looked around, taking in all the details and wondering how much time it must have taken the couple, their family, and friends, to pull everything together: the bouquets of orange and cream roses; rose petals in the same colors mixed with hay and sprinkled all along the center aisle in anticipation of the bridal party’s grand entrance; the white chairs wrapped up in chocolate brown bows; the Afrocentric twist to the bridesmaids’ gowns and groomsmen’s outfits; the hairstyles of the bride and her bridesmaids (they all had braids); the cuteness of the little flower girls as they walked down the aisle, doing their best to keep permanent smiles on their faces; the earnest photographers and videographers, doing all sorts of acrobatics in a bid to get the best shots.

I was touched by the ceremony.

I paused for a few minutes, trying to put my finger on what it was, exactly, that touched me. I realized it was the refreshing simplicity of the event, and the innocence and purity of the couple. This was a young couple, just starting out in life, with a world of possibilities ahead of them. They pooled together what they had for their special day, and their family and friends were there to witness the beginning of their journey together. It was so precious to sense and watch their excitement and love.

They haven’t hurt each other yet, I thought to myself suddenly. That’s what it is. That’s what makes this moment so beautiful.  

There’s something really beautiful about a couple that hasn’t hurt each other yet (and that hopefully never will in a major way). It was just so touching to see.

And those beautiful words that traditional wedding vows start out with! Like I said, I hadn’t been to a wedding in forever, so I paid heightened attention to this one. The pastor began to speak those words and we all sat back and basked in the familiarity of it all:

Dearly Beloved: We are gathered together here in the sight of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.

And then the vows, which both bride and groom committed to unflinchingly:

Do you …… take …… to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?

Then, the couple read out their own, individual vows to one another. Like I said, too, too cute. I was really impressed by their personal vows and that they took the time to write them down and declare them publicly to us all. The personal vows were so moving that I saved as much from them as I could on my cell phone, my thumb moving furiously over the dial pad as I tried to type out everything. I thought it would be great to share some excerpts in a blog post, then I thought about it again and decided not to. I’ve just deleted the draft message I saved of their words. They were their words to one another, meant for each other and those that they invited to their wedding. I will say, though, that their words were heart-felt, poignant, and sometimes humorous. The bride and groom were totally comfortable with one another.

This is a couple that’ll make it, I thought.

When it was time to kiss the bride, the groom comically made a big show of things: rolling up his sleeves, pulling up his socks, and tightening the grip of his belt. It was terribly, terribly cute and we onlookers laughed in delight. He planted a nice, French kiss on his bride's lips for a few seconds too long (for ‘conservative’ audiences, anyway), and we rejoiced with him and his new bride.

They sat together afterwards as husband and wife, brimming with palpable excitement as the pastor gave the sermon. Grinning at each other in slight disbelief and whispering to one another. I could imagine everything just being a blur to them both on this exciting day.

They craned their necks to make eye contact with me across the garden, and grinned at me simultaneously. I grinned back.

Here’s to you, young couple. Wishing you all the best.

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