This Sunday my family and I were invited to witness two amazing young people begin their lives as husband and wife. I will admit that I am a bit of a wedding junkie. They are by far my favorite social outings. I think it’s because, barring any family drama, weddings are such incredibly happy events filled with promise and excitement. Plus I get to dance with my husband, always a treat. I would guess I’ve been to (attended or been part of) maybe fifty weddings in my lifetime but there was something special about this one, the ceremony especially, that made my heart extra happy, both for the couple and for those of us lucky enough to share in their special day.
Miss L, the bride, is a very dear friend of my son’s and has been a fixture in our home since grade school. She and Miss Dee played tennis together all through high school and her little sister attends third grade at the school where I work. We were all so excited when she and her young man Mr L, also a friend and classmate of Mr D’s, became engaged last year and even more excited when we found that we were all invited to their wedding.
Sunday morning arrived dark and stormy thanks to hurricane Matthew, which had been dumping rain on us for two days but, miraculously, by afternoon the clouds had parted and the sky was a bright, clear blue. We arrived at the venue around four o’clock and discovered that, dispite the wet ground, the ceremony would be held on the wood lined brick patio around back. I was told by her grandmother that when the family arrived, the staff had been setting up inside but Miss L had nixed that insisting that the ceremony had to be outdoors. On my way to my seat, even as my heels sunk into the earth, I looked around at the green lawn, baskets of flowers and autumn foliage and thought “Good call.” The setting made it all so much more perfect.
Turning in our seats as the music began we saw Mr L, who is now a new Marine, just finished his basic training walk up the stone path looking very handsome if a little nervous in his dress blues. He was accompanied by the minister. They were followed by his brother and six groomsmen, four of which were in uniform as well. As they took their place at the front, under a white pergola covered in climbing vines, the ladies entered. First came her little sister dressed in cream colored lace scattering pink rose petals, then the bridesmaids in soft blush dresses each wearing a ring of flowers in their hair.
The music changed to Beethoven’s Cannon in D, my all time favorite wedding music, and we stood to watch Miss L enter accompanied by her mom on one side and her dad on the other. All brides are beautiful, and she was no exception but it was so much more than that. Her gown, a simple off the shoulder ivory lace with a full ballgown skirt made up of yards and yards of tulle drifted around her and her mass of auburn curls tumbled beneath a veil crowned with pink and ivory flowers. She was breathtaking! A woodland princess about to marry her prince. I think what made her look so perfect, so magical, was that she stayed true to who she is, a very wholesome sweet girl without a lot of glitter and glitz.
I turned and caught sight of her groom and I couldn’t help but choke up. The look of absolute love on his face, his eyes glistening, seemed to caused quite a few sniffles among the guests. Since we were seated in the back row much of what the minister said during the ceremony was lost on the wind but watching those two young people standing hand in hand against a backdrop of green, gold and red trees, the lovely maidens on one side, the military men standing tall on the other and the sun glowing above us all, was enough to make my heart swell with happiness for them. When it came time for the vows and the rings, the bride and groom’s voices came across loud and clear and even though the breeze kept them from officially lighting the unity candle (they faked it for the photographer!) the ceremony was lovely. They kissed, we applauded and they danced back down the aisle ready to enjoy an evening of celebration as husband and wife.
On Monday morning the couple left for their honeymoon and in a few weeks they will pack up and move to South Carolina where Mr L is stationed. I’m going to miss having Miss L around all the time but I’m so happy for her and her new husband. When I first found out they were getting married I worried that they were so young and that they would be starting out their marriage so far from friends and family but after seeing them on Sunday and feeling all the love that surrounds them I’m convinced they’ll do fine. This was just the start of an amazing journey that will last a lifetime, their lifetime. I’m really glad I was there to see it all begin.