What does one expect regarding a wedding? We all have preconceptions that we don’t even realize are in place, at least not until there are aspects that defy those expectations.
Everything about it seemed predictable enough: there were boutonniered men, and corsaged women, and a flower girl who I understand is responsible for there being a wedding cake at the reception. Evidently, upon being asked to be a flower girl, her only question was, “will there be a wedding cake?” When told the bride had been thinking about cupcakes, she immediately stated “well then I’m not going.” This was enough to convince the bride to go conventional on this detail. Let’s hear it for the flower girl on this one! There were beautiful flowers on each table, and a DJ who knew how to get the crowd going.
The ceremony itself was filled with readings from the Bible and two verses sung by the nightingale of the crowd. The minister’s dog was in attendance: upon meeting the minister, the groom was also introduced to the dog, and he insisted that she be present as well. The dog’s name is Loqui, which to me screamed something of a Loqui motive, or at least Loqui motion, if not Low Key notion. I thought about our own dog attending a wedding. I could see him eyeing each pew, determined to mark every one.
I actually missed the bride coming down the aisle, being too busy running back to fetch the groom and the witnesses who were staying cool in the only air conditioned space in the back room. They came out and took their places: the groom in the chair alongside his pink outfitted bride, and the witnesses across from them.
Everything went smoothly: people made it to the reception, signed the guest book, and availed themselves of the bar and hors d’oevres, while listening to tunes from the piano. All 140 guests found our tables and a lively prattle filled the room. Those of us close to the bride and groom made our way to the area where the photographer was grouping us for album portraits. The favors we snagged on the way out were chocolate hearts set in little paper holders with a business sized card that read: “Thank you for sharing our celebration of love and joy.”
So what was different?
The fact that the bride and groom were in their late(ish) 70’s. They had already surprised us by essentially announcing their coupledom before even setting eyes on each other. This first meeting took place last Christmas Eve. Last year at this time they were completely unknown to one another, the concept of seeking companionship online still a distant thought, at least for my father-in-law.
And yet here we were, dancing to Love Shack, and putting on oversize hats as we shimmied around the dance floor. Perhaps more of us had assumed that their legal union would be a quiet affair, immediate family in attendance, and perhaps a tasteful dinner somewhere nearby. This was, after all, a third wedding for each. But the number doesn’t matter when the love speaks loudly, and their confidence in each other and their future conveyed itself. As the children, grandchildren, friends and family of this couple, it is our job to support their courage, their willingness to take a risk. The fact that they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable, and trusting that a new relationship can bring fresh life, meaning and joy to their own lives, gives us permission to do the same. Here’s to love, at any age.