Weddings, Part 4

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Wedding Gazebo - Mohican State Park
Wedding Gazebo - Mohican State Park

This one is about my daughter’s wedding. It took place on June 28th on a not-too-hot summer day with a slight threat of rain which never materialized. Thank goodness, because the ceremony was conducted outside, in a small gazebo at a state park. There was just room enough for the bride and groom and officiant in the gazebo; the rest of us, family and very close friends, gathered around on the hillside. It was over in eight minutes; the picture-taking session that followed took far, far longer.

The reception started two hours later, inside the lodge itself. The 80+ guests were treated to a buffet lunch, followed by two and a half hours of DJ-led dancing. Everything came together beautifully: the flowers, the cookies (in a tiered centerpiece in place of a cake), the food, the music. A few weeks before, I wouldn’t have believed that it could actually happen. Like every wedding, I think, there were plenty of glitches to keep us on our toes (and wringing our hands).

Why do we think that everything about a wedding has to be perfect? Life certainly isn’t. Is it because we know that this may be our last chance at marital perfection before reality sets in? Maybe it’s a good thing for a wedding to have glitches: it prepares the bride and groom for what is to come. I also think it’s almost a superstition: we think that the better the wedding, the higher the chances of success in the marriage. That’s nonsense of course; plenty of great marriages started with little or no fanfare or even complete disasters and elaborate and well-staged weddings are no guarantee of marital happiness. I can attest to that.

The marriages with the greater chances of success are the ones which start with realistic expectations, of the wedding, and by extension, of life itself. We can all dream of the perfect wedding, but the real test is how well we accept its inevitable imperfections. We might as well get used to it, because what follows the wedding is going to challenge us in ways we have never even imagined.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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