This past weekend I and about 100 other well-wishers witnessed as two friends tied the knot in holy matrimony.
Here were two people, early 30’s, from two entirely different backgrounds, joined by the love and respect of each other. Her family is American/Sierra Leonese; his family is from Venezuela. Part of the ceremony was in Spanish, mostly in English, and the traditions from Sierra Leone very much present.
The tagline for this event was “Took us long enough.” As the story went, the couple had known each other several years before and dated, but broke up and remained friends. Due to the nature of her job, she moves around every four years. They had dated other people, but eventually hooked up again two years ago. On Saturday, they officially committed themselves to each other.
This couple was here to have a good time. And they did everything to lighten the mood. It was the way I thought all weddings ought to be: entertaining and fun. Nothing overbearing or stuffy.
All the main ingredients were present: the guests, the officiant, the vows, the dress.
But then the bride stopped halfway down the aisle to adjust her heels, asking us to give her more time.
The lovely couple giggled with each other all the way through when reading their own vows, after the pastor had read the “official vows.”
And the groom high-fived his best man when the pastor declared them “now husband and wife.”
At one point the pastor had to tell the new Mr. and Mrs. to just “hold on” because he “hadn’t finished yet,” when they couldn’t stop kissing each other after we all clearly heard him say “You may now kiss the bride.”
At the reception, during the father-daughter dance, both father and daughter twirled around and ended with a flourish, sticking their tongues out at the photographer.
There was no “head table” for the bridal couple and their family. Instead, there was one table at the edge of the dance floor for the couple but everyone was invited to mingle and greet each other. The Master of Ceremonies worked the crowd with his special sense of humor, telling each table that they had to perform/sing/recite a poem before we could eat. Yes, we had to sing for our supper! (In a preemptive strike, I scrolled through my phone for a song before the jester came to our table and ended up singing Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough.”)
The bride’s mother was not present, having passed away a few years ago. But the bride didn’t allow this to cast a shadow on the festivities. After dinner, she invited us all to get on the dance floor and, in honor of her mom, “shake our booties” to a song her mom used to love. “And,” the bride’s sister added, “our mom loved to shake her booty!”
I loved the injection of whimsy that accompanied this very special occasion. Too often, we, the about-to-be-married, stress out about the day of our nuptials being absolutely perfect, completely forgetting that this is the just the gateway to the rest of our lives and not the actual marriage.
It was such a beautiful day for a wedding from the outset and in all likelihood, this is going to be a beautiful marriage. Thanks for inviting me to share this special day with you.