I’ve participated in numerous weddings over the course of my life. I've sung at weddings. I've played handbells at weddings. I've been a groomsman in weddings. I've helped decorate cakes for weddings. I've catered rehearsal dinners and receptions. I've helped friends pick out wedding gowns and tuxedos. I’ve nursed the ailing after bachelor and bachelorette parties. I’ve even been the celebrant for a wedding or two. However, I was not prepared for the wedding I attended this week.
This wedding was different in just about every way imaginable. The couple marrying had already lived together in a successful, committed relationship for 20 years. The wedding was held on an interisland ferry to accommodate guests from various San Juan Islands as well as mainland Washington and other states. Everyone attending the wedding had a job to complete. These ranged from getting decorations and ice chests of food onto the ferry and up to the passenger cabin to cleaning up and removing trash after the reception. The planning and cooperation were quite impressive.
Because this couple was committed to crow rehabilitation, their wedding cake was decorated with a flock of crows flying up the side to the top where two crows appeared to say their vows. Guests had been asked to wear island-casual clothing rather than typical wedding attire. The music was provided by a husband and wife and their two elementary-school-age boys. Papa played double bass, Mom played fiddle, one son played mandolin, and the other son played guitar and fiddle.
Somehow all of these differences seemed quite normal, as did the fact that the couple being married was two women. What caught me off guard was the part of the ceremony stating that a marriage reaches the hearts of those attending who witness the formation of the wedding couple’s union and then reflect upon their own relationships. A wave of emotion washed over me.
The ferry returned to Friday Harbor. The brides, their relatives, and their friends went home. Yet I suspect that all of us will continue to reflect upon our own relationships for some time to come.
What do weddings cause you to reflect upon?
Do you ruminate on their traditional or non-traditional aspects?
Are you focused solely on the couple being married?
How are your own committed relationships doing today?