Two weeks after celebrating a 50th anniversary in our extended family, we delighted in celebrating a new marriage. This past Saturday our older son tied the knot, presenting us with a lovely new daughter-in-law. This particular son has taken a long time to find his soul mate, and throngs of family and his many, many friends from different times of life gathered to witness this long-anticipated event. We smiled, we teared up, we ate, we drank, and we danced – and danced and danced. Several generations shared in the couple’s joy and partied the night away. A good time was had by all. This new couple is now set to write their own family stories, weaving their stories with those of their extended families and also developing their own themes. They’ll have a strong opening chapter, given the adventures that must be unfolding right now as they honeymoon in India!
The most emotional part of the day for me was seeing the guests arrive. They represented all the dimensions and phases of our son’s life: his immediate family; his cousins, aunts and uncles; his friends from growing up, his friends from university, from grad school, from work … and with their spouses, so happy for him on this momentous occasion. His best man, who we have known and loved since they were both crawling, was ready to do the groom – and himself – proud. Our grandchildren were primed to walk down the aisle as flower girl and ring bearer and give him a hug. His younger brother was ready to knock ’em dead with his own version of stand-up comedy in the role of MC. His buddies from his childhood were prepared to bring down the house with their final personalized wedding song, a tradition they started at least 15 years ago when the first of the group was married. So many life stories were intersecting on this day.
This particular wedding was held at a boutique hotel in downtown Toronto, which suited to a tee this couple and their wish for a combination of elegance and informality. It spoke to their personalities. The success of the event was evident in many ways, not the least of which was when some of the guests took off their ties and tied them around their heads as they danced. You had to have been at another family wedding 25 years ago to appreciate the significance of that act; they were re-enacting the tie dance that materialized spontaneously all those years ago when everyone, including that bride’s grandmother and the youngest guest, aged 6 months, joined in this unusual fashion statement. The bridegroom from that wedding was the first one to move his tie from neck to head this past Saturday; there is no doubt that in doing so he was giving his seal of approval to our son’s wedding.
Seeing guests tie dance reminded me of that wedding all those years ago and of how different weddings can be, reflecting the personalities of the bride and groom. Our extended family has seen huge variation in wedding venues and approaches, each of which was perfectly suited to the couple, including:
- Wedding ceremony and reception/party at a family home
- Outdoor wedding and reception on beautiful Galiano Island in the Straits of Georgia near Vancouver
- Outdoor wedding on a ranch in the interior of British Columbia, with the groom coming in on horseback and the bride and her parents in a horse-drawn wagon, with reception in a (really nice) barn
- Beautiful small rural church wedding in Georgia, with reception in the church hall
- An elopement, with the registry office event lovingly represented in pictures and music on DVD afterwards (our other son!)
Every wedding’s special in its own way. And each event is filled with happiness for the couple and hope for their future together. But it’s particularly hard to beat one where you can watch your granddaughter come down the aisle as the flower girl and your grandson come down the aisle as the ring bearer. Call me biased.
Welcome to our family, Irene!