It took almost 25 years but I’m pretty sure I finally attended a wedding and reception that beat the nads off my own a-way back in 1989.
Picture, if you will, a beautiful summer day in Upstate New York. It’s 11am and you’re in a huge backyard with 4 large tents, the mouth-watering aroma of BBQ chicken and a half a hog smoking waft your way. Casually and colorfully dressed guests are seated on bales of hay. There are a lot of bare feet. The table and chairs are dressed in simple white covers and decorated with clear vases of fresh cut flowers and potted Rosemary plants. Love & Joy are indeed in the air. The celebration is already starting. Of course, Janet the Bride, was radiant. Sam the Groom was handsome. As we sat and waited for the ceremony to begin Jim commented “This crowd is exactly like what I’d picture at a Grateful Dead concert. I’ve never been to one, but this is what I imagine it would be like.” And, he was right. 200+ people all gathered together in peace and love and joy. Wait.. that’s Woodstock,. Either way. You get the idea. And when Reverend Bob pronounced the couple married, I can honestly say that in all the weddings I’ve attended over the years, I’ve never seen a Bride actually JUMP FOR JOY before sealing the deal with a kiss.
Let the party begin.
14 hours, 8 kegs, 12 bottles of champagne and I dunno how many bottles of wine later – the celebrations were still going on. We dragged ourselves away at 1am Sunday morning at which time there were still about 20 people left jamming on guitars around the campfire.
This felt to me like the perfect celebration of Love for these two friends. I felt blessed to be there and part of their special day and night. And it stands in harsh contrast to more than a few other weddings and receptions I’ve been to where the music amounted to a cd player sitting all alone in the corner barely attended to and all was done with restraint and ‘proper’ manners. Some receptions you can hardly wait to get out of. This one, you regretted having to leave.
I’ve lived where I am now (about 1/2 mile from where the wedding took place) since 1995 and only now am I starting to feel like less of an outsider. I’m slow to make friends and slow to get out and about. I’ve always hesitated going to local events for some reason. In the past month I’ve met more people and made more new local friends than I have in the past 20 years of living there. What’s changed? This thing, called Love.
Rog and I went out a fair amount early in our relationship but we lived where he grew up. He knew people. When we moved to a town halfway between our respective home towns, we had to start all over again to get to know our neighbors. Rog was always good at that. I guess I’m just too shy sometimes. I try to be friendly but always feel odd doing it. Once the kids were in school we started to meet some other young parents. Then, sadly, Rog and I went our separate ways and though we have remained Besties! it’s not the same. The kids grew up and school functions ended. Left without anyone to aid me in my socializing, I fell into the life of a homebody. On rare occasions I would go out but it was nearly always awkward and uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to get home. I constantly wanted to know what time it was.
At Janet and Sam’s reception, I didn’t have a clue what time it was most of the time. When Jim and I finally decided to call it a night, I was shocked when we got to the car and I found out it was 1am. I never felt bored or awkward talking to anyone and I am going to credit my new relationship with Jim for getting me get out there and doing the things I want to do again. By wanting him to feel at home, make new friends and be happy, I am also finding I am feeling more at home, making new friends and being happier, too.
Here’s to Janet and Sam whose weekend of peace, love and joy has surely spilled over not just into my life but into the lives of everyone else who shared it with you. Thank you and may your marriage be blessed and joyful!