A few weeks ago we received the following email from some friends of ours (who attended our wedding more than a year and half ago with three daughters in tow). Their eight year old was recently asked to write about a "wedding experience" and this is what she had to say:
"One of my dad's friends had the best wedding I have ever been to. My friend Olivia also came. We got one free toy each from a basket. We played house under tables. Also we danced crazy by the elevators and danced with the bride . We all got to ring bells when the bride and groom left. I had so much fun. We still see them sometimes like last night at a football game. The bride's hair is red and she looked so pretty. She is also so nice.""Way to make a lasting impression!" our friend added below.
I love that. And while it was definitely our intention to have a kid-friendly wedding (and I think our "lasting impression" has something to do with that) I also think there's a whole lot more to it than that. A wedding is intended to be more than just a ceremony, more than just a celebration. It's also a mystery, and a holy union, and it invites us to a deeper love, and it calls us to a higher place. It's both a picture and a promise. And I think she was responding, mostly, to that.
People tell you that you will barely remember your wedding. That it goes by in such a blur. But I remember our wedding. Not the whole day, in its entirety, but there are moments, perfectly preserved moments, that I remember with absolute clarity. Keith's face as I came toward him down the aisle. My daddy's kiss on my cheek. Tears in my mother's eyes. I remember hugs and congratulations. Beaming smiles. Dancing. And dancing. And dancing. Glances and touches. Whispers. Shouts. Words. Beloved faces. There are so many moments that stand out to me.
And I remember, most of all, the feeling. The feeling I had all day and well into the night. It was too strong to say it was mere giddiness. Too sweet to call it just excitement. Too boisterous to consider it only gladness. Would it be overreaching to describe it as transcendent? No, I don't think so. I think it was absolutely transcendent. A kind of transcendent joy that I'd only experienced in hints and murmurs before. And I was completely consumed by it, lit from within, on fire with it.
It was a perfect night. Do all bride's feel like their weddings are perfect? Maybe. Probably. I hope so. Ours truly was, in every way. There was nothing out of place. Nothing wasted. Every word, every face, every step, every touch was destined, ordained, blessed. It was like something from a fairy tale- the good and true kind of fairytale, where there is so much at stake, but the hero is brave and strong, and love is triumphant. It was magical and beautiful and thrilling and real.
We didn't have a professional video made, but we do have the ceremony's audio recorded. It came up on my iPod yesterday and I was reminded again just how perfect- how right and true and good -each word was for us. I relived that transcendent feeling. I remembered how this life can be, is meant to be, full of Grace and Truth. And I remembered, in the words of Frederick Buechner (words we used in our wedding ceremony), "that here and there even in our world and now and then even in ourselves, we catch glimpses of a New Creation, which, fleeting as those glimpses are apt to be, give us hope both for this life and for whatever life may await us later on."