Sunday, 6 September 2015

With This Ring

Weddings have a magic that is all their own, and so it should be whether promises are made in front of a crowd, a smaller more casual gathering or in intimate privacy. My daughter was married yesterday, in front of a small group of family and friends, outdoors, in the beautiful backyard at the home of the groom’s parents.

I was late arriving at the beach where pictures were to be taken before the ceremony, though it was not so much a case of my being late as that the picture taking was completed quickly due to the heat. When I arrived at the house, after detouring by the lake, my daughter was inside, and everybody seemed to be in a bit of a flap.

What wedding is complete if there isn’t some last minute emergency? 

In this case, it was blood stains on the wedding dress. Apparently, as the story goes, (I did miss the beach activity after all), the groom was clearing a spot for photos and cut his hand on a dried blade of wild grass. Unaware he was bleeding (reminds me of my father and his obscure accidents) he put his arm behind the bride for a photo and got blood on the back of her dress.

I had taken a seat on the deck when I arrived at the house and was informed of what had happened. Use hydrogen peroxide, I told them, as it works particularly well on blood stains. I’m an old nurse and I know these things. It seemed to do the trick and all was well.

So, finally, the wedding was to begin. As the music played, three of the couple’s combined four children led the procession, followed by my daughter’s oldest girl and her friend, acting as wedding attendants with the groom’s two brothers. It was very much a family affair.

But, as things go, there was a bit of a delay, as we all waited for the bride to make her appearance. She was to exit the house, cross the deck, and make her way to the grassy area where everyone waited. It was enough of a delay that the groom’s grandmother, sitting front and center on the deck, called out to him, “maybe she changed her mind”. Everyone laughed and almost immediately the blushing bride appeared, on the arm of her brother.

I looked at two of my son’s children sitting to my right, and at the youngest of my daughter’s kids standing at the front, and thought how sad it was that their grandfather hadn’t lived long enough to meet them, and to share in this day with his daughter. The oldest two grandchildren he did have the chance to love, though for too short a time, are teenagers now. It brought tears to my eyes to see my son stand in his place.

Vows were spoken and rings exchanged. I glanced about the guests, and noticed that other couples seemed to draw together, to stand in pairs, almost separate from the group. It was as if they wanted to share that moment, not only with the bride and groom, but with each other. That’s part of the magic of the day, new promises made and the comfort of old promises kept over time.

A second ceremony, called a Unity Sand Ceremony was conducted involving the bride and groom and their four children. It was lovely to see as each poured sand from their individual containers into one final glass jar to display the layers representing the new family.

With all the official details over and done, it was time to eat, drink and be merry. 

The party that is their life together is just beginning.

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