In the year 2000, our family grew by four members when my younger daughter married a fine man who came equipped with three children. It grew again yesterday when his 19-year-old daughter married a fine young man of her own.
The bride was beautiful. Her braces came off earlier in the week and her smile was radiant. The groom, an Ethan Hawke lookalike, looked great in his white tuxedo. The bride’s younger sister was one of the bridesmaids, and she looked prettier and more grown-up than I’ve ever seen her. The bride's brother, home on military leave for the occasion, was as handsome in a tux as he is in his uniform. The parents of the bride and groom were also dressed formally. They were suitably elegant to attend a gala event at the White House instead of a wedding in a small southern town.
The wedding was held in a large church, one large enough to have a really good audio-visual system. A hidden camera focused on the the bride and groom during the proceedings, projecting their faces onto large screens and letting us see close-up the subtle nuances of their expressions as they exchanged vows. Their love and their joy were evident.
The bride and groom both make church a huge part of their lives, way more than I ever have. As part of their commitment to their religion and to each other, they opted for a covenant marriage, which requires counseling before marriage and makes divorce more difficult to obtain. The church’s online wedding policies state: “No changes to the vows will be allowed.”
I must admit that one tiny part of the vows rankled my inner feminist. The words for the bride and groom were mostly the same, except that where he promised “to be faithful to her,” she promised “to serve him.” “Serving him” wasn’t in the wedding vows I took in 1961 (or again in 1968), but it was the societal mindset then, so it might as well have been. Unfortunately, it was also a concept that slowly eroded my self-esteem. I’m hoping that a 21st century bride can serve her husband without losing sight of her own worth.
Weddings always make me cry, no matter how much I tell myself ahead of time it won’t happen again. This time it was the faces of the bride’s parents-–two sets of them--that brought on happy tears. Their eyes showed so much love for their daughter on this day she’d always dreamed of...so much hope for her future.
Their faces reflected feelings I remember well, feelings of my own during a special wedding ceremony in the year 2000.