A New Perspective
By Kirsten Valle
Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 03, 2009
Photo by Critsey Rowe
Kirsten Valle is a business reporter for the Observer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more "Getting to 'I do.'"
I look at weddings differently these days.Growing up, I remember my parents saying to my brother and me that we wouldnt truly appreciate our things until we had to buy them ourselves. Maybe thats true for weddings, too: The experience is a little different once youve planned your own.
Ive been to a seemingly endless reel of weddings over the years, partly due to the fact that my parents have a combined total of 13 siblings, and as a result, I have a sprawling network of aunts and uncles and cousins. For a while, it seemed as if there was a family wedding every few months. And now, Reese and I are at the age where all of our friends are getting married, meaning at least a handful of weddings each year.
Ive always enjoyed weddings. At first it was about the food and dancing and chance to dress up, but in recent years, I began to fully understand and appreciate the meaning behind the party. I always get a little teary-eyed when the crowd stands and the church doors open, and the bride begins her long, smiling walk down the aisle. That, too, has become a little more meaningful lately, as my friends have become those brides.
But everything seemed different at a wedding earlier this fall my first since I became a bride-to-be myself. The hours before the ceremony unfolded as usual: excitement about a new dress, followed by the typical stressing out as I realized I wasnt going to be ready on time, following by piling sheepishly into the car still dabbing on makeup as Reese waited patiently.Then, as we rolled up to the country club and settled into our seats on one of the prettiest evenings for an outdoor wedding, I began to feel something else: nerves. I wondered what the bride was thinking in these moments before her wedding. What would I be thinking?
As the groom walked to the altar, grinning, I felt chills. What would Reese look like, walking into the church for our wedding? Then the bride appeared, arm linked through her fathers, wiping away tears as the music started. I always cry at weddings, but this was worse than usual.
This continued as the ceremony wrapped up and the guests filed inside for the cocktail hour. All the details the lovely, muted colors of the flowers, the tiny candles on the tables, the signature drink and the elaborate appetizers mattered to me a little more. I made mental notes about the bridesmaid bouquets and the cake table. I snapped pictures of the centerpieces. I tucked the program in my purse.For the first time, I noticed all the little things that go into a wedding. I felt that familiar wave of panic could we really pull off something so complicated? And then relief: People do it all the time, with spectacular results. Maybe this new perspective I have on weddings is fleeting. Maybe after a few more weddings as a bride-to-be, Ill have gotten over the larger-than-life emotions and meticulous mental note-taking. Maybe all this thinking will make it a little easier to walk down the aisle in July without becoming a tear-streaked mess. (At least I hope, for everyones sake.) Or maybe its simply part of growing up. Maybe, like anything, a wedding means a little more once youve gone through the process and maybe thats not such a bad thing.
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