A New Perspective
11/03/2009 1:54 PM
12/02/2009 1:15 PM
I look at weddings differently these days.
Growing up, I remember my parents saying to my brother and me that we wouldn’t truly appreciate our things until we had to buy them ourselves. Maybe that’s true for weddings, too: The experience is a little different once you’ve planned your own. I’ve 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. I’ve 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 wasn’t 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 father’s, 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, I’ll 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 everyone’s sake.)
Or maybe it’s simply part of growing up. Maybe, like anything, a wedding means a little more once you’ve gone through the process – and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Join the Discussion
Charlotte Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.