The mother of the bride leaned over to me on the dance floor “It seems not to long ago we were dancing at each other’s weddings.” Her smiling comment echoed my thoughts completely. It was as if she put a book mark in the chapter of life I’m experiencing right now — wedding season.
My husband and I have attended 4 weddings recently, and we have another still on the horizon. And I have been thinking how these happy events have reflected the different eras of my life. Maybe you have had the same type of wedding party timeframes.
The first weddings we often attend are those of older relatives when we are ourselves just kids.
Those 20-something cousins or perhaps even siblings seem so grown up,and well old, when they walk down the aisle. And we sit and watch in our new scratchy clothes a little bored and yet entranced with what even then we realized was a big deal. My first time as a wedding guest was a sweet scene in the brides living room. The room was dressed in white flowers on the mantle and the stairway bannister. And when the bride entered the room down those stairs, in a 60’s style white min-dress to marry a young uncle, I thought it was just perfect. The dress, the flowers the room crowded with family. Sandwiches and punch were served afterward.
A few years later at another family wedding I experienced my first church wedding with a reception afterward with a BAND! Wow! Party! Dancing! In a new dress and wearing my first heels and nylons, I felt very mature dancing with 2nd and third cousins I had only just met.
Living in a small rural community I attended several weddings of older friends who married at what now seems an almost shockingly young age. Brides and grooms just 18 or 19 taking the step right out of high school. At this point for me my wedding attendance really multiplied as I made extra money for college singing or playing for wedding ceremonies. I developed a reputation as one not only able
to sing the wedding songs brides favored but I was also generally helpful and unusually adept at defusing little wedding disasters. Especially calming down young flower girls and ring bearers who had locked themselves into bathrooms and such.
College graduations came and with them more weddings to attend. This was the first big wave of my peers and close friends tying the knot. Those days were filled with visions of pastel dresses and caravans of friends on the wedding tour. Definitely, one of the most fun rites of passage.
And then I myself was married and working and being a grown up when the next wedding stage occurred. I was invited to the wedding of the daughter of a co- worker. So now I became one of
“those” guests. One the bride or groom would not recognize in a lineup. When I realized my role, I truly felt like a grow up. ( and couldn’t help wondering if at the family meeting to put the guest list together had the bridal couple said. “Who’s she? And do we have to invite her?”
The years pass, a wedding here or there, late nuptials,a much younger cousin or sometimes a second marriage. The parties are fewer and further between.
Which brings me back to that comment on the dance floor. It did seem like just a moment ago I watched the bride’s mother walk down the aisle. And I can’t help but think of all that has rushed by in these 30 odd years. The children of the brides and grooms of my past are inviting me to their weddings. They are the children in the pictures of my son’s first birthday. The dressed up cherubs at my daughter’s christening. The groom in the elegant New York skyline backed wedding is my godson, whose mother only allowed her mother and I to baby sit him. I remain dry eyed and smiling through the beautiful ceremony and dinner. Until he dances with his mother and my eyes unexpectedly fill. Where did the time go?
Yes, we danced at each other’s weddings. I never knew that a wedding would be such a marker for not only the couple marrying, but for all the guests as well.
Weddings really do join people together, and not just bride and groom or two families. I am connected, and so are you, to all those couples trading I dos, whom we have witnessed. I have gone from a little girl big eyed at the beautiful bride, to bridesmaid, to bride, to anonymous guest, to honored to be there guest. I may not be up front singing the “Wedding Song” but back here in the pew near the aisle, I’m enjoying the day and the flowers and the wedding. Taking it all in with gratitude and love. I’m just say’n.