We were very excited. I was about 10, and one of my cousins was getting married. Not only were we allowed to attend, it meant we’d be up well past bedtime. While my sister and I had been flower girls at another cousin’s wedding, we hadn’t been allowed to stay.
As family, we sat near the first row. We were escorted down the aisle by the suit clad ushers. A white cloth had been put down the center aisle. I didn’t know why, but it was impressive. I could smell bayberry candles. It’s a scent that I have always loved and associate with two things…weddings and Christmas.
When the wedding started, I could see my cousin (the groom) standing at the altar. A little girl, carrying a basket, came down the aisle sprinkling flower petals. When she reached the front, the wedding march began to play.
Next came the bride’s maids and the maid of honor. Some of them were relatives on our side of the family and some from hers. I recognized some and wondered at their brightly colored dresses.
After all of them assembled at the front, the bride started down the aisle. She had on the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen. The lacy veil hid her face and she carried a bouquet of flowers. I knew then and there I wanted a dress just like it.
Because I was so young, I really don’t recall the service itself. It couldn’t have taken long, because none of us got scolded for getting antsy. I do remember the photographer and all of the different pictures that were taken.
There were many things that have made this particular wedding stand out. I’ve been to many since, some were more elaborate, some less. One of them, of course, was my own.
I think the thing that centers this in my mind as the best wedding is because I was too young to understand what exactly it means to be married. I’m not talking about the “behind closed doors” part.
Being married is a lot more than the wedding itself. The real work starts then. The squabbles and the joys, getting used to each other’s habits and all of the things that make a marriage work. What made this one special was the innocent joy of seeing two people unite in holy matrimony.