We’ve all attended the traditional “walk down the aisle-exchange of vows-maybe attend the reception” wedding. This one was a bit different, thank goodness! I didn’t know what to expect, but when I do a wedding for one of my children, I hope that they do something like this!
The Walk Down the Yellow Brick Road– I arrived at the church early so that I could get a good seat, though I wasn’t sure how many people would actually be attending. I’m sure glad that I did! I didn’t realize that the bride was also from the area, so the place was packed by the time it started. I entered from the side and never noticed the aisle until I saw someone that I knew across the pews on the other side of the room. The couple had chosen a yellow mat for the bride’s walk to the front of the church where my acquaintance (friend) would be waiting. Sure enough, when it was time for her entrance, the three bridesmaids and groomsmen began to softly sing “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” Of course, they changed some of the lyrics. The Wizard was now “the minister.” I was so enthralled by the moment that I really didn’t listen to the rest of the lyrics; the bride and her father came down the aisle slowly skipping to the music. She was dressed in white, but it was the yellow sneakers that stood out for me. Guess they were a substitute for the ruby slippers.
The Backstory Before the Vows– By the time the bride made it to the “altar,” a flower-covered trellis under which the couple and the groom’s minister father stood, the guests had quieted their soft giggling and amused laughter. I expected the normal reading by the minister followed by the vows, etc. Nope, this was different. The minister began to tell the story of how his son and his soon-to-be-daughter-in-law met, in Haiti on a mission trip a year earlier. They hadn’t known each other before that trip to give of themselves to others. Over that two week period, they worked side by side, felt a magnetic pull towards each other, and spent their evenings on the roof of the building where they were housed with the others in their group. By the last evening, my friend had finally gotten up the courage to ask her for a date when they returned home. That was a big deal for him because he was rather shy, having been home-schooled and a freshman in college. They discovered that they were at the same small college and had even had a class together. Naturally, when they returned, one thing led to another, which ended with the proposal and the wedding. I had known almost none of that story. It was so wonderful to hear how two people had met, something that most people at a wedding never really know. It made me feel closer to them, part of the “inner circle.”
After the “I Do’s”– As the newly married couple walked back up the aisle to gather for the reception line, I figured that it was time to go. I didn’t know many of the people there and wasn’t too interested in standing around with a small plate of stale cookies and a cup of punch in my hands while the family shook hands and accepted the standard congratulatory hugs. I did my “lovely wedding, thanks for inviting me,” bit and started to leave, when the mother of the groom, one of the few that I did know, directed me to a room adjacent to the “church” part of the building. I smiled and decided it was the polite thing to do, so I headed down the hall. Along the way, I was met by several people who were handing out small containers of “bubbles,” along with little sticks to dip in the bubbles so that everyone could “blow bubbles” instead of throwing rice or bird seed. Pretty cool!
It’s Time to PARTY!– Once I made it into the room, it turned out to be a multi-purpose area where picnic tables and a buffet line had been set up in half of it. The family and close friends had made their gift to the couple the food and “entertainment” for the reception. In the other half of the room were games! Hop scotch, ping pong, basketball free throws, bean bag toss, and several other games were arranged so that adults, not just the kids, could have fun, play, enjoy themselves. I’d never seen anything like this! Once the couple had completed their reception line duties, they joined in eating and playing games.
What a FUN wedding!– It was more like going on a picnic than a wedding reception. I had a blast! Instead of being there for the standard 30-45 minutes, most of the people stayed for nearly two hours. The couple finally left for their “weekend honeymoon,” but instead of leaving, the guests, me included, continued for a bit longer before joining in to help clean up the place. What a great time, such a wonderful experience. If their life is anything like their wedding, it will be awesome.
I have been to a number of weddings in my life, including my own and my oldest daughter, but this was the first time that I not only felt a connection with the newlyweds emotionally but had a great time too. Everyone should take a few lessons from this one. Make your wedding fun, not just a ceremony. Think of the guests and how they will remember the day. Will it be the expensive flowers and a band and catered meals, or will it be a truly family gathering with fun and games to enjoy? Use your imagination to create an atmosphere of fun and memories! I plan to do that next time I’m in charge. This was undoubtedly the BEST wedding that I’ve ever attended.