This past weekend, I had the honour and privilege of watching my friend of almost twenty years marry her longtime boyfriend. It was a perfect fall day.... We were blanketed by a quilt of greens, yellows and reds. There were horse drawn carriages, wood cabins and vintage string lights hung in the trees. The bride wore her hair down with a flower crown and a flowy white dress — looking beautiful and whimsical as she walked down the aisle, as her train picked up the fall leaves.
But what was most special is the love we got to celebrate. It was clear that this was a couple that already knew each other intimately, a couple that had nurtured their relationship, that had built each other up. It was clear that this was friendship and tenderness, respect and love. In their vows they described domestic bliss, their home and refuge from all the stresses and pressures of the outside world. They described a space where dreams could bud and grow. “Thanks for always keeping me fed and watered,” said the bride in her vows. And this quote: “Life isn’t so scary when you’ve got a best friend,” from Calvin and Hobbes, was used by both the bride and the groom, a coincidence that prompted astonished “Awww”s and chuckles from their wedding guests.
Later in the night, when parents spoke, we heard about the pride they felt for their children, in the kinds of partners they’d become, in the kinds of friends they had around them. They spoke of how, even before the wedding day, they saw their daughter and son in-laws as family. They spoke of family game nights, now dominated by the bride. “She gets her competitiveness from me,” explained the bride’s father in a jocular tone.
Friends — they jokingly spoke of a reluctance to let go, of sharing their childhood friends with a husband or wife. There were jokes about the groom “needing work” at first — a haircut and better clothes — which prompted laughter from those who knew him well. Despite his fashion choices, though, it was the groom’s kindness that always shined through. There were stories about how the groom barely looked up from his phone, a goofy smile plastered on his face after he met his bride-to-be for the first time.
And of course there were so many tears. I myself was overcome with emotion when I approached my friend, the bride, for the first time — when I saw her in her wedding dress. She looked so perfect, just the way I always imagined she would when we dreamed about our weddings as teenagers. And the groom’s sister had tears in her eyes as she watched her brother say his vows. His mother and father did too. I can only imagine what it must be like to watch your brother or son, a man you grew up with, a man you raised, take on the role of a husband.
There’s just something that tells you that this couple will go the distance. Not just because of the love they have for each other, but because of the whole community they’ve built around them — their shared friends and joined families. There’s something that tells you that even before their wedding day, they’d already started to set the foundation of a life together. They’re not going into a relationship with blind hope of what the future could bring — they’ve already given, will continue to give, the best of themselves.
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