Yesterday I had the great pleasure of watching my two friends, Kevin and Michelle, as they joined together in marriage. This is likely the last wedding for our group for awhile, since we've all visited the altar at least once.
Weddings are always magical, emotional times (particularly when you are not the bride and trying to co-ordinate the fifty billion different details). No matter how cynical and practical a person you are, there is something beautiful and transformative in a wedding.
Kevin is known more for his ready wit than his sentimental leanings but I have never seen him look so happy and incredulous as when his bride walked into the ceremony. He wore the widest grin I have ever seen on him and the light in his eyes found its match in Michelle's radiance.
Her dress was beautiful, like layers of creamy satin confectionary. It just seemed to pour from the bodice like a fountain. She floated across the floor with all the grace and aplomb of the princesses of centuries ago.
The ceremony was short but poignant. There were no wasted words or long-winded lectures. The vows were simple but heart-felt, an affirmation of what already was rather than a hopeful promise. In some ways, the ceremony seemed almost superfluous because it was difficult to imagine how they could be any more in love or any more committed to each other than they were at that moment.
Our group of friends has been together for almost twenty years now and still see each other regularly. As Kevin commented, we have seen each other through the best and worst of our lives and the bond is still strong. However, despite the trappings of maturity such as homes and children and responsibilities, we have maintained our childlike glee. Especially when we get together. The years vanish in a twinkling and we are once more giggling adolescents with all the world at our feet.
This time we indulged our boomerang-like waves of immaturity by tossing coins in a fountain. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Until you realize that this was a tiered fountain rising up through a gap in the floor. And we were on the top floor. And we don't have very good aim.
So we sent pennies and nickels pelting down onto the floor below, much to the amusement of the children who were waiting by the fountain. And drawing some very odd looks from their supervising adults. Especially when we were collapsed against the railings with laughter-induced tears running down our faces.
The staff kept offering us canapes. Privately, I'm convinced it was a discreet and subtle tactic to discourage us since canapes disappeared when we ran out of coins.
The meal was excellent and punctuated with much laughter and reminiscences. I'm still unsure how Andrew acquired the evening's nickname of "Snowflake" but it was certainly brought up frequently. I came in for my fair share of mocking for being a little too desperate in my request for butter for my bread. (Can't wait too long or the bread cools and the butter won't melt. It's my theory and I'm sticking to it.)
We all had a challenge with the elegant course of strawberry ice served between courses. All of us are much more at home with pop and pizza than multi-course meals. The scoop of sherbet was served in a tall champagne flute with a small amount of soda water and sugar crystals around the edge. We all stared, unsure if we were supposed to use a spoon or drink it. Luckily Andrew's wife, Evy, possesses more sophistication than any of us could dream of and she guided us through.
After the meal came the speeches with many congratulations to the happy couple. And then came my favourite part of any wedding. The dancing.
I love dancing, although my enthusiasm outstrips my talent by a fair margin. There were many classic favourites of our group, Spirit of the West's Home for a Rest and the Village People's YMCA. Over the years, we've developed our own choreography and never hesitate to share it.
There were touching moments. Kevin and Michelle's first dance was lovely, although I have my suspicions that he may have been trying to maneuver to minimize photos of him. Andrew and Evy got a chance to prove that their ballroom lessons have stuck with them. And even my husband was dragged onto the floor to participate in ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man. I was reminded of my boys with the second dance, What a Wonderful World, which is one of the songs I sing to Nathan before bedtime.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening full of friends, love and laughter.
And yes, my stockings were melted by the end.