I didn’t get a chance to write this post Saturday to wrap up the month of “beauty” because I spent most of the day helping one of my closest high school friends get ready for her wedding and then helping her celebrate. .. And that’s kind of perfect because there are few things in life with more concentration of beauty than weddings. Weddings take a lot of crap, and sometimes with some good reasons since the “wedding industry” can certainly be absurd and there are some potentially problematic signals it sends to people whose vocation may not be marriage, but allow me for a second to gush about why I believe weddings are kind of amazing and all sorts of beautiful.
I have been to many weddings in the past ten years. (I’ve been IN many weddings in the last ten years…) and I won’t lie, I sometimes wondered, especially when I was in school and taking on debt while not making any money, if the expense of travel and already short supplied time were worth it. Before I experienced my own wedding I wondered if the bride and groom in all the excitement of becoming husband and wife would really even remember who was there. But they do. And you remember if you were there too. I can hands down say that every road trip, terrible plane ride, and penny were worth it to help support the unions of people I love. And I still remember the weddings I didn’t make, and feel good knowing it was unavoidable and not for temporary reasons like money. I remember who was at my wedding.
Who I danced with, moments when I caught their eye during our ceremony and saw their smiles, how it felt to see their hands extended in blessing and prayer. I remember who couldn’t be there and the love they sent and how much I know they wanted to share the day.
There are a lot of pretty things that may or may not be part of a wedding: the venue, the flowers, the dress, the details. But there’s a lot of deeper beauty too. The reason couples look so beautiful on their wedding day? It’s not the expensive clothes or professional makeup (though those are nice too) but the joy and confidence they feel. But let’s get to the most beautiful part:
About a week before my wedding, someone told me to make sure I take a moment that day to look around and realizing that this is probably the single day of my life where the most people that love me and that I love will all be in the same room. It’s an amazing thing. I’ve talked about that with as many people as I can since then because it never ceases to astonish me when I think that all the different periods of my life were represented in one little church in Virginia. These are not just the people who will love you, they are your community and the people who will be there with you to support your marriage, to pray for you, to turn to in those times where your commitment gets hard and you have to remind yourself that you vowed for better or for worse. In that way, it’s kind of a big responsibility to attend a wedding at all, right?
There’s another reason I think weddings are so beautiful- it’s the same reason I think we socially rally around birthdays and baby showers: it’s a day dedicated to celebrating life. There’s a lot of ugliness in the world. There’s a lot of death. Choosing to celebrate life, choosing to forge your life in a way that hopefully puts others first and becomes a life affirming relationship is a hugely brave and beautiful thing to do.
It’s a new month- March- and we are in the thick of lent so expect some more religiously related reflections (don’t worry, the baking will definitely continue) as this month’s theme is Believe. So I’ll bridge last month and this month with this Facebook post I rediscovered recently:
“Looking at this emotional roller coaster of a weekend-a funeral, a wedding, a bachelorette celebration, and now Memorial Day- I am reassured that communal events are at the heart of a blessed life.”
I believe that beauty is found in community and that we are the body of Christ. And I believe that when we come together to celebrate life, grace rains down in abundance.