I have never been a bridesmaid. I have been involved in a great number of weddings but I always find myself at the piano or being asked to sing. So I don't have a closet full of seafoam green dresses to laugh about, instead I have accumulated a binder full of interesting and outright confusing wedding song choices. Looking back I think the song that gave me the most pause was one from a movie where the couple ended up killing themselves. The song was pretty, but really, think about how that love story ended!
I have been at weddings where members of the bridal party have fainted and one where the candles tipped over causing quite a commotion. At one wedding the pastor forgot to get the couple to say their vows, while at another the ceremony got started so late I thought I would develop calluses from all the prelude music I had to play.
There will be 158,000 weddings in Canada this year with the average event costing $23,000. Many will cost a lot more--and many a lot less--but wedding costs have climbed 20% in the last four years. We have likely all been to large, extravagant weddings in huge churches and fancy hotels, as well as to smaller, simpler gatherings held in parks or backyards. Some families have agreed to take on significant debt loads to pay for weddings while others have decided to set small spending limits. In the end, is there a difference?
People will marvel at the venue, the flowers and the dresses and there will be a ton of pictures to bring back memories, but it doesn't determine the "'til death do us part" equation of the relationship. All the lace, satin, buttons and bows in the world won't hold the marriage together. Nor will fancy window dressing in our homes, designer shoes on our feet, or upgraded finishes in our kitchen sustain those marriages years later.
As couples get married they have dreams and goals they will work toward together. But amidst all the preparations are so many things they can't possibly anticipate and things that can't be planned for--both amazing and arduous. I didn't know the anxiety I would feel when my husband and I signed our first mortgage papers. I couldn't possibly have imagined the joy on my children's faces as they walked in the ocean for the first time. I wouldn't have wanted to be sitting beside anyone other than the man I married when the news in the doctor's office wasn't what I expected.
Not everyone desires to get married. Not every marriage goes as hoped. But hopefully we all have someone who brings care, comfort and conversation into our lives--someone who makes the ordinary extraordinary--someone who helps break down the impossible into little chunks of possible. Maybe it's a spouse, a child, a cousin, a friendthe person who delights with us at the blessings, and journeys with us through the pain.
It is so wonderful to get together and create beautiful moments to celebrate special occasions but we need to remember that each day spent with people we love is worthy of celebration. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on floral arrangements, but how about sending a bouquet to someone just to say "I love you." You may not think your cooking skills are gourmet-quality but inviting someone over to share a meal lets them know they are important to you. And fancy speeches may not be your thing but how about a few simple words"I am so thankful you are in my life."
Whatever relationship is most important to you in the stage of life you are in right now--cherish it. Express your gratitude that no matter how rocky the waters get, you have someone who, maybe despite some seasickness or seafood green dress, is going to stick it out with you. Vow to make today a promise of "thankfully ever after." That's my outlook.