My household is just emerging from the very interesting experience of hosting a family wedding in mid-July. The process of planning, the joys of selecting and contracting vendors, picking flowers, meals, dresses, invitations, locations, bridal party members, rings, suits, gowns, hotels, officiants, musicians, caterers, and honeymoon locations is quite onerous. This does not even include the official processes for ensuring a legal wedding in Manitoba and the vows and wedding service itself. In an era of “Say Yes to the Dress” and much emphasis on the importance of the special day for the bride and groom, it can all become of a three-ring circus.
We had the unfortunate experience of two major illnesses in the family in the weeks before the wedding that, while completely devastating, somehow forced us to focus on the important parts of gathering to bless a couple as they commit to a life together. We experience joy and sorrow in tandem at times, and perhaps it is necessary for us to fully appreciate the central role of people in our families rather than obsessing about the exact shade of the bridesmaid gown dresses or tablecloths.
We gather the people we love to share in these sacred moments of commitment and joy in establishing household units in the next generation. For those of us of the older generations, we have best wishes for the young couple in their lives together. This, too, is important. What have we learned about the joys of sharing a life with someone that we would also hope to see our young family members experience?
I have identified several items that are important to me and that I hope my daughter and her new husband experience in their marriage.
- I hope that they will truly enjoy the journey of your shared life knowing that the adventures and lessons along the way are the real point of the union, not some perfect destination.
- That they will continue to value the community of friends and family members who will share in their laughter, adventures, board games, and holiday celebrations.
- That they will live their lives with generosity toward others and their community. That they will live well within their financial means so that they always have resources to share with those who are less fortunate and the organizations and causes that are important to creating the kinds of communities in which we want to live.
- That they will genuinely celebrate each other’s successes and share the burdens in difficult times.
- That the special light of kindness and love that so clearly exists between the two individuals on the wedding day will continue to grow and bless their lives for the decades to come.
- That they will protect each other from heart ache and sorrow to the extent that is possible knowing that our time together is short, and we can make a huge difference in the lives of those we love by small daily kindnesses.
A semblance of order is returning to our home in Winnipeg, but memories of a wonderful celebration will be with us for many years to come.
Trudy Schroeder provides project planning and management services to the community through Arts and Heritage Solutions.