At one point or another, we’ve all been gathered here today to bear witness to two people being joined in holy matrimony. For many of us, we’ll remember our 20s and 30s as those times we spent living between attending weddings on the weekends. This past weekend, I had the honor of being in the bridal party of the weddings of one of my best friends from college. To show what this particular wedding weekend was like, allow me to guide you through scenes from a wedding from my point of view.
Imagine: you get a phone call from one of your college roommates, and just like you discussed a couple nights before college graduation, he asks you to be a groomsman in his wedding. A couple weeks later you receive your invitation in the mail to the wedding at a yacht club in New Jersey, promising a celebration replete with both black tie attire and fist-pumping. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
You meet up with the other two of your college roommates and hug them tightly. You’re getting older, and the time that passes between each time you see them grows longer and longer with every visit. These weddings give you the much-needed time to catch up and be with each other. You’ve already got siblings, but these guys are just as much your family.
You try on your tuxedo. It will look perfect on the groom, but with your slicked back hair and permanently pale, profoundly white skin you look like Annie Lennox in drag with MC Hammer pants. No one’s going to be looking at you, though; the bride is a knock out. Your pants stay on with the help of suspenders and a prayer.
You cup a lovely bridesmaid by her elbow and escort her up the aisle. You’ve done this before, but never as the guest of honor. That won’t be happening without some significant efforts by state legislature.
You stand in a row of tuxedoed men on the terrace overlooking a lake, and in front of you, wedding guests eagerly await the bride’s arrival. The clouds obscure the sunset, but that doesn’t matter. The bride and groom’s eyes lock, and everything glows. Will they be best friends, lovers and partners in crime for life? They will. All is full of love.
You see friends of yours from college wander amongst the crowds at the cocktail hour. They’re heavier versions of their college selves with a few more wrinkles, but they carry with them more wisdom and life experience now. Some have spouses and some have children. You fondly recall late nights drinking and laughing with them. You wish that life were that easy again sometimes. You try not to do the math and figure that you met some of these people over 15 years ago. Your heart is warmed.
You watch the bride and groom dance their first dance, a choreographed number to a Bon Jovi song. You’re not that religious but you’re struck by the lyric in the song that says, “Only God could know the reason, but I bet he must have had a plan.” You watch the groom’s mom melt into his arms during their dance before she later tells you that it’s the best night of her life.
You take the dance floor with your handsome boyfriend who cleans up nicely, and nobody even gives you a second look. You have a hard time deciding who leads, and he steps all over your rented shoes. Your first college roommate texts you from feet away and says he hopes you can experience a wedding of your own some day. You choke up and hope no one sees.
You wonder if it will ever happen for you. You wonder who would ever want to keep anyone from celebrating this wonderful experience.