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This is the archive for December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

I just got back from the nicest wedding I've ever seen. It was in a Mennonite church, but the couple designed the ceremony themselves.

It was a very informal affair, in a very informal setting - a small, simple room. Prior to the service, a pianist and two violinists played classical music - I recognized a Mozart piece among them. Then the groom played the processional himself on his guitar, his own composition. Many friends and family got up to read meaningful passages, then they did some traditional ceremonial things, said their vows, and in about a half an hour it was all over. The reception was a nice buffet style meal, in the same room, with no pre-planned seating arrangements. There was no hired band, no dancing, and no liquor, just a bunch of nice, happy people sitting around chatting, playing board games, and taking turns congratulating and toasting the couple.

It sounds like a very hippie affair - one of those "alternative" weddings that became all the rage in the 60's. But it really wasn't. It was just a very personal, very intimate and very meaningful ceremony. 50 or so people sat in folding chairs in a semi-circle around a small area on the floor covered in white cloth and lined with trellised rosebushes, and even the oldest and most conservative looking among them seemed very pleased with the whole thing.

What struck me was how it was about them, and about the people they chose to share it with. Catholic weddings I've been to end up being all about ceremony, and about the church, with the happy couple and wedding party little more than props, actors playing a role that had been defined for them centuries before. They almost seem designed to keep everyone at arm's length from the meaning of what is happening. This was the first wedding I've been to that I felt part of, felt connected to the couple and their happiness.

It was a great way to spend New Years Eve, and great of them to make these special New Year's resolutions in this way. I've been friends with the groom for some time now, and have gotten to know his new wife a little bit over the year or so they've been together. They're both good, decent people, and they seem really right together. Kevin and Dianna, you both looked very simply and plainly happy tonight, and I hope the rest of your days are as happy as today was.

Congratulations.