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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.



As Kyle's SO, I was, of course, at the mentioned wedding. The niftiest thing I observed during the evening was not focused on the union, but had to do with Kevin, the groom. Probably half of us attended as "friends of the groom", although most of us had met Dianna over the last year. When one guy proposed a toast to his best friend, it occurred to me that had I given the toast, it would have been to my best friend. Had Susan given the toast, she would have said the same. Had Chad given the toast, the same. And so on.
I asked Susan if she considered Kevin one of her 2 or 3 best friends as I do. "Of course!" I mentioned that Kevin being the person he is, I suspected most of his friends in the room would claim the same.
(Okay, now I'm blogging - pardon me, Kyle, for hijacking!)
What is it about one young man (30 y/o) who could inspire such love among his friends? Kevin is a rather shy, soft-spoken guy and portly in appearance - a geek in a tie-dyed t-shirt.
Kevin is not the person who often calls to get together for lunch - I suspect his other friends, like I do, make the call first to him. He's not the "slap you on the back" type who says, "you're looking good". He doesn't "do good for others" in the classic sense. He doesn't agree with you to keep things easy-going.
Kevin IS a good guy in the best sense of good. He's honest, consistent, bright, polite and did I say honest?! This man demonstrates integrity in living his life according to his values (values nearly like mine).
Integrity must be the characteristic that has garnered so many best friends for him! (That and his genuine interest and attention to you when you're with him!)
Dianna - as I write this, you've been his wife for about 17 hours. I hope that you are truly his #1 best friend and you, his! Thank you and Kevin for letting me share in your celebration and providing me an opportunity to reflect upon why I love "my best friend". May your life together be based on integrity!

Posted by sally at Sunday, January 01, 2006 11:12 AM

A wedding on New Year's Eve without liquor? I am extremely impressed. Congratulations on having a meaningful get-together.

Posted by Ahmed at Saturday, January 07, 2006 12:59 AM

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