Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturdays Are For Weddings: In Words and Photos

A wedding is a funny thing. You get engaged. You expect an immediate whirlwind of Things You Must Do. But the time really moves so slowly. There's only so much you can tackle, because there is a timeline for many of these tasks and jumping the gun isn't necessarily in your favor. The days plod along and, for lack of anything else to do, in this information age, you (well, "you" if you're me, anyway) fill the time by looking at wedding blogs. Photography and inspiration and occasional questionnaires where the brides give the same trite wisdom and a few shopping details. I remember feeling a combination of excited, overwhelmed, mildly concerned (by the process, not the decision), and curious.

Then time takes on some crazy warp speed characteristics. You seem to be transported from "a year is plenty of time" to "what do you mean the wedding is in ten days?!" in an absolute instant. Suddenly, it's go time. Table numbers and place cards and centerpieces (oh my!) dance in your dreams. When you actually sleep. And like a snowball rolling downhill in a cartoon, it picks up size and momentum, carrying you along with so many arms and legs sticking out the sides and a shout that is somewhere between "wheeeeee!" and "aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!"

As part of my thank-you speech to our guests, I said, "I don't think there is a little girl out there who didn't dress up and pretend to be a bride at least once. We get this image in our heads of princesses and fairy tales. And somehow it all magically falls into place. We don't think about what it takes to make all these details come together. And then we grow up. Life teaches us some lessons, some less pleasant than others, about reality. You start to think maybe it won't happen, you won't get there. Until the day that you're standing here, in a room like this, filled with people who want nothing more than to celebrate your fairy tale with you. And I have to tell you, it's nothing like what I pictured in my little girl mind. It is so much better. And it is so much better because I know what goes into making a day like this happen. ...A wedding can happen anywhere and at any time but it can only be a true celebration when all the people you love are there to share it with you."

Even as I composed the words, weeks in advance, I didn't know how it would feel to be standing there, not really. There I was, in the dress, with the guy, our shiny new rings and our shiny new promises. And it was all so...surreal. There's just so much build-up and so much commotion. Everyone wants a piece of the bride. There were so many camera flashes, I didn't even know where to look. And yet, the whole time, I knew right where my groom was. The calm in the center of the crazy. The whole day was perfect and in the back of my mind, a voice pleading with me to stop and remember, don't miss committing to memory how this all feels. But I wasn't sure that I had.

Just recently, I was wandering aimlessly online again, browsing some of my favorite photographers' blogs, when I came across a group of wedding photos, for the first time post-wedding. That's when I knew I had succeeded in retaining the true emotions and essence of our wedding day. As I looked into the faces of these people I don't know, surrounded by details that were nothing like our details, I wasn't seeing them through the wistful eyes of a girl hoping "one day," or the hungry eyes of a girl, newly engaged and in the throes of wedding plans, hunting for inspiration. I saw through the photos instead, with warmth and understanding, tenderness and joy, recalling how it felt to live those moments of my own. I could see it all with a clarity that startled me, because it had felt like the whole day whipped past me in a blur, the hands on the clock unwinding the hours like Father Time gone mad. But with each photo I saw of someone else, it was how my own moments felt that played out in my head.

I've been asked, many times over, how it "feels to be married now," and the answer is, really, it feels no different. In many ways, that's true. We have a good relationship, a strong one. We communicate well. We laugh often. We respect one another's quirks and independence. The dynamic between us has always just been easy and comfortable. None of that has changed, nor would I want it to. What *has* changed--and I didn't really expect it--is that I can be whisked right back to that day, to how I felt, without warning, and it's like floating on a cloud. Once again, I am the princess, *his* princess, and the world is golden and warm. I know exactly how it felt to take his hand, to hear his voice, to whisper something in his ear that makes him laugh--things I do nearly every day--but they are captured, these essences of us, in the snapshots of this specific day, and I glow inwardly in a way I never expected. And while it's about that day, it isn't really. And it's something I haven't been able to put into words over these last four weeks. But when I look at any photos, from any wedding, I feel it all in my heart: remembering a day that was a perfect microcosm of who we are and how we treat each other, a day like every other, and yet like no other, because for those few hours and a lot of fanfare, we let the rest of the world in on the secret of who we are as the two of us.

A wedding is a funny thing, because even with the very obvious changes the day brings, if your foundation is sure and solid, nothing changes at all. You, as a couple, are both who you were and who you promise to be, which is the same, only with a declaration that is both public and intensely personal. Something old, something new...indeed.

1 with their own thoughts:

penuttpie Friday, January 04, 2013 3:40:00 PM  

There's not much else to say other than that. <3

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