I didn’t like weddings for a long time.
This was born out of several things, in retrospect: The fact that most of them were familial obligation, teenage angst, being of ages where I didn’t like dressing up, not knowing who was getting married, and on at least one occasion, a reception that dragged on painfully because someone decided an open mike was a good idea.
(PS: A couple of those weddings are why I strongly, strongly recommend against opening the mike up for speeches at a reception when I’m MCing. Either it’s tumbleweeds and silence, or the floodgates open up, and you just lose control. Being described as a “control freak” just adds another layer to that cake.)
It’s been a different experience, however, when it’s someone I’ve known really well, someone I feel strongly for. Someone that I’m not obligated to love, but actually DO love, in some way. When it’s people I know. I’m invested. I’m interested. And I actually keep track of the proceedings (more so if I’m in the wedding party or MCing, but this isn’t about that, so let’s move on).
I haven’t seen cousin Phil (well, Philip, but I’ve always shortened it) in a long while, but it was great to be able to go to his wedding, and meet his soon-to-be wife. When Dennis and I made our trips to Nova Scotia, it was seeing him and his sister and his family that was the highlight of our trips. Doing actual fun stuff, with him being our age and having similar interests. I recall he, Dennis and I being confused for brothers on more than one occasion- not surprising, given our similar body types and looks, though his glasses separated it for a while until Dennis and I got bespectacled.
I remember hide-and-seek in his living room (where Dennis and I would sleep, and became a warzone whenever we were over), chasing Kate around with water guns (she kind of got the short end, being forced to hang out with us), trying an Xbox 360 at his place, walking back up the steps of his basement and seeing just HOW FAR these fancy wireless controllers would work from, him introducing us to the Civilization series (much to his and his computer’s peril), poker games with pennies, trips to beaches, and he and Dennis talking about the board game Diplomacy, while I mused at just how well he would fit in with us, and the people we know. Through it all, he was gracious and welcoming and thoughtful, rarely complaining as we terrorized his house regularly every couple of summers as we grew up, visiting from places afar.
I felt that way several times on the trip in Mexico, meeting Lisa (his wife-to-be), and the wedding party, who were all friends- GOOD friends, all of them paired off with each other, which you don’t always see. The chemistry and easy exchange was something I admired, and something I realize I take for granted with some of the friends I’ve had, as I’ve seen the life changes that have happened to us in our 20s, as we move into different stages of our life.
I think It’s seeing those positive steps and being happy for my friends and family taking them that has allowed me to appreciate weddings more, and what they represent. Going to Mexico and spending a week at a beach was a nice bonus.
Is it right that it means more now, seeing friends do it? Did I miss something in grumbling through them for years? Perhaps. But I believe I appreciate it more for having come by it organically, naturally, as with a lot of things in life.
Congratulations, Phil and Lisa.