A perfect day for a wedding. The sky was clear, the weather was warm, with a hint of a breeze. We arrived in our garden party finery; the wedding was to be outdoors, at home. Children greeted us, passing out small bells as wedding favors.
In the yard a large tent was set up and decorated for the ceremony. Next to it a smaller tent, where my husband and a friend were preparing to make music. And right there, beside it all, was an old wooden swing set. Perfect. As grown ups gathered, chatted, and found a seat, children were running, and swinging, and climbing.
Every so often someone would try out a bell, just to see what it sounded like. They weren't all the same. It was fun to hear the different pitches jingling as children ran by. We said hello to friends as they arrived, then found seats. The musicians began to play. Children were gathered in.
Our attention turned to the house as the couple emerged. A Celtic harp processional began and they began to walk towards us. I turned my head to see if my daughter was watching and caught the rarest of rare moments: an unguarded smile. In the world of adolescence, such smiles are precious treasures--almost nonexistent.
The wedding ceremony itself was full of music, poetry, prayer, ad libs, and laughter. This was the first wedding I have attended where I felt that any married couple attending probably went away feeling more married than they had been before. Friends and family were gathered not only to bear witness but to actively participate and bless the union.
And yes, we rang our bells. We rang them in affirmation. We rang them along with the music. We rang them along with applause for the newly married couple, and we rang them just for fun. To say it was a lovely wedding is not enough, but it's really all I know how to say.
At some point on Saturday I asked my husband, "why did they wait so long?" After all, they had been together a long time. There was a pause.
"You know, it's only recently become legal."
And just like that I realized I had already completely forgotten.
May the longtime sun shine on you,
All love surround you.
And the pure light within you
Guide you on your way.
--from an old Irish blessing