It was quite a nuptial-filled early Autumn for my partner and I…three weddings in the past few weeks, and all pretty different, and at the same time, all very similar. One was on a wind swept dune in a centuries old non denominational church, one at a relatively new Presbyterian church with lots of light and a fabulous organ, and one this past weekend in a picturesque setting of rolling farm lands in the hills of Western New York. I’m one of those people who likes to arrive early to hear every note of the prelude music. These past few weeks I’ve been treated to everything from “Meditation from Thais”, to “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, and “A Gaelic Blessing”.
Flower girls and ring bearers of course always threaten to steal the show….(one little guy was towed up the aisle in a wagon by his two slightly older brothers), and the women were all encouraged to wear hats at the “country wedding”…and the millinery absolutely rivaled a royal wedding.
We all teared up when we stood for the processionals, and again when the couples took their vows, during the toasts, and here and there during the readings and the homilies. Seeing three couples so much in love, looking as happy as people seem capable of being, and promising their loyalty to one another until the day they die…just kinda grabs ya.
The only thing that was different about the three weddings that we were graciously invited to in the last few weeks was that this past weekend’s vows were taken by two men. After 20 years together they were finally able to legally marry at their farm in New York. Now lest we forget that these guys are able to leap out of their tuxedo’s after an Opera Gala in the city and into their work boots and overalls to work at the farm in the blink of an eye, the wedding was as elegant as their love has always been. The couple who were married on the ocean dune were off to India, and the other couple is back to the grind in a classroom and on the road as a sales rep. The guys are probably either planting trees or off on the Queen Mary.
Nobody was treated as a second class citizen at these weddings…but as people who publicly want to celebrate the ideals of mutuality and companionship and intimacy and fidelity. Having their families and friends show their support, their pride, and bestow their blessings on these couples are the gifts that we all gave so joyously to these beautiful people. All three of these weddings were conducted by religious leaders, obviously an important part of the commitments for each of the couples. When the ministers asked ” Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?”….the resounding response of “WE WILL !” is still ringing in my ears. Some day I hope to hear it rolling off the dunes on Long Island…through the hills of Pennsylvania…all the way to the sunny Pacific. Those two little words are much more powerful than I ever knew.