After last weekend's family wedding, I decided that a 'successful' wedding is very much like a 'successful' painting. All the proper parts are there, carefully selected for their particular contributions, yet when things go awry, as they often do in the church or the studio, few need to know about struggles, mishaps or changes in the plan. It's the results that count.
Like his sister earlier in the summer, my nephew wanted his wedding to be very personal. Like his sister, he and his bride chose a place which has had a long time family connection. Like his sister, they planned for the simplicity of a very old place of worship in the country (a place I've mentioned before.) Like his sister, he asked if I would 'direct' the day.
I came prepared with my lists. What time everything needed to occur. When everyone needed to arrive. Who would be seated when and where. What the order of the processional and recessional would be. What not to do (don't chew gum, turn off cell phones, don't jingle change in your pockets.) The minister gave a few instructions, we rehearsed and we were ready!
The next day, I dressed in black as did the bridesmaids, wrapped my favorite pink scarf -- an impulse purchase in France last year -- around my shoulders and slipped on my bright pink Crocs. I walked from my little house in the bright fall air (a glorious day), tucked my 'real' shoes on a back pew, gave last minute instructions to the groomsmen, stopped to check on the bride's attendants to see that dressing was going well (lovely), hugged my favorite flower girl (the little red-head, of course), and headed across the grounds (the reason for the Crocs) to the open air, rustic tabernacle . Things were going well -- predictably well.
It was then that I realized that the musician was not present; she showed up just as I wondered how much wedding music I could remember how to play. The mothers' corsages would not stay on with the magnets supplied; I raced to the nearby reception hall to retrieve some straight pins. As I signaled for the first bridesmaid to begin the processional, I realized I had not sent the groomsmen down; I signaled to them after half the girls were in place hoping no one would notice. The flower girls and the ring bearer were perfect until they started down the white aisle runner toward the altar; all three stopped in their tracks with puckering faces and I gave up as they raced toward their mothers.
Finally, everyone was in place except the bride who had begun her processional with her father under an orange and gold canopy of crepe myrtle trees. I turned and spotted her as she floated through the sun and shadows of the old trees and the wind lifted her veil. I knew my job was finished and I took my place among the guests in my 'good' shoes.
A memorable wedding.
An unforgettable painting.
They happen when All the Proper Parts are in place and are sprinkled with an unexplainable and unique magic.