I love weddings. At one I've been to, the pastor likened marriage to the triumph of hope over experience. I love how they look back to the past of the couple, how they came to be and are filled with the thought of futures to come.
This weekend's wedding was that of two of my closest friends. They've had their ups and downs like all couples and it was incredibly moving to share their special day with them, hearing family tales and their promises to each other.
They also chose some cracking hymns in the service, and I think I did my dad proud with the singing.
Tom was ushing, and Jess had asked me to do her hair and makeup and the hair of her lively bridesmaids. We trotted up on the Friday, stayed at the reception venue, spent the morning making ourselves useful, and the afternoon and evening celebrating. I found myself pinning on button holes, curling the fringe of the mother of the bride, directing people and then making sure there were people on the dance floor. And it was all an absolute pleasure to do so.
Weddings let me do my favourite of favourite things, see old friends, make new ones, wear fancy clothes, cry a few tears over romantic moments, eat amazing food, and dance the night away.
There was hog roast, and chocolate fountains and 15kg of cheese. It was epic.
I think for me, one of the most touching moments was discussing marriage with married friends whilst at the wedding rehearsal. Steve and I were tagging along with our spouses who had things to do in the service.
Steve said marriage is like standing next to a river. When you first stand next to a river, you hear it all the time. The noise of the flowing water is noticeable to you. But over time, as you stand there, the noise becomes less noticeable, more like background noise. Yet every now and again, something will draw your attention to the river, and you're aware again that it's part of the view, part of what makes this view special and beautiful.
I'm not sure I tell it quite as well as Steve. Jess, Andy, if you're reading this, and get the chance, ask Steve to tell it again. And ask him about why he's not allowed in restaurants too. One will have you in fits of giggles, and leave you with a fear of hollandaise sauce. The other is everything I could hope and pray for your life together.