In October I helped my friend Janelle celebrate her wedding. I like phrasing it as such because it was a true celebration of our happiness for two people falling in love and committing to each other.
Second marriages usually come after the pain of a first marriage ending or the pain of losing a spouse. Pain that I would never wish on anyone. But they can also bring hope and new life that is truly wonderful to witness.
I’m 30 years old. I’m super blessed to have a great group of friends and even luckier when I get to spend time with them. Most of them are older than me. Enough years older that they are often surprised that we are friends. I’m not. I’ve always gotten along with those who are older than me. Partly because growing up I looked older (side affect of being crazy tall I suppose) and I figured I should act the part. But I’ve also realized the benefit that comes with experience.
There are so many benefits of getting older. That night as we were sweeping up after Matt and Janelle’s celebration confirmed this for me.
The era of life when most of my friends and I were getting married was fun and innocent, also full of comparisons and insecurities. You’d show up to a wedding after spending great care about how you look, concerned who you’re seen with, glancing around comparing it to your own wedding, or adamantly professing to everyone (including yourself) how glad you are you aren’t married yet!
I reflected how different this evening was for all of us. The bride was more concerned about those attending enjoying themselves than herself. (As the self-appointed wedding planner I took a little convincing that a blow up slide and cotton candy trumped centerpieces and wedding cake.) My husband Luke had spent the day building a photo booth with me, gathering and transporting every serving dish we could find and happily setting up tables because he wanted a nice evening for Matt and Janelle. Our friends showed up with smiles from ear to ear as their gifts and asked how they could help. Many of their husbands had never met the bride but spent the entire evening warming hot chocolate and bussing tables because they knew how much she meant to their wives. Guests stayed longer than I’ve ever seen at a wedding reception because of the wonderful spirit of gratitude and excitement in the air (the limbo line didn’t hurt either). We laughed as smeared cookies on their windows and tied cans to their getaway minivan, so excited for where that road would lead. We waved goodbye, they both thanked us profusely, family assured them they’d take care of their nine (yes 9!) children while they honeymooned in Europe, and we all hugged each other when they were gone. It’s a beautiful thing when you can be truly happy for someone else’s happiness.
I went home more content and appreciative of my life and my marriage, and especially for the gift of good, real friends and the happiness and the rounding out of ourselves that comes with time.
And so it is, genuine. May we all be it, may we appreciate it when it finds us.
I think my Instagrams do a pretty good job documenting our celebrations: