If I were a cynical person, I might huff that a wedding is a wedding is a wedding. You go to a stuffy place of worship, hear the same tired vows, then sit through bland speeches and an even blander supper. I might say that I used to love both 1Corinthians 13 and chicken breast, but as a repeated wedding mixture over the years, that they're starting to lose their appeal.
But when D and I attended my good friend Jarrett's wedding in Montreal last week, my jaded, easily-bored self remembered why I just can't be cynical where weddings are concerned.
The ceremony took place on the East end of the city, at a Unitarian church. I've never been to a Unitarian church, much less a Unitarian wedding, and I was impressed with its non-dogmatic approach. I liked the way Unitarians are able to find compatibility between spirituality and science, even if I still believe in a triune God.
The pianist played a full 30 minutes of classical music exquisitely on the church's grand piano before the ceremony. The rich sound echoed through the small, high-ceilinged building. The music sounded fresh - not snobby, the way classical music can sometimes come across at a formal event - and was an interesting complement to the young cousins who came bashfully down the aisle to place white calla lillies in an old maple syrup pail at the front of the church.
The entire wedding party sat in chairs on a small platform facing the congregation - an arrangement I'd never seen before. It felt very personal, as you could make eye contact with the bride and groom from time to time. Two friends of the couple read a gorgeous poem - one read it in French and the other translated in English - and a cousin of the bride sang a Pete Seeger song. The vows had a lot to do with respecting one another's individuality and support for one another's dreams - no nonesense about loving and obeying. It was a beautiful moment.
The bride's dress was quite simple, but when you looked closer at it, you could see little golden rosebuds embroidered all over the skirt. When I told Cynthia how much I liked the details, she said that her female friends and relatives had come over one night and each woman had sewn on a bud.
She and Jarrett looked so happy. I've never seen a calmer, more relaxed groom than Jarrett that night. It does my heart good to know he's found the perfect partner.
But the best part was the reception. Held at what was once a 1920's cabaret called Le Lion D'Or, the party was classy, sophisticated and a whale of a good time. I loved the live jazz quintet that played all the oldies - Jarrett is a sucker for old-fashioned music - the delicious supper, the crisp, cold glasses of Blanche, trading wit with my two old friends (now PhDs) I've known since Kindergarten but haven't seen in ages. D and I danced nearly every song together. Nothing like a wedding to remind you how good it is to be in love.