The Grand Occasions of my life are never complete until I’ve written about them. Zack and Addie’s wedding was certainly a Grand Occasion.
Tuesday, June 26, 4:30 p.m. Zack’s family (minus Zack and his best man, Rex) arrived at our home in Oregon. We talked and laughed around our table, the mood buoyant with anticipation. After dinner, we got busy. Di, mother of the groom, measured out bushels of flour for bread dough. John, father of the groom, got his guitar out to practice a song he had composed for the occasion. Reunited sisters and girlfriend set up their camp in a spare bedroom. Brennan, youngest brother, did what he was created to do: shoot hoops.
Wednesday, June 27, 7:10 a.m. The family, coffeed and victualed, loaded into the van. I love the next five words: Di stayed at my house. It was the day to cook, bake, combine, marinate. Her three-ringed binder had all the recipes. We zested lemons, chopped garlic, thickened berries, boiled pasta, cut basil, diced prosciutto, quartered artichokes, blended lime dressing. We did all the prep work that’s doable the day before a dinner for 55 people. And we talked, filling in the back stories of our lives. We sat down once for a think session. When the moon was suspended in the sky, we stopped.
Thursday, June 28, 6:30 a.m. My husband Curt helped us fill every space in our coolers and cars the next morning. With walkie-talkies on the same channel, we embarked on the drive through bedazzling mountain passes. We stopped in Enterprise, Oregon, so Di could hold baby Solomon and to pick up Anna, for whom in twelve hours I would be thanking God about every minute.
Thursday, June 28, 6:15 p.m. Rolls on the table, drinks in the dispensers, salads on the buffet, candles lit, places set: hurry up chicken and be done! Near disasters have been averted; several times Anna, the red-headed wonder, and I have locked eyes over the kitchen work space and said, “What are we going to do?” Addie and I share a hug, the first time we’ve met in person. The dinner looks, smells and tastes delicious. Murmuring voices, ice tinkling in glasses, forks clinking on plates, giggles forming a double helix in the air: these are the sounds of a gloriously good meal. Slideshow, skits, toasts, hugs, tears, smiles, songs. As parents, we labor for years to get to this moment of fruition.
Friday, June 29, 6:30 p.m. You could not pick a more picturesque setting for a wedding: rolling hills, slanting sun, peaceful air, exquisite music. As I am accompanied down the aisle, the usher says, “You need to sit in the family section.” I gulp, awed by the honor. Minutes before the ceremony begins, we are upgraded to the front row! Grateful for the opportunity to imprint the images for dear ones agonizing in their absence, I raise my camera. One by one the ten bridesmaids walk down the lawn in their cobalt blue heels, each one praying that she stays upright.
Friday, June 29, 7:05 p.m. We stand. Wes walks his youngest daughter to her future. I take about 20 pictures of Zack, capturing the sunrise of his smile. This ceremony is invested with meaning, with solemn joy. Bridesmaids wipe their eyes. I’m needing air in my lungs. This is the moment that restricts my throat. The Daddy (as we who have read Mma Ramotswe books say) comes to that moment when all things change. He kisses his darling girl, he shakes the groom’s hand. And he steps back. Exhale. And then Addie’s fingers are linked in Zack’s. Her eyes only strayed from Zack when the pastor was talking directly to her. The homily was like the best-crafted novel. The tone was heavier than most wedding sermons, creating tension. This is all true, but why here? Why now? I wondered. And then Pastor Sumpter began resolving that tension, weaving truth into a magnificent strand, bringing it home with grace.
Friday, June 29, 7:35 p.m. The kiss! Whoa. It began like most kisses begin, but then it changed. He dipped her, tango-style, and that man kissed his wife! Applause breaks forth. The bride and groom stand, facing the guests, irrepressible smiles. They are Married! The slightest pause, before the music begins, signalling a change in the mood. Party On!
Friday, June 29, 8:45 p.m. Dad, dad, granddad, brother, brother, and cousin give toasts that also set this wedding apart from a typical wedding. A poem crafted for the occasion, wise words, funny comments, closing with a prayer from The Book of Common Prayer. Words that widen the moment, another dividend from the huge investment made by both families. After all the glasses have been lifted, we move to the lawn. Darkness has settled down into a comfortable sprawl. Tiki torches punctuate the fence, candles on tables keep winking. The dancing mimics the ceremony, a final reprise. The Daddy and Addie dance, smiling. Zack and Addie dance, singing to each other, encapsulated in their love. Guests join on the dance lawn. With each new song, the volume increases, the arms get higher. No DJ was needed to talk into mikes and direct traffic. At the appointed time, fireworks fill the sky. Zack and Addie run to their car under a canopy of sparklers held by the guests. Oh glorious day!
Photos are on Facebook.