A wedding is a joyous event -- the joining of two individuals into an intimate partnership that begins a new chapter in their life together. No two weddings are exactly the same, however, even those that fall on the same date.
Weddings and new marriages are as different as the people they bring together. My parents were wed Oct. 13, 1945, during wartime. Dad was home on a pass, and they had a small church ceremony. They borrowed my mom's dad's car because he had the most left on his gas ration card, and they drove to the North Shore for their short honeymoon. On the trip back to the Cities, they brought an aunt and her son so they could greet their returning soldier husband and father. Dad returned to service, and Mom continued to live with her parents until Dad was discharged.
Tom and I were married Oct. 13, 1998, in a courthouse basement. Our witnesses were a jail guard and a vending machine man. We'd both been married and divorced, and decided to keep this wedding very private. The date was chosen because we were driving home to Minnesota from a friend's wedding in Baltimore. We had time, then, to make a short honeymoon out of the trip home.
My most recent wedding experience was Saturday -- once again Oct. 13 -- as my niece Amy married Corey in the Twin Cities. Amy is the second of my brother's three daughters, and the third to marry. Her sister Kelly got married in June of this year, and some friends and family voiced scheduling concerns with having two weddings in one year. Love doesn't follow an orderly schedule, however. And, of course, ultimately the bride and groom had to pick a date that worked best for them.
Amy and Corey began planning the event after a Feb. 14 engagement. They've been together for the better part of 10 years or more, so the announcement wasn't a tremendous surprise to me. As they narrowed down the actual date, they asked Amy's Grandma and Grandpa for an official OK. After all, Oct. 13 was already Grandma's and Grandpa's anniversary.
Happily, Grandma and Grandpa were honored to share their anniversary with the young couple; it had worked well for them for 56 years. Grandma's only concern came when she learned Corey was a hunter. Grandma remembers spending some early anniversaries alone when Grandpa went duck hunting, and didn't want Amy to experience the same.
One thing that's very different in this new union, compared to Grandma's and Grandpa's experience, is that Corey is bringing a beautiful young daughter to the marriage. Miesha has been crazy in love with Amy for some time and already calls her "mom." The kindergartner's inclusion was the perfect enhancement to the Lutheran ceremony, and the three were joined as a family as they lit the unity candle together.
One summer day, with a little coaxing from Amy to "ask what we talked about," Miesha turned to me and asked, "Will you read in our wedding?" I looked quickly at the bride and groom to make sure I heard the question right, and without further hesitation said that I'd be honored. I was touched not only by the fact they'd asked me to be a part of their wedding, but also because Miesha was thinking about the event as "OUR wedding," not simply her dad's and mom's.
My usual reaction would have been, "No way! Never!" because speaking in public is my least favorite thing in the world to do -- slightly behind destroying an inhabited hornet's nest with my bare hands. But I have spoken before when there has been no way out, and I would gladly have done anything Amy and Corey (and Miesha) asked of me.
Thankfully I did my small part in the wedding without embarrassing Amy and her new family (or myself). Then I was free to enjoy the ceremony and shed (more than) a few tears of joy for the newlyweds.
There was a special celebration at the reception for Austin, my oldest niece Lara's son (and Amy's nephew) as we sang happy birthday to the boy born Oct. 13, 1997. Then Grandma shed a few tears when Grandma and Grandpa were surprised with a special cake honoring their 56th anniversary.
Tom and I, and Amy and Corey have a few years ahead of us before we reach that milestone. We all came together differently, but we all have good days and bad, happy times and sad. We'll go through different situations and struggles, but we'll always have the common bond of sharing the same very special anniversary day.
(Diane McCormack is a correspondent for The Brainerd Dispatch and a freelance writer living in north central Minnesota. Send comments or feedback to email@example.com.)
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