I love a love story. Don’t you? I’ll take almost any kind. The love of a dog, a sister, a child, a mother. But there is a little something extra special about a love story that ends in a wedding.
I’m convinced I’m not alone. This weekend I had two weddings to attend, both of them my cousin’s – one hindu and the other western. They were utterly different in style, colour, noise, formality, food, decor and location. And yet…
Watching people at a wedding is a bit like watching children at a magic show. Their jaws go a little slack, their eyes doe-like. They don’t notice other people noticing them. All eyes fixed forward. They gaze at the bride as if she is a religious vision. They stare at her hair, run their eyes over her dress, the silk and the lace, oh-the-lace!, spy the little white tips of her shoes and then quickly back up to her face. The dark lashes, the pink cheeks, the small, elegant, smile. She’s looking at him now. They follow the love passing between them and feel a heart-swell inside their chests. It’s almost too private to watch. Look, she adores him. They press their fingers to their mouths or look at the floor so as not to cry.
When Matt and I got married people I have known for years suddenly seemed shy speaking with me, The Bride. I couldn’t stop kissing Matt, my jaw ached from smiling, I barely ate and time slipped right through my fingers. People paused mid-stride in the street and tried to sneak a peek into the wedding car. I felt like a rockstar. I’ve never before or since felt so full up, so beautiful, so radiant with joy. The rush.
As the wedding guests watch the happy couple they think of the person they love. They turn to them. They remember the first moments. The perfect and true ones. When it was all so simple and love conquered all. Disagreements dissolve, worries subside. Like a tide retreating from the shore and all that is left is that wonderful, glittery, golden sand. The pure stuff.
And in those moments I wonder if it’s the wedding I love or the emotion in the people who are there. There is a certain something about a wedding, isn’t there? It doesn’t even matter if you know what is going on. During the Sri Lankan ceremony the priest was speaking in sanskrit. I had no idea what he was saying and neither did eighty per cent of the guests, Sri Lankan or otherwise. But his voice shivered on through the bones nonetheless. The couple stepped around a fire seven times; each one to represent a blessing for a strong union (including sharing in joys and sorrows, growing together in strength and being lifelong friends). Drums were beaten, petals were thrown, whoops went up from the crowd. We watched the love pass between them and we sighed to one another.
Oh yes, we do love a love story.
Hugs, Hannah x