I have been looking forward to this weekend for months. My friend Julie's son is getting married on Friday night at the Boston Museum of Science, and Steven and I have been invited.
The wedding is at six, so I leave work early in order to make it on time. We were going to take the train, but Julie and her husband David have an early afternoon appointment in Providence and have offered to pick us up before heading back to Boston. Although we leave just before two o'clock, we run into traffic half an hour from our destination. This causes a little distress, since we aren't close to the city yet, but there doesn't seem to be a faster route. We arrive twenty minutes later than we thought we would.
En route, Julie's phone rings. It is the photographer trying to clarify last minute details. Quickly and calmly, Julie helps resolve the photographers' scheduling difficulties, and figures out when and where people and props need to be before we reach our hotel. We offer to help with odds and ends still needing to be done, but Julie and David have things under control, and insist we go to the hotel and get settled before the wedding.
We were planning on staying overnight at my daughter's apartment just outside of Boston, but have been offered a room in the hotel where Julie and her family are staying. After checking in, we drop off our stuff and head off to find the museum. It is a short walk from the hotel, but I want to make a test run before hand to see how long it takes. I am not as fast as I used to be, and I have new shoes for the event. I want to see what I am in for. It turns out not to be too far, close to ten minutes walking time. There is no way I could make it in the heels I brought though, so I plan on wearing other shoes to walk over to the wedding.
Kaileigh meets us at the science museum. She is going to go back to the hotel with us to change. Her partner Josh, is the groom's brother, and is the best man in the wedding. He will be busy with photos and helping to set up, so this works easiest for her. It allows us extra time with my daughter, which is always makes me happy. As we walk out out of the museum and into the heat of the day, I am glad we have someplace close by to get clean and changed before the ceremony.
When we return to the museum, there is a change in the atmosphere of the lobby. It has gone from a bustling interchange of casually dressed couples, families and folks wondering around, to a gathering place of people dressed in their best. The crowd grows as we wait with anticipation to be directed to where the wedding ceremony will take place. Before long, we are led down a stairway and out to a beautiful garden area behind the museum on the Charles River. Under a Victorian style pavilion we pass beneath a colorful hand painted chuppa to find rows of white chairs arranged around a center aisle. Julie has reserved some seats for us with a good view, not too far back from the front.
As the sun is lowering in the sky, the wedding ceremony begins.
Both families have a love of choral music, and a group of close friends and family have become a small choir for the ceremony. The bride's sister, who is the maid of honor, is also the choral director. From the processional, where the bride preceded the groom down the aisle, to the to the recessional, where the gathered friends and family sang the words to Daisy Bell, (Daisy, Daisy give me your answer true!) the ceremony is full of beauty, with heartfelt words of wisdom, harmonious voices and music. There is so much love under the pavillion, between the bride, groom, friends and family, it inspires the setting sun to shine ever more brightly. There are bits of sweet sentiment and humor sprinkled generously throughout the ceremony, and it fills my heart with hope for the wedded couple that all of these things overflow into their everyday life.
As the sun set lower on the Charles River, we gathered for appetizers and refreshments while the bridal party photos were taken. The lighting could not have been more beautiful.
The reception was held under a big tent just past the pavilion where the ceremony took place. The decor was simple, white table cloths, red napkins and Erlenmeyer flasks in the center of each table filled with daisies. The tables were arranged by genres of books, which Ben and Helen had spent months carefully choosing. The idea was that you would choose a book you liked, and sit at that table. Steve chose a book from the philosophy table, and we sat at the non fiction table where the book I wanted was.
At the end of the night we would take the books home as a memento of the wedding. I can only imagine how much fun it must have been to collect all of those books. So much thought went into each one of them, with the hope it would make a someone happy to find it. There were so many of them, that when the festivities were over, some guests could be seem leaving with arms full of books!
The food was delicious. It was served buffet style, and included selections for vegetarians and carnivores. Everything about this wedding was so thoughtful.
I found it so sweet when the bride and groom quietly went off to enjoy their first dance together. Neither of them are people who thrive on the spotlight, so it was fitting they should dance to celebrate their union at a time that felt right for them. I had noticed what was happening, so Steve and I wandered over to watch them dance. I wasn't familiar with the tune, but it was old timey and lovely. Once they were through, they calmly and respectfully cut the cake, with no frosting antics.
After people finished eating and socializing, after toasts were made, and cake enjoyed, the group dancing began. It was during this time I realized the oldies they were playing were songs from my youth, which seemed to me to be a milestone. Of course there were older songs I had considered oldies in my youth, but added to this list was music by Jackson 5, Bay City Rollers, and Simon and Garfunkel. I found it fun that the younger crowd all seemed to know and love these songs. Another sign of my aging; new music I had never heard before. I didn't know I had fallen so far out of the loop of what younger people listened to. It was stunning. It didn't matter though, Steve, Kaileigh, Josh and I all danced the night away, only breaking for the few songs we thought undanceable. As the night wore on, it became obvious to me how little dancing I have done. Undeterred, I boogied on. There was a Polish wedding processional dance, which culminated in a long bridge of people holding their hands up, while people from the line behind passed through. You could lower your arms to capture those you wanted to give a little extra love to. This honored the bride's cultural background. To honor the groom's, we did the Horah, where we lifted the bridal couple up in chairs above the crowd, rising higher and lower with whoops from the crowd. The mother's were also lifted in celebration, laughing and smiling though each lift of their chair.
It was a night filled with laughter and happiness.