As a married woman, I think the world's best date night is attending someone else's wedding. There is romance, you're surrounded by good mutual friends of the bride or groom, you get fed, and you can dance the night away. You don't have to stress about the color of the table linens or worry about the seating chart. All you have to do is show up.
I'm not saying that being a bride wasn't fun. Because it was. But it was also a load of stress. The ridiculous details that cause you to lose sleep while planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Being a wedding guest is like re-living your own wedding day and leaving the planning to someone else. So maybe it's actually like being a groom. Because when you're a groom, the wedding plans itself. HA!
Hubby and I attended a wedding of an old Army friend this weekend. The bride served 14 months in Iraq with my husband and their Military Police unit. Whenever this squad gets together, it's always a good time and this wedding was no exception. The venue was lovely, the bride was beautiful, the guests were fun and enthusiastic about their love for the happy couple. There was an adorable flower girl, a precious ring bearer, and wedding colors to match the couple's favorite MLB team, the Oakland A's. There were tears and laughter and sappy speeches and hours of dancing and sake bombs. All the makings of a good wedding.
As we get older, our wedding date-nights have become more infrequent. Most of our friends are married off now, so we don't often have the opportunity to spend the evening basking in the glow of a couple's new beginning. So each wedding we attend feels a little more special. A little bit sacred. A small moment for us to pause and reflect on the happy union of our friends and our own marriage.
I savored the quiet moment when the bride and groom exchanged their vows, taking the opportunity to remind myself that we too were once that couple. We too stood in front of family and friends and boldly pledged to make this union work. We put on our best clothes, threw a big party and celebrated all that was good in our life together. Sometimes it's easy to forget that.
As we watched the bride and groom share their first dance together, there was a notable pause in the room. The conversations quieted. People stopped to watch. Couples took a deep breath and leaned in closer to their significant other. I wanted to bottle the magic in that room and take it home with me so I could open it up and breathe it in on the hard days.
Much like you can't fully explain childbirth to someone who has never
experienced it, it's difficult to describe marriage to someone who
hasn't lived it. To understand something in your head is so different from knowing it through your own experiences. How do you describe the process of molding two lives together into one family? It's such an awesome, unexpected, frustrating, joyful, exhausting experience that there is no way to know it without living it.
When we attend a wedding now I feel a greater appreciation for my own marriage and the road we have traveled. I am reminded that married life is not all piles of laundry and bickering over the thermostat. There is always a little bit of fairy tale magic in each happily ever after.
Congratulations, Josh and Shannon! And thanks for throwing a great party.