In my role as a Wedding Celebrant, I have a wonderful opportunity to observe the family and friends who have been chosen to attend. I see the parents, hovering between elation and tears, somehow incredulous that this day has finally come. I watch the siblings, usually simultaneously proud and nervous, joking around in order to stem the tears. Aunties, uncles, grandparents, childhood friends, colleagues….everyone dressed in their finery and honoured to be present. It occurs to me that because of this marriage, two families will have a new bond; relatives will have a chance to spend quality time together; new friendships will be made and old ones rekindled.
Weddings are about love, indeed. Of course, the spotlight is on the love of the couple, who are about to engage in the transformational ritual of a marriage ceremony. But weddings are also about the “back story” of love; all the love that the couple has experienced – together and as individuals — that led up to this wedding day. I am delighted when couples recognize this, and honour it in their wedding. In a recent ceremony, we began with a touching tribute to the parents:
“Like the generation before you, you saw infinite potential in your children and you placed great hope in them. You passed on your values and your principles, which have resulted in them becoming the fine young people we see before us today. You gave them all you had to give, so they would grow up strong and independent, capable of great love and confident about their shared future. Without you, this marriage would not have been possible.”
All of the experiences we have contribute to our understanding of love. Ideally, along the way we have opportunities to learn empathy, compassion, and kindness. Hopefully, we have seen examples of how people can interact with affection, work out their differences, and continue to communicate. Some of us have witnessed, in our elders, the comfort of longstanding love and devotion. From these experiences of love we gain the ability to trust, to believe in the future, and to care for one another; key ingredients when making the commitment to marry. Love is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Celebrant Janis Horne