Most of the time in recent years that I have gone to a wedding there has been a great deal of haste involved with it. There are a variety of reasons for this, which include not leaving enough time to deal with unexpectedly heavy traffic over longish distances on Sunday afternoons when the weddings have generally been held . The wedding I attended yesterday did not have that same sense of haste, at least as far as my travel was concerned. It has not been very common for me to attend the weddings of widows and widowers–which is what this wedding was–and in comparison to those who are marrying for the first time, it can be said that when one has had decades of being accustomed to living with someone and then experiences the loneliness of going without that comfort and intimacy then there can be a great deal of desire to get rid of that unwanted loneliness through finding someone else who similarly has both a high regard for the state of marriage, decades of experience in being a good husband or wife, and a similar desire to banish those feelings of loneliness. If I cannot empathize with such feelings because of my total lack of experience with the state of marriage, I can certainly at least intellectually understand them.
One of the benefits of being around wedding preparations and being a shrewd observer of ceremony in general is the way that one can see the logistics of such events. The afternoon and evening before the wedding found me at the place of the wedding and reception (a separate reception will take place next Sabbath in Portland for those who were unable to make the trip) and there I was able to see the rehearsal and the way that issues of timing and sequence are dealt with and where people have various assignments and roles in order to keep everything going well. As it happens, one of the more enjoyable aspects of the rehearsal ended up taking place at the wedding ceremony itself, and that was the leaping and skipping of the bride and groom down the aisle after they were pronounced as husband and wife by our pastor, who was one of many who had made the trip up. As quite a lot of people decided to stay for the wedding and reception things were rather crowded, although that did not hinder the eating, as the food for both the rehearsal dinner and the reception itself was tasty and enjoyable.
It is always interesting as well to view the context in which such a wedding occurs. As the groom is a deacon in our congregation and the bride the widow of a longtime elder in the congregation where the wedding was held, it is no surprise at all that for church services yesterday both of the pastors who were present gave split sermons that dealt with the subject of marriage. Both approached the subject in different ways, but both sought to use the opportunity of a wedding to give insight to brethren about the biblical material on marriage that exists. Given my own singlehood, I tend to speak rarely and tentatively on the subject of marriage but it is certainly important to have the subject addressed. And given what I have seen of the bride and groom together it does appear that our dinners will have a bit of liveliness that they have lacked since the death of the groom’s first wife, who was nothing if not a very witty and lively woman herself. As is always the case when it comes to weddings in general, marriages are entered into with hope, not only the hopes of the bride and groom themselves, but also the hope of their friends and families who wish to encourage the happiness of the parties involved.
Often it is the little details that are the most intriguing to me. In the course of my observations I noticed that the relatives of the bride appeared to be rather ill-at-ease in their formal attire, not being as used to wearing such things, and not having the same degree of modesty in their attire, that the rest of us were accustomed to. Likewise, it is always interesting to see the people who are enlisted to help out with various tasks, be it moving tables or greeting people or helping to seat people or take care of little ones. The logistics of social events–food and speaking and the order of operations and communication of important details, is a subject that interests me greatly even if it seems not to interest too many other people. But such matters interest me in general anyway, so it is perhaps unsurprising that they should interest me in specific cases, I suppose.
 See, for example: