Christmas Weddings

Many people in my family were married in December– Kurt and I, my parents, Kurt’s parents, my sister Tina and Jeff.  None of that springtime flowery stuff for us (with Kurt’s allergies, that would have been a fiasco).  Last evening, Kurt and I went to Max and Sarah’s wedding.  Max is the younger son of my longtime close friend Linda.  I’ve mentioned before that I met Linda through Girl Scouts, and we reconnected again when we were both accepted to the same all-girls’ high school.  Max and Sarah are both Naval Academy grads and currently enrolled in flight school in Pensacola.  They pushed their wedding to December because Max’s older brother Andrew is deploying to Afghanistan early next year, and the date happened to coincide with Linda’s anniversary.  Between her PhD dissertation, her job and planning the wedding, I’m not sure how Linda made it through the last few months…

The wedding and reception were at the new National Marine Corps Museum at Quantico.  The chapel with its glass walls was a spectacular setting; you felt like you were outdoors (but warm!) and as the sun set, you could see the skeletal silhouettes of leafless trees all around you.  It was stunning.

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I always cry at weddings when the bride and groom exchange their vows.  I cried at my own wedding when I said mine to Kurt.  I can’t help it; it’s so intensely personal and emotional, either proclaiming yourself or witnessing someone else announce to the world the intention to be with that one person forever.   As the two spoke to each other, flashbacks of Linda and her husband Mark’s wedding, so many years ago, brought tears to my eyes.   I almost lost it completely when, moments later, Kurt reached across to take my hand in his– an affirmation of our own pledges to each other a dozen years ago.  I never seem to have any tissues around when the tears start flowing…

It was a short walk from the chapel to the museum.  We were so impressed with the facility and how the exhibits were staged that we plan to go back with Ken and spend more time there (for more information on the museum, click here).  While the bridal party was with the photographer, the rest of us were sipping wine, accepting offers of hors d’oeuvres from friendly servers and ambling about the museum exhibits.  We noticed there was a photo booth set up with a table laden with silly accessories– this was going to be a really fun reception!

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Kurt and I were seated with the other ladies from high school– Katherine, Jacki and Katherine’s twin sister Aileen.  All I can say is that the hilarity factor increases 100-fold when there is that level of familiarity among the people seated at a wedding table.  None of that formal politeness or restraint because there are just no secrets with people who have known you for more than 35 years…

Max and Sarah are swing dance aficionados and part of the reception included a short lesson to learn the steps to the Lindy hop.  Seriously?  My husband does not like to dance– he says he’s a “worse-than-white-boy-dancer.”  The best I can get out of him is a slow dance.  It’s a flaw I can live with since I have no qualms about going out on the dance floor with my girlfriends.  So we watched Jacki, John and Katherine bop around on the floor; they were actually getting it by the end.  At one point Linda’s husband Mark joined us, asking us why we weren’t out on the dance floor; I responded with my usual “Kurt does the worse-than-white-boy dance.”  Mark just laughed, saying “You haven’t seen anything yet.  Have another drink.”  We did eventually make it out to the dance floor– when it was a S-L-O-W song.  I, of course, hopped out with Linda and Jacki when I heard the “Cupid Shuffle;” even though I didn’t know the line dance, it looked pretty easy.  Alas, I’m really out of shape and should probably stick to slow dances– at least for now!

All in all, it was a beautiful wedding and fun reception.  But how could it not be– a handsome young couple about to start their new life together, surrounded by their family and friends.  We, the Old Guard, toasted their union and wished them well on their journey!

Congratulations, Max and Sarah!  Fly high together!

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