By the time you've reached forty something, it's a rare thing to attend the first-time wedding of one of your contemporaries - but to do so is a huge delight.
Earlier this year I wrote about the rather special Baptism of D, an old friend who was preparing for his wedding. Saturday saw The Wedding itself - and it would be hard to imagine a more love and joy-filled celebration. D's bride is Greek, so the service was in the Orthodox Cathedral of S. Sophia in London, and the rite itself was full of majesty, mystery and delight. It was surprisingly easy to feel engaged, despite having virtually no idea what was being said and done most of the time - the liturgy is replete with a sense of awe-struck wonder which rubs off onto the congregation, though I can't imagine how my faith journey would have looked had I been raised in a church where so much remains veiled and distant, the soul and the senses engaged but the mind left to make its own connections.
I loved the moment when we were invited to shower bride and groom with rose petals, symbolising the blessings we were praying down upon them, as they walked together around the Holy Table...I found it both moving and helpful to have a physical outlet for all those emotions that cluster around a wedding service - and to see the petals lying there afterwards, visible prayers for a bright future. D has had some tough times along the way, and I've worried, poured gin and generally tried to make things better ever since we left university, so it was wonderful to see him lit up with happiness.
The reception was held at the Pump House Museum, an amazing place stuffed with the ephemera of the past 100 years...it was like finding yourself inside the very best sort of vintage shop, with leisure to browse and explanations available for everything. Mind you, it was a teeny bit disconcerting to find that the iron that I remember my mother using till I was at least 10 counted as a museum piece...but amid the excitements of the evening this reminder of the passage of time felt pretty unimportant really! So we ate, we talked, we danced and we rejoiced...
D and V, be very happy my friends