Last weekend I was asked which was the most memorable wedding that I’ve performed. That was easy to answer: my daughter’s. Although I was mentally prepared for the ceremony, I found myself welled up with many emotions. It was a real switch for me to be the Father-of-the-Bride.
I posted on Weddzilla in April about the legal issues that were being surmounted for my daughter’s wedding in the UK. We arrived in London and, despite jet lag, set immediately out to help our daughter, Alaina, with last minute preparations for both the Church of England legal wedding for May 11 and the hand-fasting commitment ceremony on May 15. We chatted with some vendors, got some last minute supplies and most importantly, found a dress for Sweetheart.
At the Church, I chitchatted with the Vicar before the wedding about performing wedding ceremonies. He was a delightful chap. He was a little taken aback when I told him that I’ve performed over 500 weddings. This was his third wedding and immediately apologized in advance for any mistakes he might make. When I accompanied Alaina down the aisle – I lost the bet – I cried first. I was hit with an unexpected wave of emotion from this simple act that I’ve seen done so many times. Now I know why the parents are in tears when they get to me at the front. It was the symbol of our girl growing up and making her way in the world. It was as it should be – a passage – leaving us for her future. After the ceremony, I approached the Vicar to get the Marriage Certificate. It was funny that he had forgotten to sign it and give it to us.
We made our way to the Isle of Wight where Alaina and her groom, Tallis, had rented a villa for the hand-fasting ceremony. The night before the wedding, I had a father/daughter/future-son-in-law chat. My only advice to them was to not leave a bottle of wine open too long because it will go bad. I did wish them lots of love, hope for the future and happiness together.
I started the ceremony by welcoming everyone as we had all come from afar – traveling by plane, train, automobile and boat to get here. I was not nervous as I read through the ceremony – I was so full of happy emotion that I stammered. Sweetheart read a poem and we got to the hand-fasting. The fabric that we used to bind their hands was, in fact, the hem from Alaina’s dress so that the colors matched. They made six promises to each other. With each promise, I tied a knot in the fabric so that the binding was made. Alaina and Tallis exchanged their own individual vows and we all had tears rolling down our cheeks with the pouring of love these two expressed. Finally, they affectionately kissed to seal their vows.
There was one heck of a good party that followed ‘til the early morning hours. Our daughter has grown up and we are proud of her. Her mate is a fellow I call my son (not in-law) because I love him muchly. In aging, I begin to understand what I read when I was younger. Sweetheart and I recalled a poem by Kahlil Gibran on Children, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.” It is with gladness that we’ve bent the bow to let our living arrows fly.