It was around age 25 when I realized I would be the last of my friends to get married (rights aside, of course). It was around 26 when I decided I would have a positive attitude about this realization. And it was just last year when I realized as a young adult, it’s okay to gasp, sigh, or throw a hissy-fit each time a wedding invitation drops in my mailbox. At some point in the life of a single young adult, there comes a moment where the thought of flying solo at a wedding is about as desirable as a third-degree sunburn. It becomes about us individually, and that is absolutely okay.
But this past weekend was different. Sure, the initial invitation stirred up my selfish anti-wedding self-projections, however the experience humbled me in more ways than I could have imagined. The wedding commenced at a beautiful old barn in western Michigan, filled with around 100 guests of family and friends. But again, this wedding was different. Aside from the couple’s beautiful dog serving as the rig bearer (yes, literally this happened – it was perfect), there was also no one managing their time or wedding-schedule. This wedding was unfacilitated.
Before sharing vows and commitments to life and love, the bride and groom took a minute to honor and thank those who were standing up with them as a groomsman or bridesmaid. I had never seen this done before, and was instantly in smiles as they each shared stories and love for their friends or family members who were supporting this new institution. Let’s pause there for a moment.
Above, I referenced this wedding to be, “unfacilitated,” and I think this was almost a layer of symbolism for their love, which too exists as unfacilitated. Think about that for a second. How much of our (your) lives (life) are (is) unprogrammed, unscripted, unplanned, or unprovoked? Rare, right? Unfacilitated. This idea is fascinating to me, and I am eager to live a bit more unplanned in the coming year. Unfacilitated. Moving forward…
It is usually post-wedding and minutes into the reception where I cringe in fear for what a drunken Best Man or Maid of Honor might reveal in their remarks (and by “cringe in fear,” I mean, “pull up a seat to the front row and record the action with my phone”). However, again, this wedding was different. As the Best Man began his speech, I was instantly intrigued by his use of “curious” and “authentic” as it related to the couple. Anytime someone mentions curiosity these days, I am most often inspired greatly. This speech was unlike any other Best Man speech I have witnessed.
Just as the happy couple introduced their friendships in the most sincere of ways, the Best Man, too, introduced the couple with the most authenticity and poise I had ever seen at a wedding. So often, we see tearful statements, many of which are coated in inside jokes and confusing stories that are usually inappropriate for 50% of those in attendance (children and older adults, alike). But again, this wedding was different, and this Best Man was different. The Best Man went on to share his belief in the authenticity around this relationship and the relationship he has with the groom. Real friendship. Real human interaction. Again, unfacilitated.
Following the Best Man, the Maid and Man of Honor were equally inspiring. The friendship love-fest ended (prompting me to stop and think, what will my people say about me on my “big” day?), and the Bride and Groom were introduced to share some remarks with friends and family. I was copiously taking notes on my phone (lifelong learner, y’all), and looked up between sentences with the biggest smile on my face. As soon as the remarks concluded, I realized why all of this was so impacting for me. It was (is) about happiness, and finding it through genuine and authentic interaction. These remarks were not about finding something that is rarely achieved or accessed, and rather were about removing the filters and engaging conversation in a truthful and real way. Then, thus, love. And even more so, the couple was encouraging all attendees to cultivate and encourage a community (lifestyle, heart, etc.) of love and respect. I buy into this fully. I buy into this kind of love. I buy into the idea that when we bring our most authentic self to the table, real and powerful things can happen.
Midway through dinner, and nearing the tail end of the evening, I overheard one of the guests say to the groom, “You should go buy a lottery ticket now,” playing up the idea that he really did get lucky to marry such a phenomenal human being. The groom’s response was simple and direct, “It’s a different kind of luck.” Creeping on this conversation and trying to disguise my affirming grunts and gasps, I passed a simple wink on to the guest to share in his reaction. “It’s a different kind of luck.” And it was a different kind of wedding. A different kind of love. I buy into this. I buy into love.
New Goal: No more gasps at wedding invitations and announcements of big life moments. No more sighs of frustration in the celebration of other’s big life moments. And finally, no more skepticism around love. Love love. And love it fully. To the happy couple, thank you for providing a different experience, a different kind of love. In all sincerity, may you live happily ever after.