Last night, my husband and I went to a wedding.

It was a beautiful event, with hundreds of candles and flowers and smiles. Women were dressed in their best, perfectly coiffed and impressive while the men were dapper and pressed, standing tall in their ‘good’ suits.  There were not any children at this evening affair so I could hear the string quartet and lose myself in the perfection of their sound.

I sat next to my husband, knowing my children were safe and happy at my mother – in – laws house, and thought back to our wedding day.

It was a wedding hard fought for.  Having moved it four days before its original happening to allow for Hurricane Rita, we truly though the day would never come.  But it was worth the wait.  Taking place on a beautiful November afternoon, the sun shining, and God giving us both peace as the doors opened and I headed towards my Groom.

I turned my head now and saw the young, tanned, smiling bridesmaid’s head down the aisle.  There were 8 at this wedding, dressing in flowing, strapless, pink gowns, rustling softly as they passed…  one by one.

The doors closed in preparation for the Bride and I looked up to the altar at the Groom.  I recognized the glint in his eye of anticipation, the deep breath to stifle the nerves, and the wringing of the hands in anxious adrenaline.  I looked up at my husband and saw him watching him too.  No doubt traveling back in time, recalling his own decade standing at the altar, waiting for the doors to open and me to emerge.

The music started, loud and booming, announcing in great fan fare that indeed, the Bride was being presented.  Automatic smiles appeared even before she did, and handkerchiefs were drawn from pockets to dab damp eyes.  I briefly felt that same butterfly escape from my belly as it had just a little over 5 years ago.

My husband took my hand.

It felt good to know we were in the same place.

As I watched the ceremony, I compared it to mine every step of the way. I understood the Bride’s desire to laugh with unabashed glee. I knew the Groom was lost in her eyes, her beauty, her fragility.  And that they were both where they wanted to be at the exact same time.

It dawned on me, sometime between the vows and the kiss, that this is why weddings matter.  Not necessarily just for the Bride and Groom but for the spectator.  The audience as a participant as if we are all up at that altar.

The single people are probably silently dreaming of what it would be like if it were them.  The dating couples might be wondering if the one they are with is the one they will have and hold forever, and the engaged couples are possibly comparing what they are planning to what they are watching.

And the married couples, from one year to 65, are reliving the day that changed their lives.  The day that started their family, whether it be dogs, or children, or another passion they united and created.  Remembering every feeling, every smile, every hope that they thought they had forgotten.  That had gotten pushed aside and buried in diapers and bills, stress and fights.

And so I thought, as my husband and I walked out arm and arm just as the newly married couple had done a moment ago, this is what wedding are about.  Taking people back to what started it all and reminding them of the sweet, innocent love that joined them to begin with.

The beautiful, pure, elegant reminder that it all started with “i do”.