My Bridesmaids (sister-in-law, cousin, Maid of Honor, and two of my sorority sisters)
In the Filipino culture, weddings include sponsors called ninongs (male sponsors) and ninangs (female sponsors). They are considered "godparents" to the couple and serve as witnesses and are supportive throughout the marriage. These are our ninongs and ninangs, with a few missing.
I went to a wedding for a college friend about two weeks ago, and it was a gorgeous outdoor ceremony. I was in love with the bridesmaid dresses and the live band at the reception. Yesterday I went to my sorority big sister's wedding, which was a traditional Muslim ceremony followed by a kick-ass reception with a father-daughter dance that included an adorable performance to Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" (just imagine an elderly Indian man breaking it down - it was too cute, and if my camera didn't die I would've spoiled your imagination with a picture). I have one more wedding next month, and I am looking forward to it because it's for one of my husband's groomsmen who also happens to be a childhood friend (we stopped hanging out in middle school but reconnected through my man. I don't know why but it's kind of weird - in a cool way - that he's a good friend of my husband and ended up in our wedding). The past two weddings prompted me to reminisce about my own day...what I wish I did and what I would have done if I wasn't crunched for time. My wedding probably could not have been any better. I have no regrets. It was a lot of fun (even though I was sober and 5 months pregnant!), and the day was flawless.
We had a beautiful traditional Filipino ceremony, and the reception confirmed that time really does fly when you're having fun, and it was over all too soon. But with all the planning - choosing flowers, finding a gown and bridesmaid dresses, picking songs for the ceremony, blah, blah, blah...the most important part of that special day is the emotions behind it and the meaning of it all...not what colors I chose for the bridal party, not the favors for our guests, not the kind of car we drove in to the reception.
With all of the material aspects of a wedding, it is easy to get lost and forget the true meaning...kind of like forgetting the meaning of Christmas when you're trying to find the perfect gift for someone. When I think about my wedding day, of course I think about how the cake matched the color scheme well and how my bouquet was a perfect last-minute masterpiece created by my mom's friend...but more importantly, I remember what it felt like when my husband smiled at me in front of the altar, when the pastor told us how to keep our marriage strong and God-centered, and when we danced to our song...the feeling of being loved, happy, and excited for our future.
I think about my wedding every day, and those feelings flood back to me, and I believe that's how my marriage will last. We can't forget the meaning of our marriage and why we chose to be together forever - love isn't effortless, it takes work, and sometimes we need inspiration to keep that love going. If married couples felt the way they did on their wedding day every day, perhaps the divorce rate wouldn't be so high. Perhaps people would not feel discouraged to get married. Perhaps people wouldn't feel compelled to cheat or look for love elsewhere.
In Mitch Albom's For One More Day, Posey wrote a note to her son on his wedding day that I find very inspiring. By sharing the quote, maybe I'll be able to help other people remember the reason for being married and wanting to love their spouse every day for the rest of their lives:
"Here is what you are going to find out about marriage: you have to work together. And you have to love three things. You have to love
1) Each other
2) Your children (When you have some. Hint! Hint!)
3) Your marriage
What I mean by that last one is, there may be times that you fight, and sometimes you and Catherine won't even like each other. But those are the times you have to love your marriage. It's like a third party. Look at your wedding photos. Look at any memories you've made. And if you believe those memories, they will pull you back together."