Recently my daughter got married, always a seminal event for a father, especially whose only daughter it is.
They chose to get married in a context different to the prior norm. A spiritual rather than religious ceremony, followed by a do-it-yourself celebration, both on an island. The former being a non-religious ceremony immaterial to a self-confessed agnostic father, the latter just seeming like a lot of hard work.
The island context being they had to organise everything themselves. That the island was accessible over a bridge at least avoided the scenario of boat and ferry transport, however the amount of work undertaken was major.
The island provides the houses and chalets for accommodation as well as idyllic areas and buildings for the different ceremonies and celebrations. After that it was pretty much, here are the keys, go and get on with it.
From setting up the tables and ceremony buildings for the occasion – which included the bride and bridesmaids folding a hundred napkins, and the groom and groomsmen ironing lines of bunting – to getting everyone set up in chalets, the night before the wedding, the morning of the wedding, during the wedding, and the tidy up after the wedding, the bride and groom took on a whole lot of work that seemed on the face of it, best to avoid.
It was not until shortly afterwards that it became clear that this added context may actually have played a major part in the enjoyment and experience of this occasion.
You had the Bride and Groom working together in a very coordinated and well-planned manner. You had the maids and the men (apologies for all the connotations that this presents) pitching in together to ensure that everything was set up perfectly for the bride and groom, you had the parents and siblings working together to ensure that their son, daughter, sibling, had the Holy Grail of a wedding.
And the Holy Grail of a wedding it was. The togetherness that this context presented was something to behold. The spillover of this “working together” was tangible in the way that everyone enjoyed the celebrations…, “together”. The wedding ceremony was a wonderous product of the wedding couple – probably more for the people that attended and contributed, then the setting itself, all built on relationships grown over the different stages of the happy couples’ lives.
The dinner had its glitches, things went wrong and then they didn’t. After the opening dance the dance floor was full for as long as the band played, with everyone pulled by prior strangers and subsequent friends for a turn on the floor. The smiles on the faces of all on the dancefloor was a thing of beauty, and made the smiles of those who saw the smiles bigger again.
The afterparty – from the octagon to the boathouse – was held in exactly the same vein, as was the post wedding party the next day, pig on a spit, karaoke and copious amounts of working together in the throes of laughter.
And it just went on, the In-Laws putting together a pre-wedding day evening meal for all attendees at their chalet, the Bridal Family making of the Wedding Cake, the get togethers in the houses and chalets reminiscent of the previously common practice of neighbours and friends getting around the kitchen tables. Everyone pitching in to make the tea, cut the cake and cool the cans. It all culminated in the tidy up on the last day on the Island, where everyone on the island came to pay their dues. With all the materials to go back to equipment providers, all the places needing to be swept, mopped, and minimal repairs, the contribution from all parties was mega.
So, what did this all mean, it just smelled of common purpose leading to an incredible outcome. People came together with a single thought in mind – the happiness of two incredible people who worked their proverbials to ensure that everyone had the time of their lives. Talk about sowing the seeds…
Was it worth it? Every drop of joy lined sweat.
Proud as proud can be 😊.