There were 3 bridesmaids, gowns of soft pink, with perfect bouquets, matching shoes and flawless makeup. The bride’s diamond-encrusted headpiece glittered in the chandeliers, and her dress of tulle, and silk, layer after layer, moved with her as she made her way around the circle- a captivating spectacle. The Groomsmen remained gentlemanly, the expensive suits, silk ties and vests were barely crumpled after a long day, and still they smiled politely. The groom was quite becoming, in his dark suit, still smiling, hugging and greeting family and friends as he farewelled them all. Candles and flowers and elaborate centrepieces were picturesque behind the circle of family and friends, who had enjoyed every moment of the delectable feast and the heartfelt merriment. Nothing had gone wrong, the entire day was flawless, nothing had been out of place. Except me.
I was the only single girl, other than several children. I had spent an awkward evening making polite conversation at a table of young married couples. I had spent minutes, sitting by myself during the dancing, no partner available. I had fielded questions from friends “when are you getting married?” or comments like “You’ll be next..” and I had farewelled my beloved friends, watched them leave in their white limousine and then said more polite goodbyes. I cried the entire drive home. I loved weddings, but sometimes they felt like devastating reminders of an event I would never experience. I would be so happy and excited for the couple as they said their vows and exchanged rings, yet every beat of my heart cried with deep sadness that it wasn’t me.
After so many weddings, so many years of waiting, so many friends having children, so many tough moments of trusting God, despite my own longings, I get my chance to be the bride.
But my wedding won’t be flawless. Like all the others. There won’t be the diamond encrusted headpiece or symmetrical bridal party. There won’t be the elaborate tables, with calligraphed place settings or the glittering candelabra. There won’t be the perfect bouquets and matching shoes. There won’t be gowns of soft pink and layers of tulle and silk. There won’t be embossed stationary, or a reception at a winery or estate, there won’t be the riding off into the sunset, or horse and carriage farewells- And I’m ok with that. It will be no less heartfelt, no less meaningful, no less wonderful.
I knew that if i was given the chance, my wedding wouldn’t be the same as the others, because I didn’t just want a wedding, I wanted a marriage. A marriage that would last, that would thrive, that would change the world, through children and grandchildren. And If I wanted a marriage, I needed to work on me. On my relationship with God, and I needed to put aside the world’s view of a dream wedding, and focus on God’s view of marriage. It took me a long time to figure this out.
It also meant I had a responsibility. To marry in the love and grace of God. To point others to Him, through the union of a husband and wife. To take the vows I’ll say seriously and live them out. In this way the marriage becomes bigger than the wedding. It becomes the reflection of God’s love of his church, his bride.
And over the final 6 weeks, as I move towards a new beginning and a wedding with my home made bouquet and vintage dress, I’m meditating on His love. A love so great, even a wedding is but a fleeting glimmer of the love He has for us. And while things here on Earth maybe stressful, messy, devastating, heart-wrenching, mundane, His love is the definition of flawless. It can never fail.