Here Comes the Bride

Do you know why the romantic trip traditionally taken after a wedding is called a honeymoon? I ran out of room last week before I could answer that question. Now that I have eighteen fresh column inches, here goes.

The term dates all the way back to the 1500s, when people planned important events in their lives around the moon. Most weddings were held in June because it’s the lightest and brightest month of the year. The full “honey moon” that shines in June was thought to symbolize the lightest and brightest time in a couple’s relationship and soon became the moniker for their wedding trip.

Which brings to mind a wedding I attended earlier this month that was so delightfully traditional I couldn’t wait to write about it.

It wasn’t a “destination wedding,” unless you consider Gladeville, Tennessee a destination. I confess that, until I received the invitation, I’d never heard of Gladeville. It’s a little community in Wilson County, just a stone’s throw west of Interstate-840. Three churches—Baptist, Church of Christ and Methodist—line the main drag. This wedding was held at the Methodist Church, where both the bride and groom had been baptized as babies. The bride’s family still lives nearby so, as you might imagine, the sanctuary was jam-packed with wedding guests. I was glad we’d gotten there early.

The groomsmen, doing double-duty as ushers, offered each female guest an elbow and escorted her to her seat, with the men and boys in the party following dutifully behind. Live vocal music kept the crowd from becoming restless while we waited for the ceremony to begin. At exactly five minutes until four, the grandparents and parents were seated.

And then the processional began.

The flower girl and ring bearer, both adorable, came down the aisle first. Next were the bridesmaids. At last, the moment we’d all been waiting for. Guests stood as the pianist began playing Wagner’s “Bridal Processional,” more commonly known as “Here Comes the Bride.” For some reason I’ll never understand, you don’t hear it played much at weddings any more, and I was charmed that the beautiful young woman floating down the aisle on her father’s arm had chosen something so traditional.

The bride glowed and the groom grinned (and then choked up) as they exchanged vows they’d written themselves. They slipped rings on each other’s finger, were pronounced husband and wife, and recessed down the aisle holding hands, while the congregation applauded and blotted happy tears.

We meandered from the church building to the grounds, which were dotted with white tables and chairs. Balloons and crepe paper hung from the trees. A serving tent kept the hot, hot sun from melting the wedding cake, which—just like in the olden days when I got married—was accompanied by mints and mixed nuts. No one seemed to mind at all that no fancy fountain spewed champagne. Because we were served something even better—ice cold sherbet-and-ginger-ale punch. YUM!!! This wedding and reception were exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. Sweet and sincere and solid.

Just like Lauren and Wesley.

So congratulations, you two. Thanks for including me in your special day. May your marriage be light and bright, not just in the month of the honey moon, but every day of the year.

(June 29, 2014)

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