|August 25th, Saturday 2018—The Wedding
Today I watched my first granddaughter get married.
Delilah married Alex Harris. They met in 4th grade. And today is the culmination of a courtship, many years in the making.
On waking in D.C. at Underoak, I noticed the lovely weather immediately.
Yesterday was perfect. Today was simply more perfect, if possible. The almost full moon last night was going to be full tonight. The temperature was moderate and the humidity almost nil. The warm air surrounded us like an ocean, and the sky was full of little clouds that floated overhead so ornately, I half expected cherubs to start appearing with tiny bows and arrows of love. All day the sun shone, the clouds played overhead, and every aspect of the visible earth was green and flower- filled due to the constant rains that had permeated the countryside all during August.
The morning I spent partly with my son, Robert and his son, Jack. I was toying with what to wear and what to take with me to my daughter, Lilla’s home. I Still had not decided if I would stay or not. And in the end, I did. But at that time, in the middle morning, I was still unpacking or at least putting away the things I unpacked hurriedly yesterday, returning from Newport. My room in D.C. was a wreck and I did not want to leave it that way. Lilla called me and in a fit of wedding hysteria, wondered why I was not there already.
So, I literally threw some things together and set out for Virginia, arrived in time to buy some Asian food at the market in The Plains, which I ate out on the porch. Everyone else had had sandwiches earlier and champagne and orange juice. There was little for me to do, actually; it was a question of my just being there. The afternoon passed fairly quickly, until about three o’clock, when we were to be ready for family photos. That took a while, but then we were through and had an hour to wait before it was time to go down to the “glen” or “glade” where the wedding was going to take place.
I went down in a golf cart with Ethel, their maid, and I sat in the front pew. My ex-husband, Charley, and his wife, Julie were there, too. All of my children and most of my grandchildren were seated in those front pews. We had a chance to greet all the guests because the shuttle that was supposed to pick up the groom’s family was VERY late doing so. So, the entire wedding had to be set back nearly half an hour.
But it was lovely there in the glen, and cool.
The gorgeous, lush green setting was embellished with containers full of ferns and a bountiful arrangement sitting on a tree stump– with deep pink roses and foxglove and other flowers in such abundance– so glorious– exploding over the sides like a fountain of flowers. Twigs sticking out at uneven angles and lots of leaves spilling over the edges and cascading downwards gave the impression of movement. The floral embellishments to the unusually shaped wedding arch, designed and handcrafted by the bride’s cousin, Charley Hilliard, gave a magical look to the venue. Cleverly attached to the sides of the arch in an asymmetrical way, they carried the eye to the center of the arch where the bride and groom stood.
First the bridesmaids came down the aisle each on the arm of a groomsman. The last 2 had a groomsman on each side. And after all of that, Elias glided down the grassy aisle with a garland on his head and a basket of flowers and petals to throw. An unusual and enthusiastic flower “girl”. Lilla and Chris have very interesting children.
Then from far away, the bride walked down the grassy path from out of the mist (if there had been mist) She was joined by her father at the back of the audience seated on the pews made of tree trunks sawn and treated to be smooth.
They walked together towards the altar, and once there, they were joined briefly by Lilla who came and kissed the bride and went back to her pew with Chris, her husband, father of the bride.
They were married by a judge.
I said, quietly, to Charley, “So they aren’t really married, are they?”
And he said, quietly, to me, “That is what my mother would have said.”
We kept silent.
It was a moving ceremony. Beautiful. Many, many tears…shed by the wedding party, the bride and the groom! (not to mention, all of us!)
It was a lovely ceremony with readings by a friend of the groom, and by the bride’s sister, Georgina. She read a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
The bridesmaids wore pink tulle skirts with separate ecru lace tops, with some tummy showing if they let it. They looked ethereal, their outfits blending in with the floral and natural elements of the space.
The bride’s dress was very bare, and rather full of detail. The back was bustled slightly, and there was lace and many layers. And, she wore the veil! –the veil that was worn by my grandmother, when she married my grandfather. Mother did not wear it, but I did. Both daughters, Helen and Lilla, wore it, too. And now my granddaughter, Delilah, was wearing it. It had developed a big rip in the train, and Lilla cut it shorter and trimmed it again with tiny pearls, as it had been before. Lovely to look at, the veil is light, airy. A simple net trimmed with pearls, it is unusual. There is a design of pearls on the back where it cascades down from the crown, and a separate row of pearls stitched horizontally across the back to enhance the look. I loved wearing that veil at its full Cathedral length, but Lilla’s cutting it made it more contemporary and much more wearable for a modern woman like Delilah. It suits her. The whole wedding suited her.
The blue of the sky and crying out of two owls during the ceremony, and the happy crowd watching as the new Mr. and Mrs. Alex Harris walked back up the aisle, now husband and wife.
They were married, and so…Let the party begin!
We had more family photos taken, and then we went up the hill to the house. Though I went in a golf cart most of the guests walked up a mown path between thousands of wild flowers. Spectacular! I went into the yard above the pool where cocktails and hor d’oeuvres were being served. So many relatives and friends made if fun for everyone. We chatted and ate and drank. People were milling around, but not too many people. The entire crowd numbered about 250. A manageable size. And that perfect weather continued.
All sorts of relatives attended. We were missing two boys, but fifteen of our grandchildren were there. And that was an impressive sight. They were all having fun seeing each other. All of them are lovely or handsome. They laughed and danced and talked and enjoyed each other. It was a very happy occasion, all in all. And everyone was smiling. Only rarely does a wedding occur where both sides know each other and those who do not meld right in.
After what seemed a very long time, we all were summoned into the big tent for dinner. There was a main table for the wedding party and two separate tables for the older folk. Grandparents, for instance. Lilla and I had “seated” these tables not too long before the wedding. They looked marvelous.
Later, I saw my ex-husband Charley and his wife, Julie, get up and begin to dance, and I felt, just a twinge, a moment’s regret at not having a partner myself. Then later, while standing and talking to Helen, I saw Julie motioning me from the dance floor. I went over and she said to me, “You both have such wonderful grandchildren, you should dance with each other.”
And so, Julie left the dance floor, and Charley and I had a long and a very nice dance together. Apparently, it was “noticed.” A guest came over to me later and said how nice to see us dancing. He did not know my ex-husband and I are friends. We are– in many ways– lifelong friends. I care about him and like so many things about him.
I thought of my own wedding, at nineteen years old, and my marriage. It suited me at the time. We are only able to do what we can do at any given time. I make no apologies for my previous faults when writing privately in my journal. Even though, if I were talking aloud to someone, I would probably make excuses. But that is not totally honest. And what I strive for now, is total honesty.
That perfect weather continued for the entire wedding celebration.
It was not too hot, not too cold. No wind; lovely clouds scudded by without darkening the sky, and everything was lush and very green, very unusual for the end of August. A rare day in a rare month in a rare year. As evening came and the sky darkened a full moon rose over the right shoulder of the bride and groom. A super omen for the happy couple. And it was breathtakingly beautiful to watch. Everyone was thrilled with the weather. It was a constant source of conversation because everyone recognized how lucky they were to have a weekend like that at the end of August. It will be interesting to note what the weather will be like on this day next year
Copyright©. 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson