My sister-in-law, Leslie, got married this past weekend. It was a beautiful wedding and went off without a hitch (save the one between the bride and groom), and every one had a great time.
Both of my daughters were flowergirls in the wedding, though with Hailey, it was pretty much in name only. She is only about 18 months old, after all. Madelyn, however, is 3 and a half, so she actually got to walk down the aisle and throw around flower petals.
It made for a great ice breaker.
You know how weddings are. Everybody’s happy, but everybody’s sad at the same time; or at least a lot of people are. It’s one of those bittersweet deals that’s incredibly charged with emotion. And when it comes to the emotions involved, we aren’t too easy on ourselves. Think about it. Every little facet of the wedding ceremony is super-saturated with raw emotion. You’ve got parents and grandparents ushered in to the sounds of music (a string trio, in this case). The parents will often go to the front and light a candle to represent bride and groom.
Then the attendants are slowly paraded in one by one. Each of the groomsmen locks eyes with the groom in order to share one last silent joke of bachelorhood. Finally, they all make it to the front, and the audience has been teased to the point of tears – the setting is immaculate, the attendants are resplendant, and the groom is waiting at the top of the aisle in anticipation. The whole thing is emotionally charged, primed, and ready to blow.
And then you get the comic relief.
Because I’ve finally decided that that’s the role these small children play in weddings. No matter how many times you run them through the rehearsal, nothing really prepares them for the real ceremony.
I went to a wedding once where the ringbearer had an ornate chest attached to the top of the pillow he carried, and the bride’s ring was inside it. At some point during the ceremony, he discovered that this chest made a really great noise when he flicked his wrists. *CLOP* he flicked it open. *CLOP* he flicked it closed. Coconut-bearing Patsy from The Holy Grail would have been proud. The boy repeated this incredibly fascinating feat until he was forced to stop.
In Madelyn’s case, she wanted to do things perfectly. She walked slowly down the aisle and slung flower petals through the air with a zeal that was awe-inspiring. She looked as though she were trapped in a snowglobe blizzard – a hurricane of white petals whirling around her in a frenzy. She happened to glance down at one point and realized that some of them hadn’t separated the way she had wanted, but had landed in a clump on the floor. So she turned around, bent down, and began scattering them with her hand.
This congregation of people who had been on the edge of weeping were now laughing, and quite heartily in some cases. My wife, Lauren, was frozen in her spot as matron of honor wondering how to get Madelyn to speed things up a little and actually get to the front of the chapel. In the end, Madelyn realized everyone was watching her, and so she abandoned her flower-throwing responsibilities about halfway down the aisle and hurried to her place of safety at Lauren’s side.
Comic relief had been achieved – mission accomplished.