Sunday, July 16, 2006
What a fun day today was! It was the wedding, the dress I made, you know. Well, J and J are married, bride looked radiant and gorgeous, groom looked so very very happy...you know the drill.
It was also my first ever Orthodox wedding. No surprises, I'd read about Orthodox weddings before, but here are some impressions that stood out to me:
The wedding is on a Sunday afternoon, so we all got to see the bride and groom and all the family at Divine Liturgy this morning. There was a joyous anticipation through the whole day, and for the whole parish, and a certain rightness about this couple being together through the Liturgy and partaking of the Eucharist together before their betrothal ceremony.
After lunch at Church we all headed over to the wedding (well, we stopped by home because of course I got FOOD all over my white blouse and so did the kids get similarly grungy and we all had to change). We got there just in time and squeezed in the back.
Thing two: no vows. The big "do you vouch that you have not promised yourself to another in holy matrimony?"question was interesting. After it was established that neither had done so with another, it was basically announced that they were being blessed, and loads of blessings and prayers followed. The rings were exchanged at the entrance to the Church, and this without any vows the way is done in a western wedding.
Then the bride and groom are led forward to the front together, and then they are crowned with martyr's crowns, led around the table three times, and presented as husband and wife. Of course I'm leaving out the fact that there's a gospel reading, loads of prayers and blessings, etc.
It was all very different and beautiful. I liked it alot.
The whole service took an hour and the choir did a really really good job.
I had more fun than I've had in public in a really really really long time. There was contra dancing. It's the same kind of dancing you see in Pride and Prejudice, for instance, only the music was more like square dance music: guitar, banjo, fiddle, instead of the orchestra you would have had in England in the early 1800's. But the dances were the same.
I started out dancing with my husband but the first dance was a mixer and we danced around the circle and switched partners every twenty seconds or so. That was a blast. I realized that this type of dance really pushes the boundaries of what I'm culturally comfortable with as there was plenty of hand holding with perfect strangers. It's also the done thing to look into your partner's eyes to prevent dizzyness with all the twirling.
After the mixer dance, we all had different partners and the leader with the microphone had us stay with whoever we ended up with and get into lines for a lined up dance. This was the one I'd seen in P and P. Very very cool to be dancing those steps.
And I got lucky: My partner was hunky, taller than me, ten years younger AND very very good at Contra dancing. I think he was one of J's contra dancing friends come to the wedding. The perfect partner. I was glad, but felt a little sorry for HIM, being landed with me. But I smiled alot and did my twirls and felt like a girl again for half an hour. He was very gracious and said afterward that I was a quick study, when I thanked him for putting up with me.
Dh had fun, too, and got lots of compliments from sidelined friends who were watching, who did not think he had it in him to dance. Well, he sure did.
I hope that dh and I can go contra dancing some more, and on a regular basis. And perhaps in the future we will get to partner each other more. The only time I messed up the dance is when dh and his partner were "neighbors" to us, and I did a do-see-do with dh and got all flustered and went the wrong way. He he.
But the BEST thing, is that I was able to dance. Able to dance! I was dancing! Thanks be to God!!!!!