Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Wedding


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.

Reception:

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!!!!!

8 comments:

Carmen said...

Oh, good for you!

It sounds like so much fun!

basil said...

Just an amplification of what you noted, after exchanging rings at the boundary between the narthex and the nave, the couple are led together to a litya table, which is placed in a location usually called "center" or "middle" by the service books. (I know this happened at St. Andrew in Lexington, so I have a pretty clear picture of where the litya table actually was.) Services that happen at the litya table --- memorial (panychida), thanksgiving (moleben), marriage, etc. --- happen in the midst of the Church.

You probably did not get as clear a picture of the couple being led up to the royal doors, since there wasn't as far to go. :D

I've been meaning to post pictures of Greg and Yana's wedding on flickr. Maybe I'll get around to that this afternoon.

Mimi said...

Yay! The dress is beautiful, the wedding sounds beautiful (it was like 6 years that I'd been Orthodox before I saw my first Orthodox wedding), and the dancing lovely! I LOVE to dance.

Meg said...

You did a super job on that dress. Congratulations! As for the dancing, I'd give my eye teeth to get the old buzzard out on the dance floor with me, but then, I'm the one with two left feet -- he's much more naturally graceful than I am. Glad you were able to kick up your heels!

Arielle said...

What a beautiful dress! It's so hard to find dresses with sleeves anymore. I may up having my wedding dress made too, for that reason.

I'm going to my first Orthodox wedding in a couple of weeks. It's two of my very best friends, and I'm SO excited (plus, far-away boyfriend is coming all the way for it too!!!!!) Who knows, *maybe* the next Orthodox wedding I attend will be my own ;)

Karen said...

I LOVE the dress!

God grant them many happy years.

Anne said...

Simply wonderful to read you! Many blessings to the couple and to all who attended! The photo is so perfect and the dress looks exquisite. So very different from the majority of the photos in which newlyweds stare at the camera.

Semper Fi Momx2 said...

Wow... what small world Orthodxy is! To "know" you from the Orthodox homeschoolers "group", and to see that you did the dress for my daughter's brother-in-law's bride! LOL! It's a wonderful sense of "connection"

I've heard SO much about the contra dancing there as there was quite an entourage from Alaska there as well!

I'm so glad you've gotten to see your first Orthodox Wedding. I've been to dozens and even been the mother of the bride for one, since our conversion 14 years ago; and they thrill me every time.
I now find non-Orthodox weddings painful events to attend. It's very much like being intimately familiar with the medical care available in the United States, and then to go to an impoverished third-world country and see people dying of diseases that would be completely treatable here. The Orthodox sacrament of marriage is SO beautiful... Gold to the world's brass. And each one you attend get's more beautiful as you see and understand more each time.