I went to a wedding this weekend.
Bride's side or groom's?
None of the above. The only person I knew was the minister, but I was the guest of honour.
It happened like this:
Friday night, said minister, who I've known for a few years, put out a call on Facebook.
I have a very small wedding tomorrow. So small that we need one more person as a witness. Let me know if you’re free at 3pm tomorrow.
And I thought, why not? The church is home to my theatre company and we had a rehearsal on Saturday at 4, so I'd be in the building anyway. And I'd just had my nails done on Friday afternoon (to celebrate sending the Cold Pressed draft to beta readers!), so I wouldn't even embarrass my mother's sensibilities by showing up to a stranger's wedding with the chipped Tiffany blue that had been there the other day.
And really, if I were getting married and for whatever reason my wedding party was so small as to be non-existent, I would want some kind soul to volunteer promptly to be my witness so that I had one less thing to worry about on my last night of unmarried bliss.
Also, because a wedding that doesn't come with all the stress of gifts and travel, and finding the perfect dress and then trying to lose five more pounds so it fits perfectly, has to be the best kind of wedding ever.
So there I was, at 3 pm, in a polka dot dress I bought last year and my grandmother's necklace with the amber beads because, even if I didn't know these people, they deserved the respect of me not showing up in my stage management uniform of jeans and jersey. And there they were, bride and groom. He wore a slim fitting navy suit with a red tie. She wore an ivory dress with a high-low lace hem. Her ivory high heels were a half size too big, but that happens sometimes. She had a big bouquet of cream coloured roses. No matter how small this wedding was, they wanted it to be special.
I shook their hands and congratulated them. They shook my hand and thanked me so much for coming, like an honoured guest.
I guess I was. If I hadn't been there, they'd have been short a witness and the marriage wouldn't have happened.
We all giggled—bride, groom, minister, photographer, me—when our assembled throng was asked if there were any objections. The good thing about having a tiny wedding is there is less baggage in the crowd.
I got a bit misty eyed, as I watched strangers promise their lives to each other. Turns out this romance novelist is a romantic. Who knew?
They signed their names. I signed mine. I am part of their story now, even just a tiny piece. A crucial one though. The guest of honour.
If a couple stands together, and says their vows, if they promise to love, cherish and obey, but no one is there to see it, are they really married?