For the second time in two weeks, I am in a church as a bridal party enters for rehearsal. The chatter crescendoes from the foyer of the complex to the church itself. Family members and friends greet each other with palpable excitement. Vases of white roses with blue baby’s breath sprout beside selected pews along the aisle, and programs appear in a basket at the church door.
This time I am the pianist. My job is to provide a processionnal, a recessional, reflective music during the signing of the register, and accompaniment for a soloist who will sing the psalm. I tell myself I must remain focused on this wedding, on this bride and these families who have prepared a beautiful ceremony. My brain, though, has teleported me to another wedding, two weeks before.
The cadences of group organization fade. I am in the foyer of a different church with my husband. Between us is our daughter, ready to enter the church on her wedding day. She is calm, poised, regal, in an elegant fitted and waisted sleeveless satin dress with a boat neck and open back, flowing into a short train. The wedding party is lined up before us. The bridesmaids in short navy blue chiffon dresses paired with groomsmen in gray suits wait. Bouquets of eggplant calla lilies and orange roses bring spring indoors, exude joy and life.
Our soon-to-be son-in-law, handsome and dignified in his gray suit with vest, precedes us with his parents. The buzz in the church has quieted as three o’clock rings silently. Father Kevin joins the group at the back of the church, greets everyone, and asks the couple two key questions. Have they come willingly to be married? Do they intend to make a lifelong commitment to each other?
“That being the case,” he says after he hears two yeses, ”let’s celebrate!” The music begins, “Come, Journey With Me” by David Haas. Father Kevin leads the way, and the maid of honour and the best man follow. We wait our turn. Our elder son and his wife enter, followed by his brother--our younger son--and our daughter’s close friend. I am calm. At peace. The groom and his parents begin their walk down the aisle. “Breathe,” I whisper to our daughter as we move to our spot at the back of the church. A good reminder for me, as well. When the groom has taken his place at the front, we look at each other, smile, and take the first step. In natural, effortless slowness, we float to the front.
The bride gives her bouquet to her matron of honour. She hugs me and her father. Her future husband does the same. All I say to them is, “Congratulations!” Anything else seems superfluous. Their preparation for this wedding, and, more important, for the marriage, has been meticulous. My silence seeks to honour that.
Most important, I know they will take care of each other. They love each other as they are this day. As a result, their shared orbit will allow them to evolve both as individuals and together. At some point in their journey, they will realize that they are truly married.
“Yvette, we’re ready for the processionnal,” the bride says. This bride means music, not a walk down the aisle, though, and my reverie fades. With my daughter and her husband in my soul, I look down this aisle to this bride, this groom, and this union. Called back to the reality of fitting the processional to the procession, I begin the long opening chords of Pachelbel’s Canon in D.