A Romantic Real Life Wedding
From Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Over the course of my life I’ve attended many weddings, large and small, traditional and unusual. I have been a guest at multiple weddings for some of the same people when they decided to try again after a first marriage went sour. I have attended weddings in large urban cathedrals, in tiny country churches, in hotel ballrooms, in side chapels, in parks, and in rented halls.
I have had two weddings of my own, one to make it legal and another, years later, to make it a Sacrament in my Catholic faith. As a little girl, I played bride often, forcing my cousin closest in age to be my groom against his will. In those mini shotgun weddings, usually performed each Sunday without fail, I wore my First Communion veil and my Easter dress trimmed in lace and the groom’s older brother held him in place as he “married us”. I dreamed of weddings with an ever changing cast of boyfriends in my teen and young adult years. Both of my weddings were small by choice unlike my parents and assorted relatives who had storybook weddings complete with lavish receptions.
Weddings touch our romantic hearts even in the face of marriage statistics that tell us one out of every two marriages these days is likely to fail. I love attending weddings and no matter what the setting, I tend to get a wee bit misty-eyed but I think that the most romantic, beautiful wedding I have ever attended was also one of the most unique.
Last October when one of my nephews tied the knot, the young couple did it their way. The ceremony was held at a resort in the Ozarks, a quiet out of the way place that has a special meaning for the pair. There was no church or chapel and the ceremony was outside in a large field near the beautiful Elk River nearby. To get there, guests parked and meandered on foot through the resort, into the quiet woods and emerged into that sunlit field in the late afternoon.
We settled into the chairs placed there in traditional rows for the guests and waited. When the lovely bride emerged, she was radiant in a gorgeous white gown, formal and elegant. As she marched down the aisle behind her attendants, her groom waited for her in his everyday blue jeans. He did, however, remove his ball cap for the ceremony so that the sun highlighted his hair. The simple ceremony was very moving, touching because the two kids battled against opposition and obstacles to reach their special day but the one thing that no one present could doubt was that these two love one another, very much.
I adored that they could compromise and that the bride could wear the kind of beautiful gown she must have dreamed about wearing down the aisle while the groom could be comfortable in his usual clothing. That kind of compromise, understanding, and space for personal expression bodes very well for their adaption into married life.
The receiving line was held beneath a line of small trees along a fence row within sight of a major US highway and then the wedding party led the guests through the winding hills to her parents’ home, tucked away outside a very small town in a remote but stunning location. We crossed highways and railroad tracks to reach it.
If you have ever watched the video for the 1980’s hit song, All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight by Hank Williams, Junior, then you might be able to imagine their fantastic, amazing wedding reception. There was food, plenty of it and drink and live music and dancing. This turned out to be the most enjoyable wedding reception that I ever attended, a real party attended by half the county including family and friends. As I watched the bride and groom enjoy their first dance, I smiled with recognition of their love and appreciation. As my daughter danced with her cousin and my niece, sister of the groom, sang along with the band, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect start to married life than this.
Weddings are beginnings, not endings, a fact sometimes forgotten in the planning and preparation. My nephew and his bride began their married life the right way, in a place of their choosing, in a style that mingled both their personal tastes, and in a way that involved family, friends, and the community in a way that will always be remembered. No bride and groom could ever have a better start in life!
My romance novels deal with love and as my tagline says, romance that lives and breathes the power of love. As a romance author I get to write about weddings, quite often, but the weddings I create are fictional and that wedding was very real. Sometimes life imitates art but when it’s the best of all, it’s just life lived with personal style, expression, and love.
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy...romance that lives and breathes the power of love!