Last weekend, I went to my nephew Mark's wedding. Mark and Bianca had been going together for several years. You wouldn't have imagined them together. He's six foot four in height, she's more like about four foot ten(This is not necessarily a problem. I'm five foot two and used to date a guy around Mark's height. You do have to lean a long way back to kiss, unless you're sitting down). He's gentle. She's a black belt in her martial art of choice. That said, she works for a vet and adores working with the animals. But their personalities meshed. And she had some great ideas for the wedding, such as getting a friend to make up about fifty squares of patchwork and sending them to family and friends to decorate. These squares were then made up into the chupah, the wedding canopy. And wasn't the finished product gorgeous! Mine was a unicorn (because that's my personaily) surrounded by Australian native flowers and Mark and Bianca's names and Hebrew wedding date. Embroidered, of course - that's what I'm good at. My parents contributed one of Dad's cartoons of themselves, Mum's contribution a heart with their names in it, between Mum and Dad's upraised hands. I traced the picture on and embroidered it in black thread. Mark said it was his favourite. The chupah will be an heirloom they will cherish.
Friends of Bianca's family lent their home for the event. I still have no idea how they got 270 people into a large, but not huge suburban back yard, and it wasn't even very crowded, not uncomfortably crowded, anyway. The food was home made, not catered, and it was terrific. Vegetarian, as Mark is a veggo, and it meant I could eat anything on the table. I usually go for vegetarian on plane flights in preference to kosher, which is rarely as nice.
My brother Maurice's mother-in-law, Carole, for whom a kosher meal was prepared, was very helpful in the lead-up to the wedding. She and I went halves on a pair of Shabbat candlesticks. I also went halves on a dinner set with my friend Bart.
The ceremony was beautiful. One of Mark's friends from his rock group sang the bride and groom under the canopy, and the rabbi was a "cool" one from my sister-in-law's workplace (Joanne works at Mount Scopus College). And Mark and Bianca were beaming, absolutely delighted with each other and with finally Doing It. The little girls - my grandnieces, Dezzy and Rachel, and my niece Amelia, made lovely flowergirls in their pretty floral gowns. I'm assuming someone explained to Amelia that it was okay to scatter flower petals on the ground. At her Uncle Robbie's wedding, she was scrabbling around, tidying them away during the ceremony! Mark said to me, dazed but thrilled, "Hey, I'm married!"
The speeches, later in the evening, included three songs - one from Bianca's Dad, one from my brother Maurice and one from Mark himself who decided it was easier to sing than to make a speech. Bianca, though, had no problem. "He's my best friend and my lover and now my husband!" Yesss!
Today, on my way to the beach, I passed another Jewish wedding in the park and stopped to watch and call out my congratulations. I was utterly moved, as last week (when I stood under the canopy with other family members, a broad grin on my face).