The Daisy Wedding

Submitted into Contest #28 in response to: Write about your most unique experience at, or in, a wedding.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction

When we all got the invite to Aleta’s wedding I can’t say it was surprising. Even if it was summer of 2000 and Aleta was getting married just shy of her 20th birthday. Insanity or genius? Why do we fear the marrying of the young?

At my secular university campus getting married at such an age was an anomaly. But Aleta was part of the enviable and sheltered world of bible college, or “bridal college” as one of my summer profs called it.

There we were the five of us packed into one of our parent’s cars heading to the small town whose claim to fame was the small bible college. None of us were in a serious relationship ourselves, and it was like we were off to a basketball game or a sporting event just like the old days. But in summer dresses and nice smelling perfume.

The best part was how happy I was for her.  Aleta always was focused and knew what she wanted. She put up with being called a bible thumper in school because from where I was sitting, I believe she knew in the end the joke was on them. She had clarity of purpose in her life, unlike the idiots who made fun of her love for scripture. She hung out with her youth group on the weekends and she enjoyed doing so. Unlike some of us, evangelical Christian gatherings didn’t make her cringe, because she truly accepted the message and belonged.

For those of us in the car she was many things to each, a teammate, classmate and friend. Yes, we tested her patience. I would ask her tons of questions. Just to be sure my gut instinct was right. Was masturbation a sin? Should I have sex before I’m married? What do you think of dating? What about drinking? She always answered questions calmly and with an authority I found admirable. A friend who stayed true to hate the sin not the sinner.

All of us in the car were under the influence of a somewhat Catholic upbringing, although diverse on how it was handed down in the home. We giggled at the thought of going to a wedding without booze and without a dance. What is everyone going to do? My childhood was littered with memories of the weddings of my aunts and uncles, both my parents from large families.

Aleta was the oldest of three girls.  A brunette, she had acne in high school, but had stunning blue eyes and the confidence that comes from knowing your worth. She met her future husband at said bible college on, and, this was the best part, the basketball court. They didn’t have a girl’s team, so she played on the boy’s team. I don’t think anything could have screamed pure Aleta more than that alone. A traditional maverick. It made us love her all the more.

We had only briefly met Ben or heard of him. We didn’t really know him. But as friends we knew Aleta to be a good judge of character (obviously, look who she picked as friends.)

And as friends we had slowly started the natural separation that comes from different paths of study, spread out among three campuses. But the wedding was a little mini reunion and it was lovely. Lovely is the perfect word because it was truly one of the finer afternoons of my life.

When we arrived, we walked to what I guess was the chapel and sat together as group. This would be the first wedding of someone our age, we knew. It was historic. On the way home bets would be made of who would be the next to go. A type of group meditation on the virtues and vices of marriage. Would it free us or be a captive? Each of us pondered this unasked but obvious question. 

We grew up thinking women could do it all. There was no sense of impending doom. We were free to question and contemplate our role without the noise of social media hindering any of these conversations. None of it existed yet.

She walked down the aisle in her dress made by her mom as Ben crooned a song he composed for his bride, accompanied by his electric guitar. We tried to keep our jaws from falling to the ground. Aleta’s dress was white, elegant and simple, but we weren’t expecting the electric guitar. This was going to be a memorable wedding for sure.

There were readings extolling what a good wife and husband should be. Afterwards we crowded into the cafeteria, filled with round tables decorated with daisy centrepieces. There was laughter and just this joy.

The nicest words were said about Aleta. We cheered and clinked our glasses of non-alcoholic punch as we toasted the bride. Every good word about Aleta rang true. Aleta deserved to hear them spoke and we were honoured to hear them as well.

A meal was shared and then we were on our way. We packed ourselves back in the car. Sober and happy. Many of us would not be at another wedding celebration for at least four or more years down the road. Life was moving fast but we were easing into it. The wedding was like a group meditation. What would our future hold? Some still thought she was insane, not worldly enough to be taking such a step. 

I have never been to a wedding like that since. 

What made it so special? Maybe Aleta and Ben would know. They would say it was the love of Christ.

Maybe. Aleta wasn’t naïve. Their life would have storms and we would hear about how they braved them. And Aleta was always courageous. Her getting married young proved it.  There would be babies, and sickness. Good times and bad. Honour throughout. Always an unwavering faith in what was planted.

It was the simplicity that looked so appealing. A simple yes that demands so much more and, in the end, isn’t that the beauty of it?

February 11, 2020 18:54

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