It is Friday in this most beautiful part of the world. Weekends in the summer are very busy here in Niagara, not only with tourists, but with couples who've been waiting so long to marry throughout this ongoing pandemic. There are lots of limos in town today, which means that venues are busy and wedding guests are arriving to celebrate love. And the Bird Song and YMCA will be played to the delight of people of a certain age. :)
Before the pandemic, or BP, summer weddings were on the decline because of the heat. Until you have experienced the baked-in-the-oven feeling of standing and waiting for latecomers in a shadeless vineyard at 1 o'clock on a stifling summer day, you start to think about whether this is really the healthiest way to spend your time. However, the setting of the vineyards can be very picturesque, and really, what's a little sweat.
So couples are playing catch up before the next wave crashes in. It is wonderful to officiate for people from all over the world. Last week a couple from Switzerland came to our little garden to renew their vows. It really is a humbling experience. We get an up close, front row seat to the story of their love and their choice to continue on in the journey.
Vow renewals are very popular these days and I have had the pleasure of officiating at many over the years. I remember being asked to be a part of a surprise renewal of vows one sizzling summer day. The hubby arranged for me to meet them in the middle of a vineyard while they were on a wine tour. I brought my trusty umbrella for shade and disguise so that when they came down the row of vines, I would look like another tourist until I turned around to expose my clergy collar and my ceremony book.
I love that. That moment of surprise; of joy; of realization that this was all planned for her. You could see that he enjoyed her delight and as she realized that this has been planned for a while.
The wife was so surprised, tears and bubbly flowed and we had a beautiful ceremony to celebrate their 20 years together.
Marrying couples on the threshold of a wonderful life together is a blessing, but meeting couples who have a story and have journeyed together through ups and downs, well, that is special too.
I recall celebrating the anniversary of a couple who'd been married 60 years. Again, organized by the husband as a surprise. As we stood in the dining room area with all the children, the grandkids, great grandkids and significant others, the couple shared their own vows -words from the heart. She was not prepared and was so overwhelmed but said some very tender words to him. He looked at his dear wife, his face lined and his eyes filled with tears and told her simply, "I wish we could have another 60 more."
This is the best. Witnessing such shining moments. Who could ever call this a job?
So a busy weekend awaits. I hope you have lots of good things planned. Carpe diem.