3-5 September 2016
On the most sunny of September afternoons, under a Chuppah crafted with Molly’s grandmother’s tablecloth and framed in a collection of orchids (like I have never seen), we quietly leaned in to hear Gordon and Molly exchange their vows.
Less than 24 hours earlier, on a rowdy bus ride back from the wedding welcome party, we sang our hearts out in an impromptu sing-off. From Wilson Philips to the Lion King it was one hit after another.
For me, Molly and Gordon’s wedding weekend was a series of visual and verbal snapshots just like these: Micro-moments of loud happiness, sincere intimacy or real love. I’m going to do my best to share some of them with you.
The night-before-the-wedding event was at Molly’s family home outside of Woodstock, Vermont. The legend goes that Molly’s parents purchased the home after seeing a flyer about it on a community bulletin board. (This sounds much more like the beginning of my next must-see romcom than real life!)
The evening was a garden party, with all the details perfectly set, but don’t confuse loveliness with stuffiness. None of that. Just a crisp attention to all the senses. This might be the best way to describe Gordon and Molly themselves.
Molly kicked off the weekend. (I loved this! Never before have I seen the bride open the festivities.) Her words included a gratefulness for the the family love stories that have come before them and brought them to this moment.
Most of all I’m thankful for all the forces that be that brought us together.
Now, as I think about the night before the wedding, I see the line-up of family and friends who spoke about Gordon and Molly as a collage of reflective speeches, captivating storytelling and all the fuzzy-love feelings you can think of.
Gordon’s mom described him as “part magic and part mystery.” I very well might associate that phrase with Gordon for the rest of my days.
And Gordon’s dad shared that his first dinner with Molly was like encountering an old friend. He told us, not too long after their first meeting, they were at a family wedding and he asked Molly to join him on the dance floor. “Let’s dance, so we can practice” he told her.
Two themes came thru in the stories that friends shared: Molly and Gordon (separately and together) make a memorable impact on the lives of those around them. Molly’s friend, Day, might have said it best:
You are deeply thoughtful people…you are good enough for each…which is profound statement given how much we love and respect both of you.
And because of this, friends genuinely want the very best for both of them. So much so that some gentle nudging and loving went on behind the scenes to help them find each other.
It was Gordon’s storytelling at the wedding reception though that captured my whole heart. Perhaps because Gordon is a dear friend from college. Or perhaps because I simply admire how much he reflects and is able to piece together the puzzle of life. (I’ll do my best to sum up my favorite part.)
He told us that the day he left for college his mom gave him the CD, I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. A very funny gift for an 18-year old boy, but it was one with specific intention, advice and hope from a mother who loves (and also reflects).
Days before leaving for the wedding weekend, Gordon was stressed. Stressed about work. Stressed about the wedding. Just stressed. He went to CVS to get a cocktail of sleeping medication to help kick all the stuff in his head. As he read over labels, he looked up to find Molly moonwalking thru the aisles. The simplest of moments can give us the best perspective.
Friend Eliah, during his night-before speech, summed it up for Gordon this way:
Gordon, you are an absurd optimist, it is perhaps life defining for you. And maybe on some level your life to date has been a search for a kind of happiness that is deserving of and commensurate with your optimism. Well now…and over the last 4 1/2 years… and for the rest of your days…in Molly…that is exactly what you found.
One of my favorite opportunities at all weddings is an open dance floor before dinner. To me, its an invitation to start the party (and you really hope all the guests join you and fear that they won’t!).
On this night, the Princeton Crew seized the moment: It was the band playing Taylor Swift. It was no-fear because the crew won’t let you dance all alone. It was pure happiness because so much of the night was ahead of us. Very quickly everyone was on their feet dancing all together and welcoming Molly and Gordon to the tent. As Harry has taught me, you can’t plan everything. You just can’t. But you can really cherish things when they all come together in a wonderful way. And it might be silly to say, but I cherished that dance party. Good old friends, good love, all together.
P.S. We met Jerry, a friend of Molly’s parents, during this pure joy jumping session. He turned out to be a all-time wedding personality favorite of mine. Jamming with his wife on the side, but gliding over to us every once in a while to dance center-circle.
On a final note, Gordon is the most genuine of fans for this wedding blog. Without his consistent replies to my posts, I’m not sure …& Guest would still exist. Gordon, thank you for your engaged readership and encouragement. It is a blessing and an honor to write this post for you and Molly. xo
And one side thank you: Cwizzle and Awhite thank you for being our weekend companions. We cherished those solid life chats.