Monday, February 12, 2007

What makes a GREAT wedding?

Yesterday we went to the wedding of my niece Janna to her beloved Sam. It was one of the best weddings I have been to. And that has me wondering – what makes a wedding good?

Cupcake Wedding Cake – very now!

Well, all the basics were there – everything went smoothly, there were no gaffs or glitches. The ceremony was outdoors and it didn’t rain, despite a thunderstorm at first light. The reception was in beautiful rooms and the food and service were good.

Beyond that, the wedding had the two main elements that make a wedding great –
  • It conveyed the messages of love and commitment in ways that really touched us and reminded us of our own promises to love each other. The ceremony, set on beautiful Sydney Harbour in view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, was so uplifting and full of feeling that we were filled with joy.
  • It was was beautifully stylish. Janna chose palest pink and chocolate brown as the key colours and she mixed the formal elements (speeches, wedding waltz, etc) with youthful fun (cupcakes and thongs).
We couldn’t have been happier to be part of it. One guest was heard to say, “It’s the best wedding I’ve been to. Including my own.”

Janna and Sam cut the cake, so to speak!

Weddings in Tanzania are similarly joyful affairs. Jacky describes the wedding of Felix and Nembrus. Felix drives one of the St Jude’s buses, and Jacky was volunteering at the School in 2006 when he got married.

Felix and Nembrus

Their wedding started with family members singing and dancing Maasai-style outside the church. The wonderful service, full of singing and blessings, lasted about an hour was followed by a blessing in their new home, a two-room house next to his parents home. Jacky describes the next part of proceedings which took place back at the church.

Now it was time for the giving of gifts. People lined up all the way down the aisle and out the door of the church with their gifts. All different things from Maasai blankets and different types of local material, to pots and plates. When they got up to the bridal table they handed their gift to the brides maid and then shook hands with and blessed the newly married couple. My little gift was a locally made red shirt (for the driver of the little red bus) and a Swahili/English Dictionary. Felix loves speaking English and would love to help his wife to learn how to speak English.

Weddings are one of the great milestones of our lives, when we stand up with our community of family and friends to make our commitment to the positive virtues of love and loyalty. At Janna’s wedding, the celebrant made a point of acknowledging the families who raised Janna and Sam to be adults who appreciate these enduring values.

The School of St Jude gives strong support to these moral values for the 850 children who attend. This support is especially important for those children whose families have been fractured by disease, accident or poverty. Those of us who live in countries of plenty have an obligation to help support the great strengths of love and loyalty in the next generation of children who are growing up in extreme poverty.

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