My dear friend Carol got married this past weekend. A huge milestone for her, and a huge milestone for her friends. At the risk of sounding like my mother, I feel compelled to say that the entire affair was "lovely." I hate that word on the grounds that I am 30 years too young to be using it, but "lovely" it truly was. The bride was radiant. Carol always lights up a room, so that was par for the course. But seeing the doors to the sanctuary open and seeing her in her gown, holding her father's arm, beaming and looking so beautiful, I had to get that thing out of my eye that was making it water...because, again, I am 30 years too young to be crying at weddings. ;)
Some parts of the reception seemed to happen in made-for-TV slow motion. At one point, I was sitting between Neil and Jon and JMW, looking across the table at Julie, Nicole and Jeff, and beyond them at the center table, the bride and groom, and I just felt my heart swell. Everything went slo-mo, as I looked at each person and consciously made the decision to Remember This Exact Moment forever. I felt so very blessed and so very happy to be there, with these friends, at this time, in this place.
The groom was charmingly nervous before--and charmingly relieved after--the ceremony. The mother of the bride looked fabulous. And, most delightfully, the father of the bride was deliriously happy at the reception, as all fathers-of-brides ought to be.
Seeing Carol's dad having such a good time after being so pensive and quiet before the ceremony made me think about the peculiar burden of the Father of the Bride. As a daughter, sister, and even a future mother, I have no inkling of the specific responsibilities of The Father of the Bride. Okay, I guess I have an inkling in the sense that my dad was an awesome dad. But at the moment of a daughter's wedding, I will never be able to truly fathom what the dad must feel. My dad said it is the hardest thing a man ever does: to walk his baby girl down the aisle--the little girl he has rejoiced over and worried over and sweat blood to protect and love and educate and keep safe from dirty-minded 15 year old boys--and put her hand in the hand of the man to whom he now entrusts that baby girl's life, fortune and sacred honor.
No matter how much Dad likes The Guy, no matter how close Dad has become to The Guy, no matter how many beers Dad has had with The Guy, he still must literally and figuratively join his daughter to The Guy at the wedding, and therefore relinquish a significant element of his role in his daughter's life, at least as he understands it.
So with that in mind, I want to toast my beautiful friend and her wonderful husband, and I want to give a big, fat portion of respect and love to Carol's dad, who not only graciously gave his daughter's hand in marriage, but showed us all how to "play that funky music, white boy" on the dance floor!