I got a wedding invitation in the mail today. It made me cry. But not for the reasons one would expect. I'm not terribly lonely, fearing being eaten by cats (no matter how much I may joke about it). I don't believe that it's a fruitless, punishing pursuit that's doomed to fail. It didn't even make me feel particularly old to know that this childhood friend was buying a house and tying the knot. (Having been there, done that two and three years ago, respectively, may have skewed my expectations there).
It was actually tear-inducing because it was so earnest. Simple. Traditional. Hopeful. In so many ways the opposite of my own. I think we got married partly as a lark. Sure, it was expected that we'd do it, but we were young and decided to eschew tradition, do our own thing. He proposed over the phone. My man of honour wore sneakers. I wore gold instead of white. The White Stripes played us down the garden path - there were to be no churches. We were funky and avant garde, or so we thought.
The few bits of traditional were imposed by our families and, in some smaller part, by me, because at heart I was (and still am) a hopeless romantic who just someday wants what my parents have - a partner in crisis, sure, but also someone who you just like having around. Someone you can idle away a morning with sitting with a cup of tea and still call the day a success.
There is nothing alternative about this couple. Their wedding is no surprise, as mine was. I was expected to put career before marriage (which in some ways I still did, perhaps accelerating my status as a 25-year-old divorcee).
Theirs will be the perfect, traditional east coast affair. There will be a church, and a legion. Things we sneered at, as though they were too precious, too predictable.
I'm sure I'll cry at their wedding. Because, despite the fact that I threw a gorgeous, fun party, it will be the wedding I kind of always expected I would have. Because when they say forever, they're earnestly hoping for it, rather than just assuming forever is a right. Because they mean every single flourish on that invitation, every bow tied with every single length of ribbon, and every single syllable of every (anticipated to be lengthy and drawn out) selection of scripture. Because, for them, it will last, and that's a really beautiful thing.