Today is our 40th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it has been that long and yet when I look back at all we have shared and done together I can count up 40 years of many good things and experiences for sure.
I looked at the photos taken at our wedding and considered scanning one of them, but I have done that before. I decided, instead to use this faded snapshot, taken at my parents house after the wedding. We were hamming it up trying to look like an old-timey couple on their wedding day. Now we are an old timey couple and don't even have to try. I look at this picture, though, and remember that after the nervous-making formal part of the ceremony was over, we had a lot of fun celebrating with our families and friends. I think it is important to have fun at your own wedding. I go to some weddings these days and wonder if the couple is so stressed by all the many details and fanciness of the occasion that they are missing out on the fun the rest of us are having. Weddings have changed in 40 years. Ours was at the Methodist Church we went to and was followed by a reception in the church's Fireside Room. Cake, mints, nuts, punch and coffee were served. The cake was ordered from the super market and the Methodist ladies made and served the coffee and punch. We had little napkins printed with our names and the date. There was a guest book the guests signed. My sorority sisters encircled Ray and me and sang to us.
I made my dress and I had a Maid of Honor—my sister Becky and a Matron of Honor—my best friend, Kathleen, who also loaned me her veil. (Imagine—two of us wore the goofy thing!) They wore cranberry red dresses made from the same pattern as my dress. Most wedding gowns, back then, had long sleeves in winter and cap sleeves in the summer. No one wore strapless wedding gowns.
After we all cleared out of the church, the families and closest friends gathered at my parents' house for one of my Mom's incredible buffet dinners and bottles and bottles of my Dad's fabulous homemade wine. The house was crammed full of people we loved and who loved us. Ray and I sat in the family room and opened gifts amid hoots and applause and lots of laughing—"oh wonderful! Another fondue pot!—just what you needed!" We finally got ourselves together and drove off to our budget honeymoon in Salt Lake City, leaving our guests standing out in the street whistling and whooping and waving their wineglasses in the air. Honestly, we hated to miss the rest of the party.
Forty years later we remember that great day and how loved we felt. I know that the people who were with us that day are still with us—many in spirit only—and it has been an important part of our lives together. Friends. Family. That is really all there is of any great importance. Ray is my best friend and my family and has been those two things from the beginning. Happy Anniversary to us!