Getting a perfect picture

Wedding pictures … flaws and all, I am officially, old-fashioned and completely out of step with the times – and see no reason to get in step. A recent letter to Dear Abby from a professional wedding coordinator described two starkly different weddings she supervised inside of a month. The first came straight from a fashion magazine with petite, stunning bridesmaids and groomsmen that looked like models – and with behavior that verified that they valued appearance above all else. The wedding coordinator learned that all of the attendants had been hired from the couple’s health club to assure the pictures would look good.
The other wedding contrasted sharply. From the beginning the bride asked that the wedding be arranged to sensitively and comfortably to accommodate her wheel-chair bound, terminally-ill cousin who was a bridesmaid. The wedding party would not make any fashion magazine, but it was a meaningful, memorable day. The wedding coordinator concluded that some are too selfish to understand what a wedding ceremony really celebrates.
Being in the midst of preparing for my daughter’s wedding, still inundated with pictures from my son’s wedding last year and anticipating another wedding in the next year or two, I have some definite ideas of what weddings are all about. For one thing, the wedding is not the couple’s day to dress up, have a big party and get a lot of gifts. Sometimes it happens that way, but it is not the definition of a wedding. I bring up the point because I keep coming across couples who have moved in together, set up housekeeping and are buying everything together – except a marriage license because, “we are waiting until we can afford a big wedding.” Others have said, “We will get married – some day, we just can not afford it right now. … or are not ready.” The funniest excuse I have heard was, “My family would kill me if I got married now.”
I would kill my children if they moved in with their fiancee’ before they got married. Well, not literally, but I would let them know that I was extremely disappointed with their decision and remind them that the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:9, “But, if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. ”
I like a big party as much as anyone, but I will celebrate just as joyously at a small celebration as a large. Through the last couple years of engagements and weddings, I have repeatedly said that a wedding ceremony is the celebration and public vow of support and encouragement of family and friends as a man and woman commit themselves to each other.
My daughter has picked up on my vibes. Last summer as we watched a wedding processional last year with a shy, hesitant flower girl and blasé ring bearer, my daughter leaned over and whispered to me, “That is what I want, a wedding with lots of little kids.” She has figured out a way to do just that. Her six young nieces and a nephew have silent roles in the processional. The older ones have more responsible tasks, as do a couple of her big brothers and her fiancee’s brother, sister and cousins. We won’t be hiring any attendants to make the pictures look good. The best pictures are those of family and friends.
That is as it should be. My daughter and her fiancé are two flawed humans who have chosen to make a permanent, binding commitment to each other – in good picture taking times as well as bad. The rest of us are there to assure them the pictures look great.