I think the first wedding I really remember was early 90's. Either my cousin's in 92 or a couple in our church around that same time. The cousin, I seriously had no idea he existed he was so much older than I was. When you're 8, someone in their 20's is ANCIENT. I don't remember a ton about the wedding except I liked the dress his sister, a bridesmaid, wore, and I didn't like his wife much for some inexplicable reason. They divorced within a couple years so maybe I was onto something.
The couple from our church had a daughter several years later (or maybe it just seemed like that to my skewed sense of time) and she's now a college sophomore, which is INSANE to me.
We went to lots of church couple weddings and as I grew up and showed a talent for piano, I started getting asked to play in them. Mostly it was family, and since my two brothers and sister had five weddings in about 4 years (December 1995 to June 1999) I got pretty good at it. I was playing at the Salvation Army church on Sundays when I was home from college and got asked to play for a couple who were getting married three days later. They didn't care what I played because they knew I'd play it well. I played in weddings for people I didn't know well at all, then started playing for friends' weddings. All were grateful and I viewed it as my gift to them so did my best.
Then I moved to Austin and it was more difficult to practice for the few weddings I was asked to play for. It wasn't that people didn't want me to, it was just that most of my friends were now married. I think my friend Amy's wedding was the last I played for in 2007. Crazy.
Then began the best phase of weddings: just attending as an adult. I love getting to go and see the couple and their joy and the happiness of their families. My favorite part is watching the groom see his bride for the first time. I don't look at her as she comes in, I look at him. I've seen tears a few times but every time he has a huge stupid "I've won the lottery" grin on his face. Then I swing around to her and usually see a similar look on her face. It's especially more poignant when one of them is an old friend.
Tonight, watching Paul and his new bride Brianna...was amazing. He's been in my life since before I have memories. His whole family has. I remember when we were literal babies and toddlers playing at my mom's office in the back room with the nanny hired to watch the employees kids, Paul and Caleb in the big round yellow crib Elijah is now sleeping in and Jacob, Taylor and I sitting on a built in cabinet "driving" cars. Jacob was much more mature and started the game with a regular car. Then Taylor said he had a car with 2 steering wheels, so I had to one-up them with a car with infinity steering wheels. I was a bad-ass like that. I remember climbing the weird cement fence in the back even though we were told not to probably a dozen times by our mothers and nanny.
Paul is younger, so I have more memories with Taylor and when he and his lovely fiance finally get married, I'll write about those, but Paul was always like another younger brother, but less annoying. I never remember him being annoying, which is weird. Other friends with younger siblings, I definitely remember thinking "can this kid just leave already?"
It's so strange to me to see the kids I grew up with or who were a few years younger than me hitting the period of their life where they're getting married and having babies. I know I'm 30 and married for 6 years with two kids, but I still feel like I'm MAYBE 20. I've been out of high school for nearly 12 years, out of college for 9...but I still find myself wondering what happened.
Adults who were kids seemingly yesterday are finishing college and dating seriously and getting married and having children. I remember when some of these kids were born, so that makes me feel old. I say practically every time that "I remember when you were..." which I'm sure annoys them because I know it annoyed the crap out of me whenever people said it to me when I was their age. (My parents stayed very close to the midwife who delivered me and she said "I remember the day you were born!" at practically every major event in my life.) They're always very sweet about it.
As I was giving Paul my congratulations and a hug, he told me they were honored that we came and that touched me. I'm honored that he wanted me there. I told him of course, he's practically family. Even if he's family I don't see much or talk to, I will always celebrate and grieve with him from afar. His mother is my mother and his family my extended family.
I am always honored to be invited to weddings and have rarely not gone to them. I can think of only a very few I didn't attend. The phase I'm most dreading is my kids' generation getting married. Luckily, that's at least 20 years away.
Paul seeing Brianna for the first time