There are three photos that show me what weddings in my family look like.
There is an old black and white photo in an album at my grandmother’s house of a stern looking woman seated in a wooden chair, proudly wearing a long white dress, buttoned all the way up. “Your great-grandmother,” my grandma always tells me, “was a very difficult woman. But she sure could sew!”
(My grandmother’s wedding was just a trip to the courthouse with my grandfather. “We were practical in those days. Also, we were broke.” There are no photos.)
My mother’s wedding was a backyard affair with someone playing acoustic guitar. It was small. There’s a snapshot of my mom grinning at the reception, wearing blue tie-dye shirt and slacks because she has always hated dresses. Interestingly, there are no photos of the wedding itself, because my uncle’s girlfriend at the time offered to be the photographer–but she forgot to put film in the camera. (“Christine…” my mom mumbles, remembering the long forgotten ex girlfriend, “or Christie. Or Kirsten. Or something. He dated three Chrisses in a row.”)
I remember my cousin Rachel’s wedding when I was fourteen. It was the second wedding I ever actually attended, and it was so dazzlingly beautiful that it made it into some kind of fancy town and country magazine. The photo that made it into the magazine itself is glorious, with the California wine country in the background, golden with sunlight, and Rachel grinning ear to ear as she skips back down the aisle towards the reception, a bouquet in one hand and brand new husband in the other. “That’s the side of my head!” my sister says when we look at the clipping, “right there in the corner!” She was nine at the time.
I wonder what my photos will look like. I wonder which ones will turn out to be those iconic photos that last for ages. I wonder what those photos will look like 15 years from now… or three generations from now. Who will be nine years old at the wedding? How will my great grandchildren be told to remember me? Who will forget to do something important?
I’m excited. I’m excited even for the problems, for the spilled wine and the streaked mascara. I’m excited for the bad photos, the awkward smiles and the blurriness. I’m excited for the stories. I’m excited for a moment to add to the generations of moments, for an image of messy happiness that will last maybe even longer than I will…
Lag B Blog day 24.