On Saturday, I went to a wedding.
It was actually a ring ceremony, the couple having been married previously, by Queen Latifah. Seriously: at the Grammys. So this was a kind of ‘reading each other our vows’ kind of thing, an exchange of rings, followed by a reception. But it was really lovely, just a beautiful event. Many many tears were shed, a few of them by a sentimental old fool of an uncle. That would be me: my nephew Spencer was half of the marrying couple, marrying Dustin, a wonderful guy we have all grown to love.
The ring ceremony was held at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake, a place I had never previously visited. It’s sort of an open square, with a small conference center in the middle, next to the skating rink. The skating rink alarmed me, passing it; I had a brief moment of panic, wondering if we would be expected to skate. I never could ice skate, not even a little bit, and I think if I were try to it today I would just, you know, die. But no; we were in a nice reception room, with lots of exceedingly uncomfortable chairs, just like most weddings have.
I got there way early. My son and I had gone out to dinner, but he needed to go home and change, and his apartment is not handicapped accessible, so he dropped me off. So I got there in time to watch Betty Who practice. Betty Who’s song “Somebody Loves You” had provided the music for Spencer’s Home Depot proposal video, a video that had gone viral and made Spencer and Dustin famous. She had become friends with them, and was singing at the ceremony. She finished practicing, and I ended up chatting briefly with her; mostly a ‘you sing beautifully,’ ‘thanks!’ kind of conversation. She was lovely; gracious and humble.
Other guests began arriving. My wife and daughters came; my son showed up, now dressed appropriately. The reception hall filled up. Everyone wearing their finest, looking happy. As always with wedding events, I knew approximately a third of the people there.
Music started up. First, an instrumental version of Christina Perri’s lovely “A Thousand Years.” We didn’t hear the lyrics, obviously, but I know the song well, and rehearsed them in my mind: “I have died, everyday, waiting for you, darling; don’t be afraid, I have loved you, for a thousand years, loved you for a thousand years.” Beautiful lyric, beautiful song, and perfect for the event. As the music played, members of the wedding party started coming down the aisles, in pairs. Lots of them; this couple is very loved, by many people.
Then, another instrumental; this time, the music introduction to Macklemore’s “Same Love,” the song played at the Grammies when they were married there. Again, a wonderfully appropriate selection. The lyrics may have seemed tendentious to some, but this was just the music; perfect.
Finally, Betty Who sang. Her song, “Somebody Loves You” is an upbeat dance groove; for the wedding, she sang it like a ballad, just guitar and vocal. It was . . . I’m running out of synonyms for beautiful. Check a thesaurus: it was radiant. Exquisite, lovely. Resplendent.
As she sang, Spencer and Dustin came down the aisle. They read their vows to each other. And I think probably both of them would say that they’re not writers, not eloquent, but I thought both vows were eloquent and simple and perfect. Heartfelt. I can’t remember all they said, but I do remember Spencer saying ‘I will always be kind,’ and I know he will be, he is, that’s him, that’s Spencer. A kind man, a gentle man, a joyous and generous man. He was weeping, and then Dustin read his vows, promising to be tender with Spencer’s heart, and maybe he was weeping more, and so was I and so were Spencer’s sisters, standing there, and so was everyone else.
And then they were done. And we sat there a little, not sure where to go, not wanting, really, for the feeling to pass. And the reception was in another building, and we went, and there was dancing. But hardly any chairs, and the ones there were uncomfortable, and so we left. I don’t really dance anymore.
But it didn’t matter. We’d seen something lovely, we’d been part of something splendid and human and real and moving. Two wonderful human beings joining their lives together forever. And I thought; if ever there was a time to just be happy for people. Just a time to be joyful. Completely, wholly, uncomplicatedly, unambiguously happy.