I had the honor and privilege of being a groomsman in three weddings of my best friends over the past six weeks. For an introvert like me, it has taken a lot of emotional fortitude to run the wedding marathon over the past couple months, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The opportunity to stand beside three of the closest friends I’ve had across so many seasons of my life is an honor I will always cherish deeply.
But as someone who is naturally bent to analyze situations and people, I found myself more than once looking at each wedding asking the question, “What am I taking away from this?” For most people, this is the last thing on their mind. They’re there to celebrate, party, dance, and have fun (more on that in a minute), which is absolutely the point of a wedding. But, for some reason still unbeknownst to me, God wired me in a way that always takes a step back to look at the big picture and ask “What can I learn from this?” And as I reflected over these past couple months I learned so much from each couple from planning bachelor parties to rehearsal directions to photographer shot lists to proper wedding attire. But the more I thought about each event the more very specific things came to mind that left lasting impressions about their beautiful days.
1. Celebrate, Enjoy, and Dance (Alex and Lindsay Allison)
A wedding is supposed to be a joyful celebration of two people choosing to love each other for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the perfect day the Bride has dreamed of for years and years and years might not always turn out the way she dreamt it would. There are so many variables that take months of planning, and even when the day arrives there are things you can’t predict or control. Whether it be the weather, family feuds, or unexpected hiccups in the ceremony, there are a lot of things that have to happen for it all the be deemed a “success.” But, the reality is, once the formality of the ceremony is done, the “I Do”‘s are said, and the processional has ended, you better bet there will be celebrating going on. All the months of work have paid off and now it’s time to let loose and have fun… and maybe even dance.
Alex and Lindsay personified celebrate, enjoy, and dance, and it’s beautiful because it just fits their personalities so perfectly. You wouldn’t expect anything less from two individuals who have never met a stranger in their entire life. Their night was less about them and more about the party. That meant phenomenal food, a fantastic outdoor atmosphere, and a crowded dance floor. Even if you’re not one for dancing, there’s something about dragging people on to a dance floor to make a fool of themselves that just puts a smile on everyone’s face. And to see the Bride and Groom laughing and smiling as they were surrounded by people enjoying the evening was a picturesque moment of inviting others into a moment to share.
Thank you, Alex and Lindsay, for inviting me to celebrate, enjoy… and dance.
2. Jesus-Filled, not God-Centered (Kyle and Lindsay Wilson)
I have to begin with a disclaimer: all of the weddings I attended were very intentionally focused on Jesus. Each one had very specific yet unique elements that pointed to both the Bride and Groom’s faith and how important it is in their marriage moving forward. However, I knew Kyle and Lindsay the best (as a couple) and have personally seen how each put Jesus first in everything. Of course, when you do that on your own, it naturally spills out into your relationship. But one thing I saw differently in Kyle and Lindsay was that God was not the center of their relationship. Jesus filled their relationship. The difference is focus. When something is the center everything else revolves around it; when it’s filled everything can’t help but touch it. The reality is our relationship with Jesus is not supposed to be the center in which everything in our life spins around on an axis. It is supposed to be the substance that touches each and every area of our life so that no matter who you interact with some little bit of Jesus rubs off on them.
Kyle and Lindsay are a perfect example of how keeping a Jesus-filled relationship blossoms into a Jesus-filled marriage that touches everyone they come in contact with no matter the situation. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting them, you would see this. The way they both care about each other, the people they surround themselves with, and the way they love others so well is such a beautiful picture of what it looks like to have Jesus touch every area of your life.
Thank you, Kyle and Lindsay, for displaying a Jesus-filled relationship so well to me.
3. Honor Those Who Helped You Get There (Ryan and Morgan O’Dell)
A wedding is a culmination of sorts. You spend years of your life trying to figure out how to do relationships. From those awkward middle school crushes to the confusing college relationships, there are people who have walked alongside you during the good times and the bad. They have sat on the couch and ate tubs of ice cream, and they have congratulated you on working up the courage to ask her out. Others have listened for hours on the phone talk about the same subjects over and over again; while others have given tough love and advice that is sometime too hard to hear. Regardless, there are people who have walked alongside who have seen us grow, mature, make mistakes, get hurt, get back up, and move on. Without them, we end up staggering around wounded, hurt, and dejected. But when we cross the threshold and look towards the future with the person who compliments us, it is a shame not to look back and appreciate the people who invested in and loved us to that point.
Ryan and Morgan honored their friends and family so well. Both chose their siblings Maid of Honor and Best Man. The people who have known them the longest stood in a place of honor the whole day. They also chose friends that had been influential in their lives from across seasons. Some were friends from high school and others friends from college. Some had known them for over a decade, others less than four years. But, regardless of the amount of time, the honor they showed to their wedding party spoke louder than words because they chose people who made an impact on their life to stand with them in one of the most important moments in theirs.
Thank you, Ryan and Morgan, for honoring me and allowing me the privilege to stand with you.
I know there are a hundred more things I learned from each wedding, but these three things stuck out because they seemed to encapsulate each couple’s relationship and give a trajectory for their marriage to come. They were the three things I was inspired by and challenged to live up to as I continue my journey towards marriage.
So that one day, my wedding would somehow be as big of a celebration as Alex and Lindsay’s, my marriage as Jesus-filled as Kyle and Lindsay’s, and my platform used to honor those that helped get me there as much as Ryan and Morgan.
If I can follow the lead set by my friends who have gone before me and I do half as well as them, I think I’ll be doing alright.