I found myself in a new role as I waited at the back of the church ready to walk my daughter down the aisle. Although I was mentally prepared for the ceremony, I found myself welled up with many emotions. Being the Father-of-the-Bride was a different adventure from being the Officiant.
I posted on Weddzilla in April about the legal issues that were being surmounted for my daughter’s wedding in the UK. We arrived in London and, despite jet lag, set immediately out to help our daughter, Alaina, with last-minute preparations for both the Church of England legal wedding for May 11 and the hand-fasting commitment ceremony on May 15. We chatted with some vendors, got some last-minute supplies and most importantly, hunted down a dress for Sweetheart.
At the Church, I chitchatted with the Vicar before the wedding about performing wedding ceremonies. He was a delightful chap. When I accompanied Alaina down the aisle â€“ I lost the bet â€“ I cried first. I was hit with an unexpected wave of emotion from this simple act that I’ve seen done so many times. Now I know why the parents are in tears when they get to me at the front. It was the symbol of our girl growing up and making her way in the world. It was as it should be â€“ a passage â€“ leaving us for her future.
We made our way to the Isle of Wight where Alaina and her groom, Tallis, had rented a villa for the commitment ceremony. The night before the wedding, I had a father/daughter/future-son-in-law talk. My only advice was to not leave a bottle of wine open too long, because it will go bad. I did wish them lots of love, hope for the future and happiness together. We all got mushy and cried and hugged.
I started the ceremony by welcoming everyone, as we had all come from afar â€“ traveling by plane, train, automobile and boat to get here. I was not nervous as I read through the ceremony. I was so full of happy emotion that I stammered a lot. Alaina and Tallis read their own vows. All I could see through the tears streaming down my face was the tissue box being passed around among the gathering of 24 good friends and family. After the kiss, there was one heck of a good party that continued â€˜til the early morning hours.
Our daughter has grown up, and we are proud of her. Her mate is a fellow I call my son (not in-law), because I love him muchly. In aging, I begin to more deeply understand what I read when I was younger. Sweetheart and I recalled a poem by Kahlil Gibran on children. â€œYour children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.â€ It is with gladness that we’ve bent the bow to let our living arrows fly.