I can honestly say I’ve had more fun at family weddings than should be allowed. Perhaps it’s because family weddings are the only occasions where my husband dances with me (albeit poorly) and where I have permission to drink just a bit too much. Josh’s little brother, David, married his best friend, Jodi, at a seamless and beautiful private ceremony at Fredrick Meijer Gardens on Saturday. I enjoyed getting dolled up with LeeAnn and Lindsey (sister-in-law-types), taking scenic photos amidst sculptures and breathtaking gardens. I also enjoyed slopping some pig roast on my plate at the skating rink reception with neon lights and disco music. This day contained so many juxtapositions (as most weddings do), but only a Vugteveen wedding could contain moments like these:
Some Thoughts on Josh’s Brothers:
They all differ from each other so drastically, it’s almost hard to believe they grew up in the same house. But, there are always common denominators that connect on the deepest, and most humorous, of levels. The skating rink brought out the boyishness in all four of them (Ben not pictured), and it’s delightful for me to watch him interact with his siblings from a distance. They have profound amounts of respect for each other, and I believe they build each other up without even realizing it. I can’t speak for the other three, but when Josh spends time with his brothers all together, he is deeply content and outspokenly grateful.
Some thoughts on marriage:
I expressed to Dave and Jodi how I was pleasantly surprised at their choice of pastor because he was boldly scriptural. Wedding vows contain more power than we realize, I think. Listening to their “Until death parts us” line, I couldn’t help but weep. Mostly because I have the privilege of witnessing the commitment of two people, the bond that exists so deeply within us that our awareness is merely a shadow of what is truly there. I was proud of David and Jodi because I believe that their yearnings for each other, their desire for a long and healthy marriage, and their youthful adoration of each other was all tangibly evident.
I don’t know if any bride and groom (including myself and Josh) can truly comprehend the journey that marriage is; we pledge to stay on the same path without knowing where, in fact, it will take us. We’re beautifully naive. Listening to the wedding vows was like hearing the bull horn at the starting line of a marathon. It was invigorating, personal, and unnerving; and it demanded my full attention and support. I’m committed to cheering on David and Jodi through the hardest courses and unanticipated turns that life will inevitably throw at their marriage, and I can’t help but feel grateful for those who are on my sidelines, cheering for me as Josh and I run our race together.
Some Thoughts on Family:
It’s difficult to discuss trivial matters at a wedding because two people–who everyone is supposed to love and support–just made the greatest commitment of their entire lives, making bonds on spiritual and legal levels that involve their entire persons. It is also impossible to have a wedding without some type of familial impact, whether it be between actual people, values, histories, lifestyles, faiths, or anything else that is definitively personal. Weddings bring everything we are and everything we love to the surface; and on some level, we’re all exposed to one another and brought closer. This can be painful sometimes but it can also be refreshing, funny, and even freeing.
Dave and Jodi’s skating rink wedding was the perfect setting for my in-laws to bring their entire selves forward, and the impact resulted in laughs, jokes, tears, stories, memories, and a big ‘ol pig roast. I couldn’t be more happy for my brother-in-law, my new sister-in-law, and for the joy that their special day contained for us all.