And surely it was The Great Occasion of Sam's and Kip's lives.
The park was beautiful. The guests were beautiful. The wedding party was particularly beautiful. The bride and groom were almost too beautiful to look at.
The ceremony was moving. I didn't get to see the procession because it started, by design, while I wasdriving Samantha to the foot of the aisle in a convertible. I somehow managed to remember to walk around to the passenger side and open the door for her. Then I walked her up the aisle, feeling the joyful grin that was splitting my face.
The ceremony was written by Samantha's friend Karen, who officiated. Kip and Sam didn't know what Karen was going to say until she said it. The result was a ceremony that transcended that Hallmark moment that so often passes for weddings these days.
Karen talked about a marriage as part of a community, of the indispensability of support from friends and family, about the reality of marriage, even in times of trouble. She made them promise to stick it out when things got rough. She reminded them that their vows were being witnessed, the unspoken predicate being that they would be accountable not only to each other, but to everyone else present at the wedding as well.
It was way more than five minutes in front of a preacher. When it was over, it was clear that Karen had torqued down the head bolts, that this marriage was off to a solid start.
The flower girls nearly stole the show.
Part of the ceremony involved acknowledging Cassie as part of their union. Samantha gave her a heart pin as a symbol of their love. As Karen talked about bringing Cassie into our family, my granddaughter Kiely spontaneously put her arms around her, a total aawww moment.
Kip was the first to cry, standing there in front of everyone with Sam. This put him at the absolute top of my list of truly fine men.
In the photo below, Jean is directing her husband, a task for which she is well-practiced, thank God.
Jean's dress was perfect; elegant, but not overdressing the mothers of the bride and groom. I am wearing a tuxedo for the first time since I was a Junior in High School.
Besides walking my daughter down the aisle, I got to make the first toast to the new couple and to have the second dance with Mrs. Lockwood.
I know this is the dream of a lifetime for Kip and especially for Sam.
It was for her father, too.