having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic
'Surreal' is the perfect word to describe the experience of attending my cousin's wedding on Sat.
Spouse & I picked up my aunt Mary on our way to the wedding, which was held at a country club. The itinerary called for a 30-minute ceremony, followed by cocktail hour on the veranda, followed by the dinner/reception.
As we entered the foyer Spouse whispered "I see your parents". I could feel my heart rate increase immediately. As aunt Mary finished signing the guest book my mother greeted her with a hug and they began to chat a bit. In the meantime I quickly wrote mine and Spouse's names in the guestbook and then busied myself with asking the young woman handing out programs where the ceremony was being held. She pointed to the area and Spouse & I walked that way immediately.
We ran into a couple named Fran & Dolph who were old family friends and stopped to chat with them for several minutes. Before we could get to the safety of our seats, I saw 3 of my cousins (brothers of the bride) and we greeted each other and chatted for a few minutes. Next thing I knew, an usher was asking us to take our seats as the wedding was to begin shortly. We caught up with aunt Mary at the entrance to the ceremony room and the 3 of us took seats on the bride's side, 2 rows behind my parents and my middle sister and her husband.
Fear of rejection kept me from daring to make eye contact with them, so I pretended to adjust my camera for several minutes, then read the entire wedding program twice over. Finally the music changed and the procession began.
My cousin was stunningly beautiful and radiant. As she and her fiance repeated their vows I secretly wished it were me and Spouse taking wedding vows. The traditional "You may kiss your bride" moment, which has always puzzled me.
After the ceremony ended everyone was escorted to the veranda while the club employees moved the chairs from the ceremony room to the tables in the dining/reception room. Mary, Spouse & I had lovely passed hors d'oeuvres as we waited for the bar line to subside. My cousin Ashley's mother-in-law agreed to take a picture of us.
Mary was talking with some people I didn't know so Spouse suggested I get in the bar line and bring us back drinks, so I did. After introducing myself to two young women in front me in line, I was caught off-guard when my parents appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, drinks in hand. I had not seen them at the bar ahead of me.
After dinner, as the traditional father/daughter dance and bouquet toss occurred, my sister found her way over to our table to hug me again and tell me how much she'd missed me. And while I was happy with such a warm reception from her and my parents, a tiny voice inside me wanted to banish all the happiness and shout at them in anger. I knew their religious beliefs forbid associating with me and others who leave or are kicked out of the religion, and their strict adherence to that was never a surprise to me. But as the hugs and smiles kept coming, part of me wanted to shake them by the shoulders and say "This is how things could be for us all the time!!!"
The wedding cake, in the shape of the Eiffel Tower where the happy couple became engaged, was cut and served.
Crush du Jour: Aurelio Marks