These days, people laugh when they see our wedding picture. And then they say mildly condescending things like, “You both look so young.” (Since we’re ancient now.) Or obligatory things like, “You look beautiful.” Or curious things like, “Where did you find brown tuxes? And those ties…? What’s up with your flowers?” Or honest things like, “Ha ha, that’s hilarious!”

{This picture, the one of us in a swift march outa there to the victorious and riotous sound of a pipe organ playing the Hallelujah chorus, that picture is my favorite. I look ecstatic and my husband looks satisfied. I think it may be the truest picture of us I’ve ever seen.}

I look at our wedding picture and I ask, “How did we—young, oddly-dressed, hippie-wanna-be, incredibly naïve us—get it so right? Surely we were not all that smart?” I look at my husband in his brown tux, specifically a brown cutaway with a very fussy striped cravat, and I wonder, “What did I see in him?” I don’t mean that there wasn’t anything to see, I mean that I did not have adequate wisdom to know exactly what I was seeing. How could I know what snagging him—him—was going to mean after we sailed down the aisle and even further down the road of life?

I couldn’t know it then, but that’s the glorious gamble of marriage. It can turn out a lot like a favorite wedding picture, a photograph that, for us, documents the thirty-five-year miracle God started on our wedding day. We got older than that picture, but because it happened slowly and simultaneously, we don’t mind all that much. Besides, if we squint just right (or take off our glasses) we can still see a part of the younger us when we look at each other now. Try it some day in your future, you’ll see.

The picture also records the mistakes of our wedding day, like the bouquet I told our florist could have almost anything in it except daisies or flowers dyed unnatural colors. What did I get? Daisies, dyed all kinds of fake colors found absolutely nowhere in nature. My bouquet looked radioactive. But the mistakes get eclipsed by the magic and meaning of your wedding day and they’re remembered later as funny jokes. Marriage, if you’ll let it, has plenty of magic and meaning in it to eclipse the many mistakes you’ll make and turn them into comedy.

And then there are the things you remember because they defined your day. We defied the stationer who told us he would not print our invitations unless we used the traditional wording in them. (Can you believe that?) We handed out little scrolls with a message in it to our guests . . . and this was “not done” back then. We asked the organist to blast out the Hallelujah chorus for our recessional in a classic overstatement that, again, was more than a little rebellious.

Remember, it was 35 years ago. Things were really different back then, and I can prove it. Just look at my wedding picture.

Kitti Murray,

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