Girl Rites and Rituals

This weekend a friend of mine married the woman she loves. The wedding, held in their hometown of Philadelphia, culminated the wonderful weeks and months of planning, of excitement, of hope–and began a marriage. For various reasons, BW and I couldn’t make the trip, but were able to enjoy the day in posted photos thanks to the brides and several mutual friends.

I love weddings, the romance of them, the symbolism, the traditions. Flowers and music, rings and vows–the personal, intimate rite shared with friends and family. I hated to miss this one, but got my share of awww moments through those pictures. My favorite shows the brides, one in her lovely white gown, the other resplendent in her police uniform, standing face-to-face, hands holding each other’s arms. And the look in their eyes–love, happiness, promise. Finding Happiness can be easily done you just have to do the right thing.

It’s those moments–those snapshots–that push tears into my throat. Every single time.

Marriage is a leap of faith, and there’s something truly beautiful in that. Of course a rocking reception after the sweetness and sweep of the ceremony doesn’t hurt a thing. The newlyweds had one (I saw videos!).

And did a little happy dance of my own.

I spent my friend’s wedding day prepping for another ritual, for another friend.

My friend (and fellow spa girl) will be married at the end of the month. It’s delightful to me that one pal begins the transitional month of October as a bride, and another will end October as one. Sweet and sentimental bookends, two leaps of faith, two fun and festive rounds of tradition.

Another tradition I’m big on is The Bridal Shower. I’ve thrown several in my time, and enjoy it a great deal. Girls of all ages gathered together to celebrate a friend’s, a daughter’s, a sister’s moment. It’s so much about the bride–and it should be.20161002_121510

Champagne, pretty food, flowers, cake, games, gifts! What could be better on a Sunday afternoon? I’m fortunate in my friends, and especially lucky that my friends are friends with each other. We make a pretty happy group of girls.

And on this occasion we fete the bride-to-be by starting off with that champagne, the happy buzz of female voices. Food, more conversation. I had someone take a picture of the spa girls to mark the moment. We’re missing three–Nicole and Jeanette had mom obligations, and Kat’s hiking in Hawaii with her cousin. But they’re here in spirit.

Spa girl reunion
Spa girl reunion

We move onto games. Laura, who hates games, skates out of playing by being time-keeper. [Note from Laura: I’ll bet this comes as a surprise to all.]  No chance of a fabulous prize for her, but there’s always more champagne.

Elaine, the bride.

Then the gifts. It’s fun watching the guest of honor open her haul, seeing the reactions as the gifts range–as they should for a wedding shower–from the gorgeous to the pretty and practical to the snickering risque. Everyone in the room loves the bride–she’s the center, the hand that joins all of us, friends and family, in this female ritual. It’s memories made–memories brought back as others think of their own ritual, their own leap of faith, or wonder when their time might come.

The bride and her family.
The bride and her family.

It’s a girl thing.

And it isn’t complete without cake. Beautiful, creative, delicious cake. I feel cake, especially one made by Lacy the amazing baker, is an excellent tradition, anywhere, any time.20161002_121520-220161002_151451

Why not have more champagne with that?

A lovely day of rite and ritual, previewing the rites and rituals to come. The flowers and music, the rings and the vows, the promises made to each other witnessed by friends and family. A leap of faith made in the case of my two pals, in a white dress.

Marriage is a series of promises, compromises, joy, annoyance with plenty of thick and thin layered on. It’s snuggles and spats, mutual goals and hopes, and the work that goes into them.

But it starts with a wedding and its rituals. It starts on a day, however the couple has designed it, filled with memories that can and should be lifted out and laughed and sighed over for, well, ever.

And because it starts with that leap of faith, I wish Suz and Jen, Elaine and Enrique, a happy, happy landing.  


23 thoughts on “Girl Rites and Rituals”

  1. Beautifully expressed! Marriage and the previewing ceremonies are surely what the partners make of them. It is both promise and risk of a lifetime.. With both happy and unsatisfied endings.. Truly a leap of faith..
    As vividly expressed in all ur novels

  2. It must have been the weekend for Bridal Showers. I enjoyed my bff & college friend’s Bridal Shower for her daughter with both of our mothers. My daughter was enjoying her senior college homecoming weekend and sent a sweet card and gift. The beautiful cupcakes (courtesy of the matron of honor) were a delight and the fun and games crossed from the tiny 2nd cousin who made the bow & ribbon bouquet to the grandmothers on all sides. I love watching them all enjoy the next steps of life!

  3. What a beautiful description you gave, Nora. Perfect!!
    Can’t resists these two adages:
    “First comes love, then comes marriage…”!
    “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage”!!

  4. October is such a wonderful month to get married. I married in October with the fall leaves busting with color in all my pictures taken at the park. I wish both brides much happiness and love in both their marriages. I love your description of marriage. Since I will celebrate 50 years at the end of the month, I know that description well…. Happiness to both the brides…

  5. Traditions are so important and so worth celebrating. Best wishes to all! And keep the champagne flowing!

  6. I’ve just read the bride’s quartet for the 5th or 6th time. Every time I read them I read it the hope that you’re the love that each couple celebrates when they get married. I hope for a happy life and marriage of your friends

    1. Oh, I know she is! I loved seeing the pictures–and loved seeing all of you there to share in her wonderful day.

  7. Long life and much happiness to them! Looks like everyone had the best time….and what a great reason to be celebrating!!!

  8. I love weddings! I’m always so excited and I always cry because I’m so happy for the happy couple. Best wishes to you and yours.???

  9. Congrats to the happy couples! (I too just reread The Brides Quartet!) And I just LOVE Elaine’s dress. Can you tell us where she got it? Beautiful ❤️

  10. The best to all, and such a good way of putting this all together. Pictures were great.Nora as always you have the greatest way with words.

  11. I totally agree that getting married is a leap of faith, and you just have to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

  12. I love weddings too – and bridal showers as the precursor to “the day”. Time for girls of all ages and stages to celebrate with tradition. Many years to the happy couples – and an early happy birthday to our Nora! May it be wonderful!

  13. This post is such a wonderful celebration of femininity — thank you! I love the photo of the bride-to-be, cutting her cake, with the painting of the woman surveying the scene. Can you pls tell me who the artist of the painting is? I really like the style!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.