There is really nothing quite like being a sponsoring parent of a young couple’s wedding. When else is it possible to gather family, dearest friends and neighbors, and your most talented friends and acquaintances in one place at one time all for the collective purpose of celebrating love and hope in such a beautiful, uplifting atmosphere?

While the planning process is driven for the most part by choices and preferences of the engaged couple, it is also a time to consider those people in your wider community circle and to plan ways to say “thank you” to everyone who has loved and supported your child throughout life. It is a time for this well-dressed, well-wishing community to express their blessing and support of the new couple as they begin their life journey together and for the glamorized couple to express their gratitude for the support and love shown to them by these beloved people. It is a uniquely beautiful, joyful and powerful celebration. As a parent of either the bride or the groom, it is intensely rewarding to see your child loved and accepted not just by your immediate family, but by a much broader group – many of whom you will meet on the wedding day! This is a joy quite outside of the joy of knowing your child found a loving and wonderful mate with whom to share life and grow old.

I spent the majority of today scouring photos from friends and family who may have taken pictures of my daughter’s wedding yesterday. I was not able to take many pictures myself and it is difficult in this age of instant gratification to wait for the professional photos that were taken and are forthcoming. Today was spent in the afterglow of what we enjoyed yesterday and in gratitude and hopeful prayer for the future.

While it would be tempting to experience the day-after as the end of a long journey to possibly the most memorable event you’ve ever planned, it is, indeed, the very beginning. We intentionally strive toward a strong beginning rather than working so hard toward a desired end. This perspective, I think, is the most helpful and correct way to view these milestone events of our lives.

[Photo credits: Denise Smith and Eric Bullock]