Last week, Mr. Twistie and I attended a wedding. A month ago, we hadn’t expected to be there when Rob and Lara tied the knot. Why? Because they had originally planned a destination wedding in Hawaii with only immediate family and a couple of very carefully chosen friends.
Did we mind not making the cut? No. We’re very fond, of course, as are they, but we aren’t their closest friends by any means.
In the end, though, they wound up having a much larger wedding right here in California. It wasn’t their dream. So why did they change their plans?
In a word: Stephanie.
Stephanie was originally supposed to be Lara’s MOH. Stephanie has been battling cancer for some time now. A few weeks ago, she was declared terminal. In fact, her doctor gave her just weeks to live. She wasn’t going to make it to the original September date, let alone be well enough to travel.
A lot of couples at this point might have grieved that their friend wouldn’t be there, but not Rob and Lara. They entirely changed their plans. Best of all, every friend they have got involved in making their wedding happen in a matter of some three weeks.
One friend offered up her backyard as a venue. Others provided sunshades, tables, chairs, food, drink, bar tending skills, a sound system (that was Mr. Twistie and his songwriting partner), and everything needed for a wedding. Another friend performed the service (he’d been ordained in an online ministry). Invitations went out by word of mouth, and pretty much anyone who knew the bride, the groom, or Stephanie was welcome.
It was all very casual. Since the original plan was to marry on a beach in Hawaii, Hawaiian shirts and piratical gear were encouraged. Anybody who arrived in time helped with the set up. Anyone who stayed long enough helped with the cleanup.
The week before the wedding was a difficult one for Stephanie. Three days before the wedding, nobody was sure she was going to live long enough to attend. Somehow, though, she pulled through and found the strength to be there. She came in a borrowed wheelchair and beamed from the front row as Rob and Lara spoke their vows.
I don’t know how long Stephanie has. I do, however, know one thing. By choosing to make someone else their priority, Rob and Lara demonstrated the sort of generosity, flexibility, and compassion that makes for a long, happy marriage.
It may be a tad superfluous of me, but I wish them exactly that.