Many of you know that I went to Missouri last weekend to see the family, but mostly to watch my brother officiate his first wedding. The girl getting married has grown up in our home church and I’d call her and her entire family family friends. The newlywed husband works for my brother in his landgrading business. My mom was helping to cook for and serve at the rehearsal dinner and reception, my dad was doing the sound during the ceremony, and even I somehow ended up helping to serve cake.
Because of the photographer’s ineptness, no pictures were taken before the ceremony, even though the bride had requested such. (I don’t have many good things to say about this photographer. He was lazy, not dressed appropriately, and didn’t work during the reception, he just ate. And because of his refusal to do any pictures until AFTER the reception, the bride and groom didn’t eat in fear of getting food on their clothes. BAD PHOTOGRAPHER!) Anyway, because of his stupidity, when it finally came time to throw the bouquet and garter, most of the guests had already left. So, the word came downstairs to where we were cleaning up from the reception that our presence was requested upstairs for this silly little tradition.
And basically, that’s when everything got really awkward. Because the single people in the room consisted of me (the 30-year-old spinster, apparently), a fourth grader, a high school student who didn’t want to participate, and the maid of honor who at least seemed to have a boyfriend. To make matters worse, a woman I’ve known most of my life began telling everyone to back away from me, that they wanted me to catch the bouquet. That it was about time I got married. Even my mom was joining in the cheers and my brother was laughing. Meanwhile, I sort of wanted to melt into the carpet and disappear. Because this was awkward. Embarrassing. Putting attention on me that I’d rather not have. Needless to say, Bridesmaid caught the bouquet and everyone shut up.
I have never, ever, except maybe when I was about 10 years old, enjoyed this tradition. I always feel awkward and stupid. I’m not that girl who is knocking others out of the way in the belief that catching that bouquet means you’ll get married next. Actually, there’s a picture somewhere from a friend’s wedding in which I was a bridesmaid and HAD to participate in the silly tradition and someone took a picture of the group of “single ladies” (you go, Beyonce!) and I’m standing there looking slightly bored, arms by my side, talking to someone as the bouquet sails through the air. That pretty much captures my attitude toward that little tradition.
I know my mom and all those people who watched me grow up want the best for me. My mom one time even confessed that she wanted to see me happily married so that she knew that I would always be taken care of, which is a sweet idea when you think about it. But marriage for whatever reason hasn’t happened for me yet, and sometimes I get tired of the constant hammering on it by the older ladies in my home church and sometimes even my family. Sometimes, when you’re 30 years old and not married, people begin to talk about you like you have a disease, especially if you happen to be female. “Look at her,” they whisper when you walk by. “She’s not married. And she’s 30!”
So, for all you single ladies out there, remember that being single isn’t the end of the world. Your self-worth isn’t dependent on whether you’re someone’s husband or someone’s mother. It’s dependent on who you are in Christ. It’s dependent on all the little things that make you special. For those of us who deeply desire to have a family of our own, weddings can be sad reminders of what we don’t have. My advice: don’t spend your time dwelling on that. You have this one moment and then it’s gone. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, morbid as it sounds. And I’d rather live today to the fullest instead of mourning something I don’t have.