The dictionary definition of "Wedding" is: "the marriage ceremony with its attendant festivities." Pretty broad. (Or - I suppose one could say that's sometimes a feature of a wedding, a "pretty broad"; sorry, there's no excuse for that. I'm going to sit in time-out now, one minute for every year of my age. See you tomorrow.)
But the second wedding has turned into more than a lovely collection of memories, more than thinking back on a nice event and time spent with good friends. The second wedding has opened a window, allowed a glimpse, and then opened a previously-unknown door behind which I've found a new delight. Let me explain:
First - it was in Columbus, Ohio, home of a beautiful replica of Columbus' Santa Maria and the home of our longt-time good friends, J and M. They're reenactors too - for the most part, their era is a good century before ours: the 17th century. Think Plimoth Plantation. M works very much in the 21st century and is probably the most computer-literate person I know. J works for a company that publishes darling and very popular little cookbooks.
Furthermore, M looks as perfect in his 17th century garb as one can. He has long hair, a neat little pointed beard, and is the very image of one of Columbus' men as I can picture. J is one of those merry little women whose skill with a needle would vie with any of her sisters of the earlier century, and when "decked out" they present a most admirable picture. I met them years ago (perhaps 18?) on line, in a realtime chat room on Compuserve, and to this day I "meet" J once a week for an hour's gab. (We're joined by at least one of the other original members too, and even though it's only one hour out of my busy life I look forward to it eagerly and miss it when I have to miss.)
OK - these people have a daughter, L. Years ago when we occasionally got together "F2F" L and I would play together with our American Girl dollies. She was a child then, and I was.....well, me. Anyway let me say that the child of these creative, historical, talented and artistic people (did I mention that M plays with a Celtic band and is a self-taught brilliant fiddler?) is herself a unique girl and always has been. In her young adult life her personal style has been what might be called "artistic punk" -- she's an individual and I love her style.
Well! She attended college and emerged with credentials in things like "Computer-Generated Images" and that sort of thing (all beyond my 66-year-old comprehension but VERY 21st century artistic). She loves anime, manga - that sort of thing.
During the last couple of years, it seems she met a girl living in London (online) and they became fast friends - and then more. C came from London to spend some time in Columbus....I think over Christmas, perhaps...and they discovered that their connection was real and true - and they became engaged. My reaction? Couldn't deny the truth: L wasn't a little girl any more and I'd have to find another girlie to play dolls with. Also I was delighted because I love this girl, and knowing that she had truly found a soulmate was very satisfying. The whole online thing? It's the 21st century and MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE has been that everyone I've ever met has been "exactly as advertised" and I've enjoyed meeting people and becoming friends with no preconceived ideas about them based on prejudices of appearance. I believe - I know - that you can come to know someone really well without ever laying actual eyes on them.......and I'd have to say I don't think I know anyone whose feelings of friendship would be changed at the sight of the person "F2F".
OK, I'll set aside my soapbox - but as I do, I'll comment that I really think eventually these innerwebs will allow for friendships across geographic and time lines and prejudices about physical attributes will diminish and there will be peace. Not in my lifetime, but you know - I think it's out there.
Back to the second wedding. As it turns out, it really WAS a "second wedding"; not only the second we attended this summer, but the second for the Darling Girls. You see, they were married in Britain (if memory serves, they had a lovely site in Ireland) with C's family present - and because we're still behind the Motherland in some ways here in the Colonies, their union is recognized there. But they - and WE (L's family and friends) were delighted when plans were made for them to have a wedding here so that WE could witness and share their joy.
The wedding was held at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus; we didn't get to explore the whole place, but the portion reserved for the wedding is a large hands-on area sort of like a set for Indiana Jones -- all rocky mazes and a stone castle tower and so on.
Now ... there was another element to this wedding, which was absolutely NEW to Mr Dearling and me. We were told to wear our 19th century apparel, because the theme, the flavor, the soul of this wedding was to be -- STEAM PUNK! We had no idea what that meant; we had never heard those two words together in a context. We dressed, we went to the COSI, we found the site -- and discovered that almost everyone (elder relatives excused) were in costume, and we were introduced to this "Steam Punk". We saw Victorian clothing, we saw leather helmets (think aviator). We saw corsets and frills and lace.
The wedding itself was brief and lovely - the officiant was well-spoken, the vows clear and the mood merry and reverent and FUN! When the ceremony was over there were pictures and we were allowed to examine the fabulous environs. We then repaired to the nearby Spaghetti Warehouse (apparently a chain; wonder how we could lobby for one here?) where we all sat down to an absolutely DELICIOUS dinner! There was cake (two kinds, and yes I tried both - in spite of being VERY full I couldn't resist and didn't regret it).
To summarize the Wedding portion of our trip, it was as different from the Montana wedding as it could be in pretty much every way. And yet - it was every bit as wonderful, romantic, delightful and endearing in every way. I LOVED meeting C, who strikes me as the other part of the puzzle piece that is L; seeing the girls together was such fun. Born on opposite sides of the ocean, but of an age, they complement each other. They're MODERN, they're now, they're the 21st century where technology and romance are blended. It was a revelation.
Mr Dearling was absolutely INTRIGUED with the whole concept of Steam Punk and could hardly wait to get home and talk about it to the Lovely Daughter - I think her only surprise was that we'd never encountered it before. She's really a 20th century girl, but entered the 21st young enough to "get with it".
And me? Well let me tell YOU, ladies and gennulmens. If I had were 20 years old now I would SO be there. Everything about Steam Punk appeals - I've been listening to the music on Pandora since we got home. I would LOVE to dress that way -- although I have no delusions and will continue the Happy Hippie that I am (I can hear the Lovely Daughter's sigh of relief from here). But from my perspective, the introduction to this Steam Punk thing has been like a little gift -- and of course, once you discover something you recognize that it's been there all along. "Wild, Wild West" can be nothing else (what a great movie) and I'd have to say, so is "Stardust", one of my favorites. I think one reason I like the whole ... what does Wiki call it? Subculture ... is because it's PRETTY. The clothing styles are colorful and interesting and fun. The whole punk-torn-jeans-dirty-shirts deal didn't do it for me.
The rest of the visit, by the way, included meeting for the first time another longtime online friend, a fellow reenactor too but of the Civil War persuasion -- she picked me up at our motel at 11:00 pm the night before the wedding and we found an all-night eatery and stayed up knitting and gabbing and enjoying until she brought me back about 4:30 am! (Lucky I have no Circadian rhythm; had no ill effects at all.)
And the day after the wedding M and J took us to the (really truly) world-famous Columbus Zoo, where we saw for ourselves the darling wee baby elephant from Zooborns playing with his blue beachball and a LOT of other things; the enclosures for the animals are absolutely grand. Every animal we saw looked relaxed and content - and the huge bears told me (I can communicate with bears, you know) that the food's great, the accommodations perfection - and they have a great health care plan.
You've no doubt noticed the absence of pictures -- well, there ARE some, and I WILL post them, with minimal text (having said it all here). But right now I'm going to put on "Abney Park" on You Tube.