November 19, 2011, Washington, DC: From across a busy 96th Street, I caught a glimpse of this wedding last weekend on New York’s Upper West Side. It was something I might have missed had I not happened to glance in that direction. On this noisy street between Amsterdam and Broadway, people were shopping for groceries and doing laundry and scurrying to the subway. Cars were rushing to down to the West Side Highway. It was lunchtime on a Saturday. It was not the only show in town.
I imagined the bride grew up just around the corner, had long been a part of this neighborhood. And I considered that for as much as I loved every detail of our country wedding, there’s also something special about everyone you love coming together in a city you call home.
I’m participating in one of those weddings today.
There are one million special things about today’s wedding. For me, that list includes seeing two nomadic friends getting married right here in Washington. On so many wonderful occasions, we travel back in time for weddings and return to the childhood homes of our friends and families. That’s lovely too, but I give this couple credit for ensuring their own weekend is very much focused on the present rather than the past. There’s something powerful about bringing friends and family together from all around the globe, about bringing them here of all places, this latest stop on the road. While it’s exciting to see where people came from, sometimes it’s just as compelling to enjoy where and who they are now.
Today these wedding guests will get out and explore. Many of them will spend this chilly, sunny morning exploring this city for the very first time. Personally, we will take time to appreciate the normalcy of this morning and brew coffee here at home.
This evening, we will come together beneath twinkling lights by the Potomac River to celebrate our friends. We will share stories about this couple and share our city with their guests. We will add their celebration to our list of memories that connect us to each other and to Washington. We will toast to the couple they are now, to the individuals they’ve gradually become in all of those hometowns along the way.
Every wedding is accompanied by a stories and many of them are stories of place.