“This is your day,” people would tell us when we got married (last week) “forget about everybody else.” This is a common piece of wisdom that friends and family members will tell the bride and groom, who often find themselves spending more time and energy worrying about their guests’ enjoyment than they do enjoying their special day themselves.
There were certainly times when we felt this way the week of our wedding, a destination wedding in Sayulita, Mexico, a small surf town an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, with 70 of our closest friends and family in attendance. Logistically, we asked a lot of our guests: they had to travel great distances, find their own individual accommodations (there are no hotels in the small town of Sayulita large enough to accommodate a group of our size, so most people were in hard-to-find and hard-to-get-to villas along the beach,) they were dragged on buses and boats all over the Banderas Bay region and were exposed to rough seas, a strong sun, cold nights, and a lot of Mexican food, beer and tequila.
We had a lot to worry about: there were guests who got sunburned during the day and others who were too cold at night. There were some guests that missed the boat, and others that made it, but got seasick along the way. There were guests who drank too much, and in some cases, guests who didn’t drink enough ;-). Like most brides and grooms, we wanted to cherish every moment of our time together this week . . . but we also wanted to make sure our guests were having as good a time as we were.
For us, the wedding really wasn’t just “our” day, it was a chance for our families to come together, for our friends to get to know each other, and for us to reconnect with people who came from all over the world (from the Seychelles, Sydney, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and the Bahamas just to name a few.)
The fact that Catherine and I faced each other and promised to love and support one another for the rest of our lives was important, but equally important were the faces beaming up at us showing us their acknowledgement and encouragement. Catherine and I share meaningful moments together on a regular basis, and hopefully we will continue to do so for years to come. But what made this week (and day) particularly meaningful, was sharing it with others.
Each one of our guests contributed something valuable to the week’s festivities. Some brought their energy and personality, adding to the life of the party, some brought helping hands, chipping in when things needed to be done, or making personal sacrifices so that others in the group would have more fun, and some came with a warm and open heart, adding their love to ours and magnifying it, so that it permeated everything our group together.
When I remember my wedding, I will remember the moment I saw my bride in her dress for the first time, and I will remember looking into her eyes as we slid rings onto each others’ fingers and said “I do.” I will remember our kiss, and I will remember our first dance. I will remember our wedding night together, and I will remember waking up and saying “good morning Mrs. McCarthy” for the first time. But that is not all I will remember.
I will also remember feeling welcomed by Catherine’s family and getting to know them on a deeper level. I will remember my family connecting with hers and seeing them grow new bonds of love and friendship. I will remember good times with friends that I rarely get to see, and meeting new friends that I hope to stay close to now and into the future. I will remember kind words, warm hugs, and eyes filled with tearful joy. Forget about everyone else? Not a chance. In a wedding, other people matter.
Jeremy, it was a true pleasure and honor to be among those who celebrated this special day for you. The experience was amazing to say the least and it was clear that you and Catherine invested so much time and effort in creating days of festivities, camaraderie and memories for your guests. We all bonded and forged friendships from our common love for you and your lovely bride, who glowed & was glorious in her role. As for you my dear friend of more than a decade, I am still in awe of how you’ve evolved from your carefree bachelor days in Maui to the grounded, responsible and wonderful father and husband you’ve become. Congratulations and we love you!
I am so happy to hear your wedding was filled with wonderful cherished memories! I wish you and Catherine all the best on your journey.
Congratulations, my friend!
Your post brought tears to my eyes – tears of happiness for your beautiful day, and tears of “unison” for how much your words echoed with my own recent experience. As Rob and I celebrate our 6 month anniversary tomorrow, we too will remember how we don’t want to forget about what everyone contributed. Other people do matter – in a wedding, and in a marriage.
Many of your ISPA family learned of your wondeful news while we were in Toronto for a Board meeting. We are so happy for both you and Catherine. We are sending you so much love, support and energy as you embark on your beautiful journey together. Thank you for sharing your special moment on such a deep and meaningful level. Your are absolutely right, my husband and I have learned that as strong as our marriage is, the love and support of our family and friends is what brings such a richness to our life together. Wishing you and your beautiful family the best life has to offer.
What a touching post, Jeremy. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like a very special synergy was created by you and your bride and a great adventure was had by all in Mexico. Sending a warm congratulations as you embark on your life as Mr. and Mrs.! I am celebrating 5 years with my husband this May, and I am grateful for the journey we’ve had so far and look forward to the thousands of journeys we have ahead of us. (Of course, always thankful for the present moment as well:) Gratitude, communication and unconditional love…that’s what it’s all about!
Dear Rianna, Louisa, Marie-Josee, Deborah and Stacy,
Thank you all for adding to the post nuptial bliss even more! I always debate about sharing personal things on this blog (somewhat of a departure from my normal articles,) but then I feel like I am very close to the community of friends who read my blog. Thank you all for being here and sharing in this moment!
Dear Jeremy. What a beautiful and touching tribute to your special day. Thank you for reminding all of us what is truly important. My sincere congratulations to you both. I hope our paths cross again one day during our lifetime so that I can thank you face to face for your friendship. Aloha.
Dear Jeremy….I loved your post….and you absolutely NAILED it as far as the warmth of the entire wedding week……it was a special treat for me to get to know your great family and friends, with determination to see them all again at some point….and it was great to reunite with some of Catherine’s dearest friends. Annabelle was so sweet in her speech, as she gave some insight to the goup as to how generous and caring my brother and Mary were while raising your beloved bride and James. We are saddened that Jay is no longer with us,and we miss him, yet we know he would be very proud and happy for Catherine. Her life with you will be filled with joy, happiness, adventure and love. Congratulations!!!
Wow, I don’t know whether to compliment you on this wonderful, warm, and insightful post – or beat myself up for not coming. All I can say is you have the Bowlings’ warmest wishes for a wonderful life together.
Hi Jeremy, We are here now in Sayulita experiencing with Breon and Gaired and their wonderful families and friends at their wedding the spirit of love, openness and positivity that you describe so perfectly. I feel like all these people are my new family and my life has just expanded with the love being passed around here. Thanks for expressing the magic of these moments so beautifully, It feels like magic, but it’s no mystery. Other people do matter. Wishing you and Catherine many more days of being surrounded by loving family and friends! Congratulations and love.
Marti, Marsha, Dan, Eleanor,
Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving your kind words! Dan, I wish you could’ve been there! Eleanor, my heart goes out to Breon and Gaired, we’ll have to compare notes after the dust settles! Hugs to all, J