Can I take my family on a destination wedding for me and my future spouse?
This is a question for some couples considering a destination wedding. They’re just not sure how the dynamics of it all will work. And now I can honestly say in my opinion it is a wonderful opportunity to create wonderful lasting memories for everyone involved. I spent this past weekend at a family wedding in my home town. My family is scattered all over the country and we rarely are all together so it was a reunion of sorts.
Ok, honestly I wasn’t sure how the weekend would be. So many different personalities coming together for a long weekend, it could be wonderful or a really bad episode of reality TV. But as I sit here at the airport waiting to catch my flight home I am smiling at what an extraordinary experience it was and how much I learned about my family and my history.
Seeing cousins, aunts and uncles for the first time since I was a child was wonderful. You hear bits and pieces through the years but spending time together and really getting to know one another again as adults was just marvelous. We are all so different and yet that bond was there instantly and it wasn’t long before we were laughing and joking like best friends.
I think this is one of the unexpected and perhaps best things about a destination wedding. Yes, there are many great reasons to have a destination wedding but before this weekend I’ve never had the family bonding that occurs in such a clear perspective. Every wedding is full of memories and wonderous times but I think a destination wedding in itself creates that opportunity to really bring a family closer together and forge bonds that won’t slip away so easily or quickly.
Over the weekend I heard the story of how my Great Aunt and Uncle met and I wanted to cry. My Great Uncle was stationed in Italy during WWII and was on patrol when a beautiful Italian girl ran across the street clutching a loaf of bread (dinner for the family). My Great Uncle looked at the man standing next to him and said “That’s the most beautiful woman I have every seen. I am going to marry her”. The man looked at him and said “That’s my niece and No your not”. Undeterred my Uncle discovered her name and address and presented himself at the door of her family apartment the next day. My Aunt answered the door and my Uncle said “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I want to spend the rest of my life with you”. She slammed the door in his face. Still undeterred he proceeded to visit her everyday and when she answered the door he would say “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I want to spend the rest of my life with you” and you guessed it she slammed the door in his face. One the seventh day however she softened enough to allow him to come in and sit for 5 minutes, chaperoned of course as was custom of the time. Thankfully she realized that my Uncle was not just another GI trying to woo her but truly meant every word he said. And my Uncle realized that her beauty was truly from within. They were married a few months later and on the seventh of every month he would give her a simple card with the words “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I want to spend the rest of my life with you”. The years went on and they had children and then grandchildren but on the seventh of every month he would give her the same card, his way of telling how much he loved her. Knowing that their time together was coming to an end he sent the last card through the mail to arrive on the seventh day of the month; the day after he had passed away and this one was different for the first time ever. It read “You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I am so grateful I was able to spend my life with you”.
Without this wedding weekend I may have never heard this story and many others like it about my family and while I would have survived not knowing; the knowing has made the connection to family all the more richer.
These are the stories that make up our family roots and history and to have them shared and passed down at a wedding when a family is growing is a tremendous gift in itself.