No matter my somewhat negative and at times contradictory views on marriage, I really, really love going to weddings.

I think it’s because every wedding I’ve ever been to has just felt like a big celebration of love, even though I’ve heard stories from friends about attending weddings where the bride and groom both looked unhappy, getting married because they “had to”–we come from a religion and a county where if you get pregnant, you get married. Somehow, even the weddings I have attended with a pregnant bride have felt happy, not forced.

Weddings in my family–though mostly on my mom’s side–are just a big party, and I always want to stay all night and dance until the DJ (or band) stops and the lights come up and everyone starts cleaning up. We come from a Polish heritage where we hear stories about bridal dances lasting hours. Even now, Paul talks about the stories from his parents’ wedding about his grandfather being locked in the bathroom to stop him from getting in the line over and over. My Uncle Richard often goes through more than once and has the greatest bridal-dance shriek I’ve ever heard.

At the wedding we attended last weekend, Aunt Gina brought her own hanky to shake in the air, and hankies were provided as favors–and this isn’t the first wedding I’ve been to that did that. Aunt Gina also joked that we should’ve timed the bridal dance, and I joked on Twitter that shaking that hanky the entire time was the best arm workout I’ve had all year.

My mom’s cousin Allison got married. Although she’s my mom’s cousin, the age gaps among my grandma and her siblings mean she’s closer in age to me and my cousins, which made her the first of the younger generation in the family, let’s say, to get married. I actually once predicted that once one of us got engaged, the rest would drop like flies and we’d have two weddings in one year, and I was so right. Allison was the first, followed a few months later by my brother, Brandon, and cousin Adam, who actually got engaged just days apart and are planning summer weddings–Adam’s in August, Brandon’s in May. Coincidentally, they also both landed the two dates I’d have wanted for my own wedding. Brandon got mine and Paul’s anniversary, Adam got my grandparents’.

It was a nice, fun wedding. I actually ended up doing a lot more talking than dancing–after dinner, all the relatives played a kind of musical chairs, where everyone made rounds saying hi and sitting and chatting. Paul and I spent a good amount of time sitting and talking with Kimmie and Joey, actually, and then everyone would shift when someone else came over or if someone was summoned to a relative at another table.

People left slowly, and my family was among the last ones standing. I did get some dancing in, and I even had a fun moment with my mom where they played this polka she used to love dancing to as a kid and taught me how to do it. I think one of the things I love most about my mom’s family is the way the women sort of band together and mother and daughters pair up as couples and dance, or aunts and nieces or cousins.

The only reason we left before they kicked everyone out is because I could see in Paul’s eyes that he was getting tired. His eyes have this way of looking really heavy when he gets tired, and as he was the driver, I figured it was best to go.

But I’m excited and ready for the next one.

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