When you write about a close friend’s wedding, you want to use beautiful words. But beautiful words don’t come easily. It’s taken me three weeks to arrive at some for my friends Emma and Jeremy, who married each other in the Berkshires on September 8.
I could write a long explanation about why I normally get bored at weddings, but didn’t at Emma and Jeremy’s.
I could describe the way the rehearsal dinner set the mood for an enchanted weekend.
The bees that stung guests; the way the field in which it was held darkened.
The paper plates full of fresh blueberry pie, covered in whipped cream, that ended the evening.
Or I could use fancy words to describe the venue—an old barn nestled in a valley, over which rolled weepy clouds and the occasional furious thunderstorm.
I could describe the flowers; Emma’s beaded dress; Jeremy’s carefully tailored suit.
A sartorial dream of a weekend.
I could describe how I was with Emma the day she first tried on her dress, and knew that there wouldn’t be another.
The sheer scalloped edges, the heart-shaped neckline.
I could describe Emma’s brother Hudson, or her nephew Myles, both of whom, in imitation of Jeremy, were so perfectly tailored they might as well have stepped out of a catalog.
Or a set from Mad Men.
I could describe us, the bridesmaids, each in a gown of our own choosing, which curiously manifested in bright colors, and gilded details.
The way we gathered together to assure Emma that it wouldn’t rain, no matter the weather predictions.
The precious minutes we spent with her the morning of the affair, in her bridal suite, at the gorgeous Red Lion Inn.
The flowered wallpaper, the white linen, the winding staircases, the deep porches.
Our forty-five minute drive on a school bus into the countryside.
I could describe the early afternoon storm, which left Emma, who had been planning for an outdoor wedding for a year, almost speechless with grief.
Her parents sat with her in the front of the bus, holding her hands, while we hoped, silently, that it would abate in time for the ceremony.
Against the windows of the bus, rain splattered. Through cracks in the windows, loose caulking, my dress was temporarily soaked.
I could describe the way the storm cleared just as we arrived at the farm.
The way the sun was muted, lending perfect light for photographs.
For a while we wandered, in and out of the farm house adjacent to the barn.
Cooing over Emma’ preternaturally cute niece, Hannah, the flower girl and belle of the ball.
Putting on our own outfits, chosen carefully for the occasion.
My silver vintage dress.
My pink Vince Camuto shoes.
My diamond costume jewelry.
My hair, teased and styled by AJ, the gray’s mixed in with the golds.
The photographs I took are weighted towards the bridal party, if only because we were together all day.
But I wish I had more to illustrate the groom’s men and ladies, with their two-week old haircuts; the men, in sharp suits; the ladies in vintage dresses, all carefully following the guidelines laid out in a endearingly specific email by Jeremy.
I could describe the roughly hewn wooden table where we ate our lunch; the low ceilings, the wavy glass, the fireplaces.
I could describe the view we had of Emma and Jeremy when they met on the lawn, and kissed for the first time, fully dressed.
I could describe the preparations. The flowers littered on the ground.
The eaves of the barn; the garlands of lights.
I could describe the protective hive we formed around Emma, so that she could walk from the farmhouse to the barn without being seen when it was time for the ceremony.
I could describe the way my hand shook a little when Justin, my partner, hooked it into his arm, and we walked down the aisle, in front of a packed audience.
I have no pictures of the ceremony itself. I was in the front row, perched on the edge of my seat, crying while Emma and Jeremy read their vows.
Caleb took some; he had missed the bus from the hotel, but arrived just on time.
He waited for me in the back, standing. When the crowd cleared, and I saw him, I knew, for sure, that I loved him.
Night fell during the cocktail hour, on the lawn, and the barn lit up from within, a warm sort of illumination.
I could describe the food, cooked in tents over open fires; the way that we all proclaimed it the best meal we had ever had at the wedding; the steak, the fish, the fresh carrot salad, the farro; the vintage dishes upon which it was all served, antique china. Emma’s impeccable good taste in every detail.
I could describe the fancy cocktails; bourbon with fresh peach puree, and many others, for fear of overdoing it, I didn’t let myself try.
I could describe the rain that ripped through the dinner; the way that it seeped into the grass at our feet, first an inch, then two, forcing us to take off our shoes, and sink our toes in the water.
The way it pounded so hard on the tent that Emma’s parents, who were giving their speech, were silenced, only to start again, at the beginning, when the wind had abated.
I could describe the hues; the tiered colors of the mountains; the way Emma’s dress sparkled in the low light; the way it looked wrapped up in Jeremy for the first dance of the night.
At a certain point, I stopped taking pictures. I danced with Caleb; I danced with a tiny little girl with long, long hair; I danced with the bride and groom.
I took off my shoes well before the last song. When the wedding ending, I walked through the dark fields, to the house, where I gathered my things, and said goodbye to the barn, behemoth, looming.
I drove back to the Red Lion Inn with AJ and Hudson, blaring Biggie, basked in contentment. I hoped, when I sobered up, that I’d find the words to tell Emma and Jeremy that it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended. To thank them, and wish them the world, and all of the joy ever known.
Congratulations Emma and Jeremy. I’m so happy for you, and I’ll love you always.