A long time ago, long before I knew him, my husband wrote a birthday poem for a friend. He's quite pleased with it - as he should be, it's very good. He likes to recite it for people on their birthdays. My favorite line from the poem is at the turning point, where the answer to the initial question starts to form:
But maybe happiness is made like paper airplanes or lemonade
I love it because of it's simplicity. It is simple things that can make us profoundly happy. Happiness isn't complicated and we can make it happen in a few easy steps, but we have to choose to take those steps.
Before we were engaged, I knew this line would be part of our wedding. (It was even part of getting engaged.) We hung paper airplanes from the tent rafters and served lemonade. Yellow was our main color accompanied by summery blues and touches of white and pink. And we did it all in 2 months.
We did things a little unconventionally. We had a big party on a Saturday afternoon on the lawn of the church overlooking the Potomac River. Then we got married the following Tuesday afternoon in the LDS (Mormon) temple in Washington, D.C. followed by a ring exchange and a dinner for family and a few close friends at the Mount Vernon Inn near George Washington’s home.
We had decided to have the events in that order because we wanted the day of our wedding to be quiet and intimate so we could focus on the promises we were making to each other and to God. Members of the LDS church believe that a husband and wife can be sealed, or united, as a family for eternity as they make sacred promises in temples. These promises are also designed to lead us, together, back to God. A temple sealing is a simple ceremony: a bride and groom, their families and close friends, and an officiator in a small, beautiful room. The ceremony is not very long and lots of hugs are given after. Rings may be exchanged in the temple, but it isn't part of the ceremony.
We had a ring exchange at the Mount Vernon Inn for our family and friends who could not join us for the ceremony inside the temple. This part of the day had been planned in my mind for years since I have family members, including my father, that are members of other faiths or have other beliefs. It was a beautiful way to include everyone in the celebration of our marriage. We asked a friend, who is also a bishop in the church, to conduct the ring exchange. He spoke of the promises John and I had made earlier in the day at the temple and shared some thoughts on love and marriage. And then he invited us to exchange rings.
It was a special way to start our new life together with family and friends we love. I think about that day often and how it has changed my life for the better.