It is sunny and chilly on a mid-March Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day. The sunshine presents the first tangible signs that spring is, in fact, coming. The Providence Public Library, a building whose architecture predates the structures surrounding it, is situated in the downtown area of the city. Upon entering, guests hand their coats off to the doorman who has been stationed at the library entrance for nearly five decades. Each person makes their way past the Grand Staircase into the main foyer, which has been converted to a wedding venue for the early evening ceremony.
The library at all times has marble on its walls and columns with golden etched finishings at the top of each. A book designed into the top of each column acts as a subtle nod to the institute of knowledge we find ourselves in. The architecture of the building transports you to more than a century ago when the library was first opened in 1871, but the floral arrangements take you even further. An ivy backdrop behind the couple and accented white flowers make the room feel less like New England literary house and more like an Italian castle. Harp-playing cherubs flying overhead would not have been out of place at such an affair.
The bridal party enters, the bridesmaids in navy sequin dresses, the groomsmen in smart tuxedos as Somewhere Over the Rainbow plays. As the full wedding party takes their positions, the music stops, silence. A grand piano begins to play and a cantor with the most beautiful voice starts into Till There Was You from The Music Man. The bride and her father walk the aisle and reach the front just before the song ends. As she waits to join her love, the last line is sung, There was love all around/But I never heard it singing/No I never heard it at all/Till there was you.
The groom’s sister officiated the wedding. After welcoming both Irish families to the event on such a high holiday, she added humor with Dumbledore quotes, very on brand for the setting. After the initial welcome, the officiant reminded both families of lost loved ones whose love we still feel today. She gave us a reminder that while they may be gone they are still with us deep in our hearts. Both families, having suffered their own losses, joined together today with new love, released a collective gasp as tears were flowing. The bride and groom shared their vows each wrote, proving they were not only avid readers (they did choose to get married in a library) but witty writers as well.
The ceremony ends as all weddings do, a kiss and an uproar of applause. The reception was beautifully catered with an incredible dinner and entertaining speeches. After dinner the dance floor was stormed by guests of all ages, with a playlist to satisfy all. From late 2000’s era hits to a Piano Man sing-a-long, the guests were taking breaks from dancing to thank the couple for such a beautiful night.
Once the reception came to a close, the joy and excitement would not be put to an end. Most of the guests made the trip over to Trinity Brewhouse for more drinks and stories and laughs. The bride’s long train acted like a broom across the barroom floor. Picking up dust from the neglected floor with every step she took. The underside of her dress was dingy and dirty, something we don’t typically see, a dirty wedding dress. We recognize them for their bright white brilliance. When we do think of a dirty wedding dress, we often think of sadness. She was outside. She must have run away. A tattered wedding dress doesn’t belong on a happy bride. But, having seen it unfold in front of me, only the happiest brides have tattered dresses. The hands of her bridesmaids, her best friends, tweaking it to ensure she looks her best. The bottom of the dress gets tugged on from the people stepping on it as they rushed her to give her the biggest hug. The tavern dust collecting underneath because she didn’t go to bed. She wanted to experience the happiest day of her life as long as she possibly could.
Happy Wedding Elyse and Sam. I love you both.