A wedding is a milestone event in a person's life. It is no surprise that so much importance is attached to it. Many couples are preparing for their wedding for a long time and do a big celebration, with many family members, friends and relatives participating.
But what happens after the wedding? What "... and lived happily ever after" means?
One of the assessments of a successful family life is, of course, the wedding anniversaries.
Each anniversary has its own name and its symbolic meaning, more or less the same in different countries in Europe and Americas.
The first anniversary of the marriage union is a cotton or gauze wedding. Gauze is a thin and not very strong material, a symbol of the fragility of a young family’s hearth.
Then follow all sorts of other materials, without, to my opinion, any apparent logic. Some of them are fragile, some solid, after the iron and steel anniversaries suddenly comes the crystal one (15 years). Materials, that symbolize the number of years lived together, are more or less expensive, again in no particular order. All this opens many opportunities for interpretation and, of course, for gifts.
The main thing is that the couple is happy in marriage. And the anniversary is always an excellent occasion to have a celebration.
The most popular in many countries are Silver (25 years) and Golden (50 years) wedding anniversaries. As a rule, they are indeed celebrated as important events, with guests and festivities.
Today, the December 15th, is the anniversary of my parents' wedding. They have been together for 53 years and recently we celebrated their golden wedding.
My parents met through mutual friends at the university and got married in Leningrad (U.S.S.R.) in the Palace of Marriage, a beautiful 19th century mansion, formerly owned by a rich merchant. This palace was opened for registration of marriages shortly before their wedding. Leningrad was covered in white snow, the palace was beautiful, my father was relatively serious, my mother was shining, and she had a bouquet of white lilac in her hands. It is still unknown how it was possible to get those lilacs in those years in the middle of winter.
Their relatives and friends came to the ceremony, which was held in a beautiful decorated hall.
After the official ceremony, the young couple and the guests went to our apartment on Nevsky Prospekt - the central street of the city.
The apartment was not very big, but somehow some 50 friends were fit in it. And the next day came the same number of relatives, and the wedding was celebrated again.
Fifty years passed, many things happened. Children and grandchildren were born and grew up. The Soviet Union disappeared. The city of Leningrad has returned its initial name of St. Petersburg. My parents, which are scientists-oceanologists, studying the ocean in particular with the help of instruments installed on satellites, traveled by this time the entire planet. But their main base was the city of Vladivostok, standing on the shore of the Sea of Japan. Their children also left the hometown: his son and his family live in Paris, and me, their daughter, is in Boston.
But it became obvious that it was impossible not to celebrate their Golden wedding!
Therefore, my brother and I flew to St. Petersburg, our dad flew in as well, and together we went around several places and chose a very beautiful and festive venue near the Wedding Palace in the gorgeous Tauride Garden.
Invitations to relatives and friends were sent out, a beautiful cake, decorations and balloons were ordered, a reception menu, a photographer and a videographer were chosen, music was thought out.
A lot of time was spent on preparing a cultural program: videos, songs, slideshows, toasts by friends - all this had to be thought-through, completed in advance and combined into a single program.
Several months passed and we again flew to Petersburg from across the globe, this time with our husbands, wives and children.
On December 15th, 2014, my parents and all the guests gathered in the Palace of Marriage, where they were married 50 years ago. In the Palace, a record of their marriage was preserved and demonstrated to the couple and their guests. The ceremony was wonderful, bright, festive and solemn.
And then we all went to the banquet hall, and an amazing, merry and sad at the same time holiday began.
The speeches and presentations by relatives, classmates, university friends, the choral friends, friends from their graduate school, colleagues at work were warm and funny. At some point the choristers gathered around the guitar and sang songs of their youth - and it was very cool and completely professional: even the grandchildren were amazed.
All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful holiday.
God bless my parents, and to all the newlyweds I wish many long and happy years together!