Hi all! Yesterday, a good friend of mine in Australia got married. Due to covid-related international travel restrictions, I wasn’t able to attend in person. But I was able to attend via livestream.
Thinking back about out wedding…
Weddings are a really special time in one’s life. They are also a time of huge change! I remember a lot went on in me, in my fiancée, in our families, and in others around us, in the lead up to our wedding. When I got engaged to Megumi, and we started practically preparing for our wedding, it was as if sooo many timers started ticking. And the closer we got to the day, the louder they became.
There were tons of logistics involved with getting married. Megumi was working. I was working, too, and was also a part-time student. We had church ministries we looked after. We both had family obligations. (And being a multicultural couple, each of our families had different thoughts and expectations around what these “obligations” were ?) There was a full list of “last time doing XYZ as a single-man” events that took place. We were looking for our first home together. We were receiving pre-marital counseling from our pastor. We were making arrangements for the ceremony itself. (Our wedding was catered towards having both Japanese and international guests in the same ceremony… That adds another whole layer of logistics ?) Oh, and planning the honeymoon, too! And in our case, we had health issues that lead to surgery and hospitalization, just a few months before the day…
Not to mention, Megumi and I also had our relationship we tried to continue strengthening during that time… Actually, preserving the relationship was a hand full… In fact, just keeping it afloat may have been all we achieved. I remember getting on the plane, on our way to our honeymoon, and thinking something along the lines of “Phew, glad that’s all over ??”
One reason we got through everything in one piece was because we had a solid group of family and friends we could trust, who helped keep everything moving. We had family, church family, and friends, who made sacrifices for us in the build up to the wedding, and after it, so that our wedding day was a special day for Megumi and I.
How I met “D”
One of those such friends was “D”. I had only known “D” a couple of years at that time. We had met in Australia, when I was over there for a couple of weeks, attending a church conference my Dad was speaking at. I am an Aussie by birth, but having lived pretty much my entire life in Japan, I’ve never felt like I fit in completely in Australia. And especially at that conference, everybody knew who my Dad was, and who I was – but I hardly knew who any of they were ? “D” looked out for me, and made sure I was part of all the things he was doing with his other friends. He made this fairly introverted guy feel welcomed, and made that time I had in Australia memorable.
“D” visited my family and I a few times after that, where we got to know each other better. And when I got married, he was probably our most enthusiastic international guest, when it came to booking tickets and planning his stay here! “D” helped Megumi and I move furniture and belongings into our new house. He was there helping out with setting up and the venu before the ceremony, and for the pack-up too. Having come to Japan a few times before, he would welcome the other international guests we had, using the little Japanese he had to show them around, and make them feel at home while they were here.
It was great having “D” here for my wedding. And Megumi and I promised him we would be there for his wedding, too, when he had found his soulmate.
But then, when it came his turn to get married, COVID happened…
Attending “D”‘s wedding
“D” met a lovely lady a little while back, and the Lord lead them into a beautiful relationship. When covid happened, “D” and I both kept saying to each other, “It’ll be over soon. The international borders will open, and the two couples will be able to meet each other!” But as of today, this is yet to be.
I wasn’t able to meet “D”‘s fiancée before they got married. I wasn’t able to help and support “D” right before his wedding either. But I am thankful for technology, and how I was still able to witness this special day for him.
My wife and I attended the ceremony and reception via livestream, and were just as happy for the new couple as if we had attended in person. We clapped when the crowd clapped. We laughed when the crowd laughed. We were moved and shed a tear or two throughout the day, too. And although it was not how we had expected it would be in 2016 when we got married and promised we would be there for “D” on his day, we were still thrilled we could be a part of that special day in another way.
It turns out, “D” and his wife are a multicultural couple, too. “D”‘s wife’s family live overseas, and a majority of them could not attend the day physically either. Watching your daughter get married via Zoom is an experience I don’t wish on anyone. But it was special how they were still able to attend – something they may not have been able to do with technology of the time, just 10 years ago.
Also, there must have been a couple of people who sacrificed sitting and watching the ceremony themselves so that they could stream the day for all of us to see. I am thankful to those who made this happen for us all.
So, I attended a wedding via livestream for the first time. To be honest, I felt I was part of the audience, even more than I had imagined I would. It was not the same as being there in person, but it was a special experience, nonetheless.
I still can’t wait for covid to be over, though. As Megumi and I are considering the floorplans of our new home, we keep looking at the guest room and saying “When ‘D’ and ‘E’ come, we’ll want to…” I look forward to hosting them at our place some day, and celebrating their marriage again, in person.