I enjoyed the May full moon in my home-county of Cornwall at a very special party that took place at the weekend; the wedding of my longest-standing friend. I had the high honour of being her maid of honour as she tied the knot at a bunting festooned (75 purple and green pretty metres of it!!) Tudor castle on the cliffs in glorious sunshine. Based on this and my own wedding-day experience, I can recommend this past week for good weather in south-west England! (However, given the unpredictability of the British climate, I also make no guarantee! There, hopefully I’ve avoided any lawsuits…) Everyone wants sun on their wedding day. Everyone in Cornwall wants sun for visitors to see the county at its best.
As well as the gratitude and sense of privilege I felt for the role that my friend had chosen for me on her special day, bridesmaid-ing felt like a rite of passage all of its very own. Of course, a wedding is all about the celebration and life rite of the happy couple so I didn’t get up blabbing about my little journey in all of this – but it did bring up a lot of feelings and shifting of energy in a personal way.
Perhaps some of this is found in the ways that our weddings were different. For example, I got ready for my own wedding in a tent in a forest rather than in a bridal suite at a catered hotel. I didn’t have bridesmaids. Therefore, our wedding days didn’t share the feminine ritual of bride, bridesmaids – and, in this case, bride’s mum, bride’s stepmum and groom’s mum – all spending a few hours getting ready together with professionals coming to do hair and make-up. There was a beautiful, light, girly energy in this preparation, added to by the photographer sensitively documenting it. The make-up artist used words I’d never even heard and having my hair styled just isn’t really very me but it felt so very right that I did these such extraordinary (to me) things on such an extraordinary day; on a day all about 2 other people, you step into their life, and share their loves and ideas, for a day.
The opportunity to massage the bride’s feet as she had her hair done, and to help her put on her jewellery, brought a poignant honour: a feeling of doing something for someone about to do something very important. I wanted to give what I could on this day as a symbol of my thanks for all that she has given me over nearly two decades.
As well as celebrating the love and union of my friend and the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, in my heart I was also celebrating our journey from the children we met as to the women we’ve become. We’ve shared a lot of quite formative experiences and, for a couple of years or so, we spent most of almost every day together. It’s possible I felt more emotional at her wedding than at my own; noticing her confidence to dance – just her and her groom – in front of so many people, seeing all around the venue so much evidence of her creative talent in all the pretty little finishing touches, reflecting on the ways in which she’s changed and the lovely things about her that have stayed just the same.
The full moon of May is known as the flower moon (due to the abundant flowers everywhere at this time) or sometimes the milk moon or corn planting moon. At this point in the calendar, Mother nature seems to be revelling in her glad rags, partying hard in the Beltaine energy of attraction, allure and partnership. In a society where I often feel like we’ve lost many of our meaningful celebrations and rites of passage, it’s interesting – and lovely – that we still find the partnership and love between two people something to really celebrate. ♥