Memorial Day weekend I got to help officiate at Nick and Amanda’s wedding at Wedgewood UMC. I have known Nick Varga his entire life. He was born the first year I served at Wedgewood. I baptized him and had him in Confirmation class. I went to his high school graduation and Tom and I have stayed close to the Varga family since we retired. Although I haven’t known Amanda as long, I have enjoyed watching Nick and Amanda’s relationship blossom and grow. I was very pleased to be asked to be part of the service.
In some ways, however, the rehearsal and wedding were a little jarring. After 15 months of being extremely careful, always wearing masks and social distancing and never eating in a restaurant, all the pandemic protocols were thrown out the window. The CDC released their new guidelines (that vaccinated people could do anything without masks) on May 13 and the wedding was two weeks later. But it was our first time being around a diverse group of people.
During the rehearsal we tried to social distance, but the rehearsal dinner was another matter. We were inside Uncle Tito’s and we were packed around a table together. Tom and I were back in a corner and couldn’t get out unless 8 other people moved.
Nick and Amanda’s wedding was wonderful. The bride was beautiful and the groom was handsome and everything went off as it should. I officiated over the unity cross portion of the ceremony. I had never done a unity cross before and it was a lovely statement of faith by Nick and Amanda. The church had about 180 people in it and very few of them wore masks. At the end of the service, Pastor Joe and I stood in the center aisle and dismissed the guests, another first for me. I couldn’t resist hugging and talking to most of the Wedgewood people who were there. I just hoped all of them were vaccinated!
Nick and Amanda’s wedding reception was held at the Venue Banquet Center in Tallmadge. Although the venue wasn’t crowded, compared to some receptions, there was no attempt at social distancing, wearing masks, or even limiting the number of people inside the banquet center. At this point I pretty much gave up worrying about the pandemic and enjoyed myself as you should at a wedding reception. We had 90 minutes before the bride and groom arrived and I spent it talking to all the church folks I haven’t seen for so long. I enjoyed talking to them so much, I only got around to half the tables where church people were sitting.
When the bride and groom arrived, things progressed quickly. They danced and cut the cake and then we had a buffet style dinner. During dinner we enjoyed talking to the people at our table. The Walkers and Fergusons are old friends and we met new friends Annie and Rick Hoover. There were toasts and speeches and more dancing. I would have returned to talking to people, but the music was so loud that I couldn’t hear anyone or make myself heard. Our table of older, non-dancing retired folks disbanded and headed out of the reception about 9 p.m. Tom and I said our goodbyes to as many of the Vargas as we could find and then drove home.
Nick and Amanda’s wedding was everything they could have hoped for. It was late enough in the pandemic, with enough people vaccinated, that they were able to celebrate without the pandemic restrictions that would have been in place a month earlier. Tom and I said if we didn’t get Covid-19 after all that, then the vaccines are really working. And, now that we have had this plunge into the post-pandemic pool, we are ready to resume normal life.