In the last year, or ten years, or longer, how many weddings have you been to? How many do you remember well? Our memories generally tend to focus on either the most recent of a specific event or our first exposure to a particular occasion. These memory patterns are known as the recency effect, for the most recent exposure to a memory, and the primacy effect, for the very first time you are exposed to a particular situation. You are likely to remember the very first wedding you went to along with the most recent ones the best. You are also likely to remember the weddings that stand out – those that you remember as the most beautiful.
Whether there were flowers on the table or what color they might have been, whether there was a three piece band, a twelve piece band or a DJ, whether there was hummus at the smorgasbord and how many different types of fowl, or if you ate schnitzel or steak or even who you sat with are not likely to be as defining a memory of any individual wedding you have attended.
The first time you went to a wedding in a very large hall with 800 people or the time the wedding took place with only a handful of family members in a Rabbis study may well be memories that linger but they will not likely be intense recollections. The color theme of the wedding, if there was one, the actual dress the bride wore or the ties worn by the groom and his men or if they even wore a tie will also be faint recollections if remembered at all.
Of course there will be people who claim to remember all the details from the smorgasbord to the dessert, from the color of the walls and how well the tablecloths matched. Some people will remember exactly how they got to a wedding, which car, bus and route. They might remember which friends did not show at all and who came late and even why they were tardy. Pictures will help with memories but they capture aspects, moments in time. Sometimes they can capture a mood sometimes it is just a pose.
To some small degree all of these details contribute to the memory of a wedding that was eventful and even beautiful. But, what most people remember best as the true beauty of a wedding goes well beyond these important but secondary details. What truly make a wedding beautiful are the bride and groom. When they are at their happiest the colors, styles, flowers, music, all of the important details, decorations and people take a very rear seat to the joy the couple brings to the occasion.
Thank you children for beautiful weddings and life long memories!