Hidden in the stacks of third class mail in the box last week was the first wedding invitation of the year. ‘Tis the season for invitations. Statistics show more weddings take place in June than any other time of year. These days not only does the envelope hold the actual invitation, but the reply card, the addressed and stamped reply card envelope, directions to the church and the reception, local hotel information and a gift registry suggestion card. It’s more like an information packet you receive when you tour a museum or a foreign country.

Not long after I married Jim Brawner, we drove to a small, rural community for a sorority sister’s wedding. We had allowed, what we thought was, ample time, but the trend of maps with invites hadn’t arrived yet and GPS systems were only in airplanes. After stopping three times for directions, we finally opened the door to the sanctuary and the bride and groom almost ran us over. That was one short ceremony. The reception is the best part anyway.

I cut my teeth on Jason and Travis’ weddings as the mother-of-the-groom, so I halfway knew what I was getting in to after Jill and David set a date. I quickly learned the MOG’s job of planning the rehearsal dinner, wearing beige, keeping her mouth shut and smiling had been easy compared to the realm I had entered as the MOB. Anyone with a question called me and most of the time the answer was “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” That was almost eight years ago. I think there are still unanswered questions.

The wedding industry generates $50 billion dollars a year with the average American wedding coming in at $22,000.00. The scariest statistic is there’s a 43% chance a marriage will end in divorce. That’s like gambling a chunk of money on a long shot at the Kentucky Derby.

No matter the cost of the wedding, when you get married, it’s a gamble of sorts. There’s way more at risk than money though, you risk your heart. You open yourself up to the vulnerability of pain and disappointment as well as joy and happiness. Building a marriage takes years of stops and starts and fits and do-overs and forgiveness. It takes a lifetime.

When I set the invitation from the mailbox on my desk, I hoped the couple spending all the time and money getting ready for their June wedding will always remember how they feel on their wedding day. I pray they have the gumption and determination to beat the odds and make it work. And, I hope they understand forever is a long time.

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