Three Smiles That Made Me Smile

The bride and groom, and everyone else
This past weekend I attended a wedding in the rolling hills and farmlands of Chester County, PA. The wedding was made particularly sweet by the fact that the bride and the groom had dated long distance for the last several years. Needless to say, they were rather enthusiastic for this day. The location of the wedding couldn't have been more beautiful. The ceremony took place in a "converted" barn (for lack of a better term) surrounded by rust-colored red/orange foliage and acres of cornfields (the midwesterner in me couldn't have felt more at home). It was a perfect balance of elegance and character.

But the physical surrounding, as pristine as they were, weren't the images that are still squarely stuck in my mind. I was most taken by a smile. Well, more like two of them.

Smile #1

I'll never forget my wedding day; particularly the part where the church doors open and I saw for the first time...Terry the bagpiper. No, in case you're wondering, I did not marry Terry the bagpiper. Rather, Terry the bagpiper "escorted" my wife Sarah and her dad to the altar. Although a wonderful tribute to Sarah's grandfather's Scottish heritage, I literally couldn't see my new bride until they were about fifteen feet in front of me. Yet, it was still a special moment.


Like most people, I thoroughly enjoy watching the groom's response when his bride enters the room. Many grooms' lower lip start to quiver, loose feeling in all limbs and start whimpering like this guy:

But the groom at this wedding, basically just smiled. Well, more accurately, smiled for about six hours straight. He literally couldn't help himself. From the moment he walked into the ceremony with his groomsmen, to the end of the reception he maintained a perm-a-grim. It was possibly the greatest expression of joy I have ever seen.

Smile #2

The second smile wasn't quite as "giddy", but every bit as meaningful. One of the wedding musicians owned this smile. In between songs I caught him stealing a glance at his wife of five years. It wasn't nearly as "earlobe to earlobe" as the groom, but there was a particular depth and warmth to it that told about 60 different stories in about six seconds.

What shapes a smile

I don't think the smiles themselves changed after five years, I think the people did. Life has a way of shaping the contours of a face and adjusting its appearance. This isn't to suggest the "five-year" couple was less excited to see each other; in fact I think each smile communicated the exact same thing:

I love you. 

It's just they love each other a bit differently.

Smile #3

My son Lukas hasn't been smiling as much lately. After an ER visit and two doctors visit, we found out that he has a double ear infection coupled with a temperature that hovered between 103-105. Little guy just can't catch a break. But on Friday, after a few dosages of infant Tylenol he couldn't stop smiling. Truth be told, I question what else was in the Tylenol. It happened to be Halloween on Friday so we couldn't resist dressing him up despite him feeling under the weather. 

Little Lion Man

Why smiles matter

I've been thinking about smiles a lot this week. Why do we smile in pictures? Why do people write terrible songs about smiling?

I think smiles in a lot of ways express a desired or optimistic "way life should be."Obviously one can't smile all the time, but I guess that makes the smiles even more meaningful. Lukas' smile meant so much because he hadn't smiled in a few days. The smiles at weddings are significant, because arguments and tears are inevitable.

Maybe that's the point. Not that we force ourselves to smile more; I think that would be disingenuous. But maybe we take better advantage of the moments when we are smiling. Maybe we smile "deeper", and maybe we can't afford to miss the opportunities to smile. 


  1. I was recently here and this is an amazing location for vows. I got a little carried away with the open bar. An open bar allows you to like any sort of music, even the most awful. Anyway, for those of you thinking to marry, this is the perfect spot.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts