No sooner had we arrived back in Liverpool than we turned around and headed to Belfast for our friends Matt and Catherine’s wedding. Thankfully with all these flights, we’ve become travel pros when it comes to managing bags, babies and guitars. And we were excited to go because this would be the first time in over a month we had seen lots of our friends and family from Cornerstone Wirral who were also in town for the wedding. It was a quick trip, landing Tuesday evening, the wedding was Wednesday afternoon, then we left bright and early Thursday morning. And as we’ve already mentioned, weddings in the UK are all day parties – so the majority of our site-seeing was from the windows of the van as we traveled to the different venues.
Matt and Catherine’s wedding was beautiful, Merritt was a champ, and we loved getting to catch up with so many of our friends.
One of the other things we’ve noticed from all of the Northern Irish people that we’ve gotten to know is that their culture seems to parallel the ‘Bible-belt’ culture of the South; in that it tends to be highly religious, conservative, upper-middle class, and rooted in tradition. So interestingly enough, Northern Irish culture has appeared to be an environment we more naturally understand because of our own experience of growing up down South. And therefore does not seem to take as much time and intentionality to grasp like we have to work to understand Scouse culture in Liverpool.
We got home from Matt and Catherine’s wedding long enough to wash our clothes and head back to Belfast the following weekend for our friends Ian and Leah’s wedding [see first paragraph about being traveling pros]. But this time we had more time on both sides of the wedding to hang out with the families and enjoy down time before and after the service. Besides flying into the wrong airport in Belfast (whoops, sorry guys!) it was another beautiful day with a service that perfectly represented the personalities and taste of the newlyweds.
I never take for granted being asked to sing and play in someone’s wedding. It really is a huge honor, a day that has been planned, thought through and will be remembered forever… With the music holding such a significant portion of the service time [again see this post about wedding differences]. And as a musician in a wedding you really do get the best seat in the house – seeing the bride walk in, the grooms face, the exchanging of vows and all of the facial expressions up close, it is a blessing. And getting to serve couples that I know and love, and who know and love us just adds that much more of a desire to love them well by playing and leading well.
Although it was short, we’ve loved our time in Northern Ireland and desperately want to go back and visit and get to see more the sites both city and country – hopefully some day, but if we have to wait a few months, that’ll be okay too :).
Aaron + Kelly + Merritt
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