Moments before the groom was to kiss her, the bride started jumping up and down, not like she was going to dunk a basketball but more like on a pogo stick, and the guests clapped wildly, a sonic burst, all unrehearsed, and if the sanctuary had seen moments more authentic or spontaneous or ferociously fun, it couldn’t have seen many.

Every time I want to beg an engaged couple to take the Wedding Ceremony Money and go tour Europe or put it in savings or do anything with it besides blowing it on flowers and candles and faultless dresses for a 25-minute show, I go to a wedding like Alina’s — and it all makes sense again.

It was on a weekend afternoon this December, clear and cool, and maybe there were Christmas parties to go to but this came first for the several hundred there to support and, if you were of a certain young age like the couple of honor, to gawk and ooh and ahh. When the bride made her appearance at the back of the church, all her young well-coiffed female friends stood and their mouths dropped and they gasped, all wide-eyed, and if it hadn’t been tacky they would have squealed and raced down the aisle and carried Alina to the front of the church on their shoulders.

If you knew the bride and groom— we’d known the bride since she was just past little bitty — you knew it was going to be a good time, even if you had to get all dressed up. 

So happy for her. So happy for this young man, who’d met her at church when she was a college freshman and he was a sophomore and finally, after a couple of years, asked his future wife out. Book-learning or not, he got his college money’s worth because this young dude lucked into a first-stringer, a young woman just a little crazy, semi-whacky, ever playful, smart and loyal and good right down to the marrow, raised right and true blue.

She also comes fully equipped with a top-shelf mom, dad and baby sister, which means the groom hit the In-Law Trifecta.

Clean livin’.

During the ceremony proper, the smooth young pastor — he’d brought his “A” game — read some answers from questions he’d asked during the pre-marriage counseling phase, like, “What was your first impression of each other?”

The bride had answered, “I thought he was insanely smart … and he looked good in glasses.”

The groom: “Really kind-hearted and funny. But definitely also weirder than most girls I had met.”

Love is blind. And, sometimes, weird. 

For a “funny story from your relationship,” the groom had answered that the night he’d finally decided to ask Alina out, she showed up at church in a black T-shirt that read, “Called to a Season of Singleness.” 

Some would take this as a sign, “some” meaning “any sane person.” Especially at church.

The future groom did not. He endeavored to persevere. And for that reason, there we were, together at Christmas, a whole bunch of imperfect people and an imperfect couple and an imperfect pastor, all luckily together for a perfect moment.

A final prayer concluded, the couple looked at each other, holding hands at the ends of outstretched arms, and the kissing part was coming, and that’s when Alina started hopping. Just two or three or maybe 10 hops, ready to get on with the show, and I promise after they kissed and the preacher presented them, either the couple or the preacher or God Himself, the inventor of marriage, got a standing ovation. 

A standing ovation at a wedding. 

If confetti had started falling from the ceiling and a sideline reporter had grabbed the couple, exiting amid shrieks and high-5s, it would not have surprised me. Not at that point. Not even a little bit. 

A glorious moment. 

Thinking about getting hitched? Some of you are. If you’re sure, do as my friend Alina did: hop to it, and jump right in.