It was an absolutely stunning day for a wedding on Saturday. The colorful mums were in full bloom and the sun began a slow descent when Ron and Meredith exchanged their vows in American Sign Language. About half of the guests were deaf or hard of hearing. There were supposed to be two interpreters there, one for the audience and one for the couple, but one interpreter did not show. It was difficult to view the interpreter from where I was sitting but I caught as much as I could. Standing on either side of the couple was the groom’s two young sons with the cutest smiles on their faces.
I especially enjoy deaf/hard of hearing weddings because at those weddings, communication is often a breeze at the dinner table and on the dance floor. When the hubby and I are seated at a wedding where all the guests at my table are hearing, we are often left out of conversations that simply flow too fast for us to follow. Sometimes we’ll gamely attempt to join in the conversation and let everyone know what they need to do to include us. The conversation will slow, we’ll toss in some banter, but it usually ends up going back to the same fast pace at some point. Then we end up talking to each other.
Deaf/hard of hearing weddings are a whole different ball game. Conversations zip back and forth visually while the bread gets passed around. Shoulders are tapped, arms are waved and the energy in the air takes on a different vibe. I catch the eye of a friend two tables down and we catch up on news while we wait for the salad to arrive.
It’s not long before the first napkin pops up in the air. Then another joins, and another– until the air in the whole room is pulsating with the napkins that are being whipped around and around. The usual tradition for a bride and groom to kiss is the sound of a spoon tapping against a water glass. That tradition doesn’t serve well at deaf and hard of hearing weddings where the couple may not hear the tinking sound. Instead, it is a tradition to whip the napkins around in the air to signal the couple that it is time for a kiss.
On the way home from the wedding, the hubby and I reflected on the evening. “I always like going to deaf weddings,” he commented. “We can just kick back and not have to struggle to understand everyone, ya know?”
Yes, I know.