A few years ago, I lost my job and couldn’t find work for three months. I had to get help from friends and my church to do things like pay rent or eat. In the middle of this, my good friend got married.
I had planned for over a year to come to the wedding, several states away. While I was not a bridesmaid, she had asked me to be the violin soloist for the wedding mass. I had helped her pick the music during the wedding planning and was thrilled to be asked at all.
And then, of course, I didn’t have enough money to come to the wedding. When my dad found out, he offered to drive me out there because he had a business trip to a neighboring state. So I jubilantly told K. that I’d be able to come and would set aside money for the expenses.
I arrived two days before the wedding and she had arranged for me to stay with a BM so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel or meals. After we carted some stuff from her house to the new apartment, she took me out for dinner. She made sure I had rides to and from everything from the rehearsal dinner to the musicians’ run through. She made sure that I had temporary friends to keep me company during the wedding.
What I appreciated most about that weekend, though, was what she gave me. I have played violin and viola in weddings for friends for 16 years now and have never been offered payment for my services. It’s always been implied that this is my way of contributing to the happy day. This would make sense if it were my family–we have a tradition of writing music for the reception and I’m usually either the vocalist or part of the choir. But a few weeks before the wedding, K. asked me how much I usually charged for playing in a wedding. I told her that, because I was on a tight budget, I wanted her to pay me half of whatever the other musicians were being given and then consider the other half my gift to help her with the new life. 0430-14