Bliss is born; one plus one equals three.

That’s the desired result of a wedding; the act of committing “till death do us part.”

It begins with tying the knot. Traditions include bridal showers, stag parties, best men and maids of honor. Many marry at churches, in backyards, before judges, justices of the peace, priests, minister, and some in far-off places.

It was hard to compete with the destination wedding of Lyn Tesseyman and Daniel Donnelly. Lyn, a Camden resident, met Daniel while traveling in Europe on a walkabout that would change her life and determine her destiny. While studying karate at a dojo in Ireland, Daniel, a local, kicked her in a “sensitive spot,” described later as a “smooth move.” An apology, leading to a date, resulted in an Irish wedding.

It is difficult to understand an Irish wedding until you’ve been to an Irish wedding. In mid-November, family and friends headed across the ocean to experience one firsthand.

A full three days, bookended with 22-hour days of door-to-door traveling. On arrival, a girls’ spa day, the boys off for a hike, followed by a hens' night out at a downtown bar, with the stags heading off to a pub of their own. Time to get to know each other, as the groom's and bride’s families and friends began the process of mingling; the party began..

Sparkles in the manmade pond, flowers and sweet cards with messages decorating the rooms, and a bar where all you do is share your room number with the keeper to get a drink; Guinness and Jameson flowed – Irish to the core.

At the end of the festivities, time to settle up, came a pleasant surprise. Expecting the worst (a bill that might rival my share of the national debt), I perused the damages. Not so bad; remembering the kindness of strangers buying rounds for their new best friends who had “traveled over the pond” to watch Lyn become part of the Donnelly clan.

The wedding itself was spectacular and unique; determined to be outside, the bride and groom waited for a dry moment (“a pause in the weather”) sometime in late afternoon, in a land not known for November sun. As 4 p.m. came, the wind swirled and the rain thumped on umbrellas; this was the “pause” they were looking for?

The ceremony began with our umbrella buckling, almost blowing away before we got it closed to then enjoy the wind and rain beating against us, reminding us we were alive. The groom came first, happily parading up the wooden platform, finished that morning by the groom himself and his crew. The bride followed in splendor, gown-train dipping, unnoticed by her, in the sparkling pool, in full bliss, next to a fiancé with a half-moon smile.

The bride’s vows, on a piece of paper now blown away or lost — her apologies for that — became a speech of raw emotion, made up on the spot. The groom, speech in hand, followed with humor and the ring.

The rain subsiding, the winds beginning to warm, we walked into the hotel for the pre-party; two hours of socializing and drink-swapping with our new family.

Revelry, the cry of the night became “up the wedding,” including glass-tinkling, kisses and good cheer to fill the hearts of all. Both families, newly minted, were now one, wanting to one-up each other with a weapon called kindness.

The dinner, replete with speeches and more revelry, turned into the after party. More beer, more whiskey, more kindness and love, with a photo booth where you could create funny memories to remember this wonderful evening, as traditional Irish music, mixed with American classics, playing as the dancing began.

When the DJ bellowed “Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly” (it was time to cut the cake), Lyn looked across to her new in-laws; a sense of wonderment sweeping over her face. It was she and Daniel, not her new in-laws, he was referring to.

Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon” was next; their first dance and a party that wouldn’t end until the wee hours of the next day.

At breakfast, looking fresh as a daisy, Lyn looked over, pointed to her ring and mouthed the words; “I’m married”; a twinkle in her eyes and her big smile.

May Lyn and Daniel have a “life of together”; may it be symbolized by the turbulent weather of your vows bonding you, for the rest of your lives, through the sunshine, through the rain, and through the winds that blow your fortunes to the east, to the west, to north and to the south.


“The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place.”

Chinua Achebe, writer and professor (1930-2013)