Story 4: Banquet Halls
The Wedding Feast
The place where two become one

With our arms joined
We prepared to enter the banquet hall.
We placed our hands against the door,
And as we pushed it open
From the other side we heard
The joyous voices of all our loved ones.

My best friend’s voice was the loudest of all.
I was a bit embarrassed, but the joy of being surrounded by happy faces won out.
We were born in different towns and grew up not knowing each other, but we met and now we are here in Okinawa raising a glass to all that has brought us to this point. It is the best feeling in the world.

From the start, you said you wanted our wedding reception to be just right. To be honest, I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal to you. Smiling as always you patiently explained to me the special meaning of a wedding reception. The reception after the wedding is not something we do for ourselves.

Our parents, my big brother, your little sister, our cousins and relatives, our friends and acquaintances and all the people who have helped us out — they’re all here to attend our reception.
Half of the people here I’m meeting for the first time, but they are the people we love, and they are playing an important role in our lives.

“My dear family and friends, the woman beside me is my beloved wife. It is my pleasure to introduce her to you.”
“Thank you all so much for coming. This is my beloved husband. I am delighted to introduce him to you.”
“From here on out, we will be in your lives as a married couple.”
So we begin our speech, and signify the joining of our two lives into one. “Thank you for witnessing the beginning of our married life.” As I say those words, I remember you sweetly insisting, “Let’s put on a real show of hospitality. I’m just so grateful to everyone from the bottom of my heart!”

That feeling of hospitality is why we chose Okinawa. People who had never met before arriving here are seated together at a table, thanks to this newfound connection. With the emerald green ocean visible from the windows of the banquet hall the ocean, we exchange words of happiness and make a toast. The beautiful scenery, the delicious food, and all that Okinawa offers — that is our gift to our guests.
You taught me that our wedding reception is the most joyful way to show our gratitude to our loved ones.