I don’t usually like weddings. I know – you are shocked, shocked to hear that! Earlier this month, though, I went to a wedding that was actually a wonderfully pleasant experience. It was held in one of those exquisite outdoor Santa Barbara settings (not the beach – I love the beach, but that would have been way too clichéd). It started in the late afternoon, when it was warm, and continued into the balmy evening.

When I arrived, the bride and groom were already mingling with the guests. This was before the ceremony began. The bride was not wearing white and she made no grand entrance. She and her partner are both in their 50s and it was a first marriage for each of them.

When the formalities began, and the bride began to recite a poem to the groom, I thought the time had come to descend into sappiness. Instead, the verse took a turn toward the witty, and I think everyone smiled instead of crying.

There was no singles table, and in fact, no assigned seating at all. (I just now realized that I had to stop to think about whether there were other people who came to the wedding solo. I’m still not sure.) I sat next to someone I hadn’t seen in a while, and near some people I didn’t know at all, who had very different life experiences from mine and who were terrific conversationalists. The food was great, too – and I don’t mean that as an aside.

So did this surprisingly lovely experience make me long for marriage, or at least for some festive party in my honor? It didn’t. When it was over, I was happy to be heading home to my own place, by myself, to savor some solitude.

I have to admit, though, that there was one thing that looked good to me. You know that part where you pick out a whole list of the precise things you would like, and then wait while other people hop online to buy them for you? I’d like a crack at that.

Oh, wait, one other thing, too. No, make that 1,138 things. I’d like all those federal legal benefits and protections available only to those who are officially married.