It was a wedding to aspire to. Set against a European backdrop that was “home” and surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones the bride and groom were beautiful. The ceremony included groomsmen in full morning coats – tails and top-hats – and bridesmaids from multiple countries as their courtship spanned great distances.

This wedding was my first full taste of what Oxford SBS looked like as it was one of my best friends, her father calls us brother and sister, who was marrying a graduate of Oxford SBS class of 2012. I attended their wedding and was blown away by the experience. For context, the wedding was literally featured in Brides magazine a few months later.

But what blew me away were the people. The SBS classmates who had come from all over the globe to see their friend get married and to party and celebrate with him. I met a dozen students that October evening and chatted with them about the program and their experience. It was at that wedding that I bumped Oxford from low on my list of schools to the top.

The inclusiveness and camaraderie that the class exuded was on full display and I was smitten by it. More so than from any other MBA program.

A wedding helped me make up my mind in favor of Oxford and as we head into graduation week I got the chance to participate in a wedding for two of my best friends in the program who got married yesterday inside the great cathedral of Christ Church College.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending services with them there for most of the year. Saving each other seats when one or all of us are running late and brunching afterwards as we discuss the sermon. The church helped bind our friendship together more than the committees we sat on or the classes we had together. It allowed us to spend time and space away from school without leaving it and that helped us grow closer.

Their wedding was again outstanding. Groomsman in morning coats and bridesmaids from multiple countries. Guests from 6 continents and more than a dozen languages spoken just int he wedding party alone. The ceremony was held in the cathedral and the reception in the gorgeous town hall just next door. With guest dancing until after 4 am I’d say it was an amazing way to start the end of my time at Oxford and a great matching bookend to the wedding that brought me here in the first place.

What struck me most about the wedding personally was how that same camaraderie existed between strangers united in the common purpose of supporting their union at both weddings. I have never been one to plan out my big day and think about color schemes and outfits, and the like. I may have protested outside the Supreme Court for my right to get married but the wedding itself hasn’t held a major interest to me.

But after last night, I know that beyond the venue, beyond the cake, beyond the outfits I will only care about bringing that same spirit of unity into my wedding. Everything else is negotiable but I want to have that feeling with me and I hope many of the guests from last night will be able to join me on that day.