While washing the coffee pot tonight, letting today’s wedding play like a DVD across my memory, I knew I had to share with you what a special night it was. But when I sat down to write, all cozy in my fleece blanket, the following message shot from my stomach to my brain: snack time! (this is normal, dare I say regular?) I tried to ignore it, and the message clarified itself, cheering chips and hummus! Chips and hummus! (Why doesn’t my stomach plead this desperately for broccoli and quinoa?)
This is ridiculous, I thought – I had dinner at the wedding. So of course this was when I deserted wedding blogging and ran to the kitchen and piled chips and a blob of hummus on my plate. Then I came back to my room to type. Shut the door. Sat down.
I wrote a sentence, deleted it, ate a few chips, wrote another sentence, deleted it, ate some more chips, wiped salty fingers on my fleece blanket, sent a text message, got up to get water. Sat down. Thought: what the heck was I doing? Considered going on Facebook.
Moral of the story: food is a distraction, people! Avoid it – it gets in the way of creativity! (Actually, it probably fueled it… but whatever). But now my chips are all gone, and I remember what I was going to say. (It always comes back to you, right?)
Today a lovely, spunky grown-up friend of our family’s got married on her parents’ dairy farm in the countryside.
Before you envision gingham tablecloths and plastic lawn chairs, listen: this was no podunk hitching. This was a sophisticated and oh-so-Pinterest-inspired wedding. It was a 4:00 p.m. ceremony on a clear green lawn, mowed and manicured, surrounded by evergreen trees. There was a white picket fence, and potted flowers at the end of every row. There were lace doilies hanging from a trellis and white painted benches to sit on. The bride wore a birdcage veil. She arrived at the end of the aisle in a lavender ’32 Roadster.
People sang hymns, breathed fresh air, and cried as the bride washed her groom’s feet. Then everyone walked over to the reception, on another grassy wooded farm lawn. Dinner was served on long tables covered in Shakespeare, vintage tea cups, and china you never use at home but which suddenly takes on new value in the woods at a dusk wedding dinner.
Just enough rural magic mixed with elegant charm to create a wedding you want to copy.
And not only did I, a suburban girl who holds her breath in the Minnesota State Fair’s animal barn, love this sophisticated country wedding, I noticed that everyone had the most lovely, relaxed time for three reasons:
1. The wedding was planned to the “t,” and all the details had been taken care of – guests just had to follow directions and enjoy the party.
2. Everything felt personal and intentional – like a party the bride dreamed out and executed flawlessly (which she did). So we all just admired the wedding and were genuinely enjoying ourselves, because we knew how much this lovely night meant to the bride and groom, and how much work they did to ensure it was a beautiful, beautiful evening.
3. Nothing felt like a show, like at many weddings. No sitting and waiting for the bride and groom to show up. No sitting and waiting for toasts, or wondering what was happening next, or having a microphone passed around all night. This was a wedding to sit and talk. This was a wedding to savor. This was a chance to fellowship, mingle, sip lemonade, and bask in the glory of a perfect August night with 0% chance of rain.
I’d just like to bring you into the scene with a bit of storytelling…
The lemonade is not yellow. Yesterday the bride’s mother told us she mixed citric acid, water, and sugar, “and there you go!” she’d said. There is a table with urns of lemonade and fancy colored syrups. “One pump per glass” a lace doily says in marker, and guests are making prints in the dirt as they line up – ladies in their heels, men in their shiny dress shoes.
We are sitting at a table with church friends.
My huckleberry lemonade is pinkish-purple, the same color as Harold’s dress shirt across the table. “Did you plan to match your wife tonight?” I ask. Harold nods, and Dawn smiles. She has purple in her blouse, and a shiny silver necklace with several strands.
Dad sips coffee in a glass cup. “He doesn’t want to forget who he came with.” Dad is not wearing his glasses. Without them, his eyes are squinty blue buttons when he grins.
Our table is covered in pages from Richard the Third. Dad asks if I’ve read it. I think I’ve read Henry the Fourth, I say. We all admire the way the bottom of the pages is cut in a lacy die-cut pattern, perfectly straight, still showing the footnotes.
The sky is grey, but not in a looming-storm kind of way. Across the lawn, beyond a flower garden and a wooden gate, we hear the cows mooing. A silver silo rises above the trees.
Ashley says she wants to get married outside. I am next to get married, most likely, and I do not. To my right, Scott and Stacy are smiling, elbows on the table. They got married outside, Scott says. “It rained and then the sun came out right as the ceremony started.”
The breeze is cool, and I put on a cardigan.
A woman who sports a black baby bump and a black Nikon snaps a picture out of the corner of my eye. “Go ahead and smile!” she says when I look up. Ashley leans in. The lady asks if we are twins. We should not have curled one side curl the same way, put our hair up the same way.
The bride is in a white beaded dress talking to friends under the oak trees. Her groom has a beige vest and glasses. His hand is on her back. They are giggling. They are a short couple, and when they embrace friends, their chins tilt towards the sky.
Harold strikes a match and lights our tall white taper, and the bride is standing at the end of our table, and we stand with our china plates in hand to greet her.