My daughter Elizabeth and I went on a road trip to historic Cartersville, GA this past weekend so that she could be in her college roommate’s wedding. Beth and Jason got married on the grounds of the Sullivan House outside of Marietta on Friday, July 11, and honestly, it was one of the best (beautiful and fun) weddings and rehearsals I’ve ever attended. Yes, I loved my children’s weddings, but I was probably too emotional to enjoy them as fully and completely as I did this one.
What made it so special? It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing because the music, the ambience, the special mix of people, and the scrumptious food all combined to make this a spectacular event. Everything from the tiny glittering lights to the potato puffs was perfect. And I stole an idea about making palm tree decorations from a potato, a carrot, a green pepper, and toothpicks. Very clever and so cool. And the people? At the moment I’m remembering the couple from PA and the American flag on the man’s lapel. “I always try to find a way to honor the troops,” he said.
As the wedding guests waited for the wedding to begin, we sat beside a huge magnolia tree listening to a gifted harpist. Although she had plenty of competition from the cicadas, birds, and road noise, the harpist managed to create a calm, peaceful ambience. It was hot, sultry even, so we sat and fanned ourselves with some fans that Beth had created for her guests.
As the attendants began the processional, all went according to plan except that one of the four little flower girls seemed reluctant to come down with her sisters. Beth was gorgeous in her exquisite white gown, and I’m still thinking about how pretty the pearls in her blond curly hair looked. Elizabeth was beautiful in her latte colored dress, but then I suppose I’m a bit biased. After the vows were spoken, the young couple poured sand from two separate vases into one, a change from the customary candle lighting.
As I waited with the other guests for the wedding party to cross the lawn to the reception, I assumed this reception would be like countless others I’ve attended: dancing, food, laughter, and words of congratulations. I was right…but I was wrong too because this was a stellar reception. Everyone there danced. Everyone. And yet very few people appeared to be drunk. Beth and Jason had carefully selected just the right music designed to get everyone on the dance floor at least once. The parents danced to John Denver’s “Annie’s Song,” and that was sweet. The father/daughter and mother/son songs were perfect as well. The DJ played “Fly me to the Moon” for me, and the four little flower girls danced with what I’d have to describe as wild abandon to that tune.
Jason’s family made an indelible impression on Elizabeth and me, enough so that I could write about each of them. However, I’m going to stick to Ryan, a recent college grad who’s currently working for a cruise line in Alaska. He came home especially for his brother’s wedding, and as we talked during the weekend events, it became increasingly apparent that this was no ordinary young man. Energetic, fun-loving, and respectful, he was also a good dancer and made everyone feel a little more upbeat.
As we parted company with the Yohe’s, I told Carol, the mother, what a wonderful family she had and that I was glad our paths had crossed. Ryan spoke up and shared his philosophy that as long as he had to be somewhere, he was going to make the best of it and have a good time. Simple idea but a profound one too. Elizabeth and I talked about it off and on the rest of the weekend. As long as you have to go to work, try to make the best of it and have a good time. When you’re in a social setting, do the same. In fact, while here on Earth, make the most of your time here, and LIVE. And while you’re at it, try to make it more enjoyable for others too. Laugh a lot and dance too.
Thanks for the lesson, Ryan…and for the dance lessons too. Move up, move back, right?