Backyard Wedding

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I went to a beautiful backyard wedding last night, Carol and Randy’s.  On the way home, we talked about what made the event especially nice, and we finally decided that it was EVERYTHING. From the setting to the music and food and special combination of people, we loved it. Oh, and then there’s the fact that love was involved; that always adds the icing on the cake (quite a cliché, but still true).

It rained all the way to Sumter, and the closer we got to the house, the heavier the showers became. When we arrived, the bride’s son-in-law was standing barefoot in the drive, umbrella overhead, directing guests back to their cars to wait it out. The family had been closely watching the weather reports, and all were confident that the storm would pass by 5:00.  Sure enough, the downpour turned to a light sprinkle, and by the time we made it to the backyard, we put our umbrellas away. I loved the symbolism of the cleansing rain followed by the life-giving sun.

The back yard was beautifully decorated, and as we waited for the nuptials to begin, we watched as several close friends and family members wiped down tables and chairs, one of whom was Marna. She had come from Wilmington and at the moment, clad in her wedding attire and white tennis shoes, was working diligently to help sop up the rain with a thick towel. In case you’re wondering, yes, she later changed from the wet tennis shoes to a pair of stylish white sandals. (Marna, we miss you at CCTC!)

The music was provided by two of my co-workers, T-Bo and Jackson, and by Brent, a fabulous DJ; all three did a great job of adding just the right musical ambience to the evening. The co-worker duo played their guitars, and T-Bo sang a few of Carol’s favorites including “Love Remains.” It was beautiful, and I became quite emotional as I listened carefully to the words of the song. I think the setting beneath the trees, glistening after the spring showers, added to the sentimental feelings. And lest I forget, two birds soared high between the treetops during the vows, a sight that seemed to say, “We’re in love too!”

Vows complete, Carol’s brother, a minister who had conducted the service, pronounced them husband and wife, and everyone clapped.  As the afternoon and evening progressed, people chatted, danced to the DJ’s selections (each carefully selected by Carol and Randy), reunited with old friends, ate scrumptious barbeque and the fixin’s, shared stories, and laughed a lot. Everyone was happy for the couple and grateful for love, sweet love. I met a couple who met (or re-met?) at their 15th high school reunion a few decades ago and married not quite two months later. We chatted briefly about the importance of timing, but before I could hear more about their romance, my hubby snagged me to go to the drink table with him.

I must share this. While we were eating, Nancy, a friend and techno-savvy person, came to our table and asked each couple for advice to give Carol and Randy. It was impromptu, but I think we did “okay” in our brief videotaping segments. Rex and Patricia advice was to remember that each of them loved the other more than anyone else in the world. In their case, whenever either of them gets perturbed, they think, “No one loves me more than Patrica (or Rex),” and that thought quells acrimony or annoyance. Patricia went on to say that although he doesn’t drink coffee, Rex gets up every morning and fixes it for her. One day when he didn’t have time to prepare it (can’t remember the reason), he went to Baker’s Sweets, a local eatery and coffee shop, and bought her a cup. That’s love. The rest of us gave some pretty good advice too, but I don’t have time to write about it now. Maybe later.

People drank peach tea and wine, ate fruit and wedding cookies, and savored barbeque and rice. They thought about love and families and connections. “The sun comes up and seasons change, but though it all, love remains.” A good time was had by all, and I hope the Brileys have a long and happy life together.

Two Different Weddings

As I recall the looks of love and downright adoration that passed between Chris and Angie, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll have rough patches. But they will. So will Nate and Brittany. I fervently hope that they’ll ride them out together, partners united in purpose and love.

I’m thinking of two couples who got married yesterday, one in the Columbia LDS temple and the other in a lovely outdoor setting, the beach of the Lake House at Lake Carolina in Blythewood. Both settings were beautiful, yet different. Both ceremonies were special, yet unique.

The temple is a scene of exquisite beauty and sacredness, and I can get emotional in a heartbeat as I visualize Nate and Brittany kneeling at the altar and facing each other as they were sealed together for time and all eternity. The last temple wedding I attended was my son’s, and I’ll always remember the way I felt when he walked into the room and gave me a little smile as he took his place beside me…for only a moment. Then before I knew it, he was Amanda’s husband.

The lakeside setting was also breathtakingly gorgeous. As I mentioned to several people, even if a wedding hadn’t taken place, it was still a lovely place to sit and meditate and “be still and know.” The fact that a marriage ceremony occurred on the beach just added more to the awesome feel and look of the setting. With the sun on our skin, a gentle breeze wafting through the tall pines, the sand beneath our feet, the placid lake in front of us, and the blue, blue Carolina sky, I’d have to say it too was a holy place. Seeing Chris and Angie vow to love and be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives only added to the special spirit of the place.

Both weddings had receptions where there was good food and fellowship.  And music and dancing too. Since I wasn’t at Nate and Brittany’s reception, I can’t describe it, but I can certainly attest to the spectacular music at the lakeside reception. From mellow to traditional and beach to soul, it was awesome. And the dancing? It was phenomenal.  I loved watching people more coordinated and less inhibited than I on the dance floor, especially a little boy named Cole and my husband’s five grandchildren. Little Charlie stole the show.

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to hear that I enjoyed talking with and listening to the other guests. Everyone has a story, and it was a pleasure to hear such a variety of them. It was also nice to chat with so many like-minded individuals, and this afternoon I’m remembering a vow that two of us made to….well, that’s our pledge to each other, and I’ll let you know more about it when I make some progress on this endeavor.

The food was yummy, the music was spectacular, the weather was perfect, the background was gorgeous, and everyone was in a good mood! What more can you ask for? All that comes to mind is a wish that both young couples have a long life of happiness together. One of the wedding guests mentioned a study she had read about couples who divorce. According to the article, 50 percent of the couples who divorced probably would have “made it” if they’d just somehow gotten through the rough patch…or two or three.

As I recall the looks of love and downright adoration that passed between Chris and Angie, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll have rough patches. But they will. So will Nate and Brittany. I fervently hope that they’ll ride them out together, partners united in purpose and love.

Glassy Mountain Wedding

“Are you going to blog about this?” my brother asked.

“You bet I am,” I said.

What a whirlwind weekend. It was magnificent, mainly because I got to spend much of it with my siblings and their spouses in the upper part of the state. John, one of my young handsome nephews, was there too. It’s always a plus to have someone of the younger generation to keep us informed and up-to-date. Thanks to John, I now have a Dragon Dictation app on my iPhone that I’m thoroughly enjoying. Whodda thunk I could talk into my phone and that my speech could be immediately turned into text that I could send to anotherperson?

Back to the weekend, the primary purpose of getting together was to attend the wedding of Ben and Jessica Fowler. Ben is the son of my sister-in-law Lisa who’s married to my brother Mike. I could go on and on about the wonderful time we had and the memories we made, but that really isn’t the purpose of this blog post.

Okay, maybe I’ll say just a little about downtown Greenville. If you haven’t been in a while, you should. I went for a walk along the Reedy River Saturday morning and found myself caught up in a running event. Fun…as long as I kept to the side of the path. The scenery was beyond description, so I won’t even go there. We all loved the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, the foray into the Mast General Store, and our lunch at a quaint little andwich shop. An added plus was seeing all the little children dressed up in their Halloween attire.

On Friday night, we attended the rehearsal dinner at Larkin’s, and the food, entertainment, and company were all just perfect. My sister-in-law and her friend Elaine had decorated each table in such creative ways that I can’t do them justice with my writing. I won’t even try. Suffice it to say that we all took our burlap  cutlery holders home and that I’m going to tryto duplicate their design for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The holders, by the way, were just one of many extraordinary touches that made the evening delightful. The toasts, the laughter, and the overall ambience of the environment combined to make it memorable.

Later the next day, we went to the Cliffs at Glassy for the wedding. High on Glassy Mountain, there’s a chapel that overlooks the mountains and one of the most majestic views I’ve ever seen. That’s where the vows were exchanged, and I couldn’t help but think that if a person couldn’t feel the “spirit” there atop a mountain and on a level with the clouds, then he or she must have issues. After the beautiful ceremony, the bride and groom asked the entire wedding party to come outside for a group photo. With them at the front and the rest of the party behind them, the photographer stood atop a high hill and took the picture. Then we sipped hot apple cider and savored the chilly autumn afternoon while other photographs were made.

With reluctance, we left the mountain and rode around and around the winding road until we reached the bottom of the hill. At that point, we went towards Hendersonville while the rest of the party headed back to Greenville for the reception. From every account we’ve heard, it too was fabulous. The food, the band, and the beautiful setting were the stuff of memories.

Back to Mike’s question. Although I’ve written a little about the weekend itself, I have even more to say about marriage in general.Weddings always provide food for thought. When you see a couple preparing to love each other till death do they part and so on, it makes you think about what that’s all about. What does that stuff about “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer” really mean?  Stay tuned for some answers that I picked up from wedding toasts and a little informal polling.