Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Village Life

The Fizz and I took another circular trip to hug my scattered loves. There is something very satisfying in making a journey to and for love. In my case I visit not just my loves but their locations, their homes, their gardens, their enterprises. To catalog in my memory banks visual references of their lives. It soothes.

This year it was a quick trip. I needed to return in time to participate in a most unusual wedding.  I first met the bride when she was in fifth grade. Becca was at work with her mom before they left for a trip to the capital. She was proudly going forth as her school's representative in the Geography Bee.  Now she is a summa cum laude graduate of the honors college of a large state university. She took a major in linguistics and a minor in anthropology.  She looks pretty much the same as she did in fifth grade.  Just taller and with  a bosom.  She's giving herself a couple of weeks to settle into marriage before starting graduate school. There is no moss gathering on this eager for life young woman.

It was, according to Becca's mom, always her wish to come 'home' to get married. She had a vision of what she wanted  that was in keeping with her sense of community. Which is strong. She did an immersion semester in China where she was a standout. Very fair skin, tall, large boned, single females all stand out in that culture. She found her way to acceptance via her belief in the goodness and commonality of mankind.
Those beliefs were founded and nurtured in her 'village church' and her summer mission trips through her high school and college summers. No surprise this young woman wanted to come back to her 'home village' to make the trip down the aisle. Fairly traditional but she wanted to do it 'her way' which is to say it takes a village to host a wedding.

Women of the church donated the  alter dressings and flowers. They were quite unusual as the swagged garlands appeared to be the wedding veils of past brides, the flower bouquets at intervals were made  from the fabrics, lace, beads and appliques from bridal gowns past. Donated by church ladies. All these efforts were supervised by a family friend with a distinguished career as a textiles artist.

The photographers and videographers were their wedding present from a longtime family friend.

The family spent months collecting wine bottles. The father of the bride then cut the necks off and ground the edges smooth to make vases for the centerpieces for the reception. Her mother grew all the flowers for the centerpieces , the bridesmaids bouquets and the brides bouquet. The maids wore Wildcat blue   dresses with bright yellow daisy bouquets. Two ladies from the church collected the blossoms and made the bouquets for the maids. It was charming.

One of the Bridesmaids made the wedding cake. Simple smooth fondant covering three round layers with neat ribbons encircling each tier and the base surrounded by daisys, the couples monogram gracing the top.  Village talent was shared everywhere.

One Uncle is a landscaper. He brought his love and his talents to the gallery to supervise the centerpieces at  buffet tables, bar, dj station, and every guest table. The wine bottle arrangements were done on site then set upon  mirror squares and surrounded by votives in a collection of donated containers. Each table had a slightly different arrangement. All had an assortment of ferns, daisys, zinnias. Each was then accented with a variety of blooms. Some with Hydrangeas, others with Gardenias, still  others with Roses. Whatever was looking it's best on the cutting day. Not too different from a Garden Party Wedding it's just that they brought Mom's garden to another location.

The groom is an architect. He loves historic preservation but currently is employed designing prisons. The bride wanted  the reception to be in a building he would love. And remember. So they came to our Arts Center which is in a very old, restored produce warehouse. The galleries have 16 foot ceilings, hand hewn beams, exposed brick walls, original plank flooring and huge new windows in every bay with every kind of lighting needed to showcase the art.  It's nice. We local artists raised three million dollars to pay for the renovations. Moms garden looked great in there! Natural, not floristy or homey.

Others from the village donated an antique car for the wedding couples departure. Still another provided for a bagpiper to pipe the happy couple on their way to the cheers and waves of the many guests and participants.

Other friends donated the wedding couples stay in a new downtown boutique hotel close to the Arts Center. On Sunday the newlyweds were traveling to Charleston where another villager donated a night in a beautiful old bed and breakfast along the battery. Monday evening they were boarding a cruise ship for the islands.

I was happy to be part of this Village.
I actually do not live in the Village or attend the Village Church.
It did not prevent the Villagers from welcoming me.
What amazed me the most? The acceptance. There were villagers of all stripes. All equally joyful.
All age groups had a great time and all took to the dance floor. Mom's and Dad's with young children and even the seventy somethings were out there shaking their booties. These Villagers love to dance! There was no need for the DJ to game people to the dance floor, he could barely keep up with the demands. Other than the Bride, I think her grandmother danced the most. Joy is contagious.

Did I mention the Groom is a twin?
His brother was the best man and gave a fine speech. It brought down the house with his funny stories about how growing up as a twin he had to learn to share everything. He said he and the groom had their difficulties along the way but always found a way to work things out. To learn how to share. Then he said ,
" The one thing I never had to share was my brother. Until now."

My guess is he will learn to share his brother with a series of villages, not just Becca.

I suspect this groom has signed on for an interesting journey.
Becca processed to the altar to the music of  Handels
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.


Pam said...

Lovely lovely wedding ... just as it should be ... with everyone participating, bride letting people do their best, but love that she wanted the groom to LOVE the building. fantastic.

chickory said...

a fair - and positive - description of what getting local will mean on a larger scale. people may not be able to not know their neighbors or pull together if the way of the world should shift. WHat i loved about this story is the contributions makes it a participatory celebration - not some event you arrive at remaining detached..a spectator.

btw. "altar"



Aunty Belle said...

Delightful story! Fortunate pair. Fortunate village.

But...fer mah money --sorry Handel--Ravel's Bolero sounds more like "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. When some bride sways down the aisle to THAT her name will be Marilyn Sheba Brigitte Cleopatra.

fishy said...

You know it was delightful. To tell you the truth though, weddings and the receptions last a long time these days. I left home at 3:30 arrived home at 10:30.

I did not miss the correlation between the village concept and village realities. Good for the bride, and her family, for embracing this concept. I think everyone felt like a participant.
Did I mention we had to sing for our supper?

"a" ..... I knew that, but like many I know better than I type!

That isn't by chance your nickname?

Jenny said...

Too tired to comment much, but this is a classic Fishy post and I loved it. :-)

moi said...

Bwhahahahaha to Aunty.

Love the bride's choice of flowers (daisies and all their little friends are my favorite blooms).

And I love a good long party. But not one where I have to sing for my supper. THAT would have all the dogs in the neighborhood baying. Which would actually be a good thing, drowning me out. What did YOU sing?

fishy said...

Maybe one day we'll marry off Mermaid and have a Blogger Village send off! I'll ask you to make a mosaic edge on the cake stand!

I lip synch out of respect for my fellow human.

Each table had to sing a song with the word "love" in the title. My favorite table sang "Jesus loves me" the worst table slaughtered a Beetles classic, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Our table? " What The World Needs Now" I think the men at the table were thinking what they needed now was " food sweet food".

grins said...

It's terrifying how well you write. It was like I was there. Just got home. Must keep all weight off knee and perfectly straight for 6-8 weeks. Thank you for your concern. I am on enough drugs to vaguely see shadows. I can see how my writing suffers from pain killers Mostly grammar and structure. Sorry. What an awesome family. Unlike mine who reside in structures your son-in-law probably designed. Just kidding.

fishy said...

Glad you stopped in for a visit. Sorry as heck to hear about the 6-8 weeks. The "perfectly straight" bit is going to be quite the challenge.

There is a good thing waiting for you! This blog group has been chatting away for a few years. Most everybody has an interesting life and most write in an entertaining style. Once you are taking fewer meds you can indulge and go back and read old posts. It's better than most books.

I'll say some prayers for your successful recovery.