Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Raising a Barn, Raising a Wedding

I'm the kind of person who is a bit nostalgic for certain aspects of the olden days (but not the racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc.).

I like the fact that people cooked more meals at home, baked things from scratch, made quilts out of their clothing remnants, grew their own vegetables, raised chickens...

I especially like the idea of a "bee." When individuals or families had a big task to undertake (like clearing their fields, building a barn, harvesting, etc.), they would ask their neighbors and friends to come over for a big work party. Everyone would pitch in and work and socialize alongside each other. Afterward, they would often throw big feasts to thank their neighbors and friends for their help.

I wish we approached weddings with this kind of communal and interconnected mentality: a coming together to pull off something really big and then a celebration of our collective good work. I'm convinced that people--in general--enjoy weddings more and feel more connected when they help make it happen.

I love this excerpt from Grit article about a Homegrown Wedding:

Preparations for the wedding soon resembled an old-fashioned quilting bee or community barn raising. Everyone remotely connected with the bride and groom pitched in and helped out with whatever needed to be done.

Eric’s aunts and mother, Debbie, joined Ruth, Melanie and their friends during the spring months decorating 225 handmade invitations and stuffing envelopes.

As the August 20 wedding drew closer, outside work began with chain saws, tractors, mowers, rakes, hoes, brooms and paint brushes.

The morning of the wedding, dozens of people were busy around the farmstead. A constant stream of pickup trucks, work vans and trailers surged up and down our driveway, bringing borrowed tables and chairs, and a friend brought dozens of bales of straw that he had grown, mowed and baled just for the wedding. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, engineers and laborers – all friends of the couple or their parents – gave of their time, tools and special talents. A young couple couldn’t ask for better wedding presents.

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Kaitlin Wainwright said...


Ophelie said...

That's exactly what I'd want. I'm a knitter, and I love knitting circles, because people gather to help each other out, share knowledge. Living in the city, and not being a church-goer, I feel like I need that sense of community. Thanks for this post.

Mary said...

I agree with what you've said wholeheartedly. Sure, it's nice to go to a wedding where you don't have to do anything, but do you really feel like you're a part of it? My cousin is getting married this weekend, and I know we all would have gladly helped her out in any way, but were never asked, so in turn no one is really interested in going, which is unfortunate. In a more communal setting, everyone feels partially invested, and will be more anxious to see the couple succeed. Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I just went to a wedding like this two days ago! I did the art, another friend did flowers, another makeup, everyone brought plates of food, sisters put things together, families decorated the hall, the groom made the cake, his friends provided the music (it helps he works for the state symphony orchestra :) and it was beautiful and fun and very much about family and community and what the bride and groom believed.

Unknown said...

How fun. One truly does get the spirit of the event when they participate.

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