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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Postcard #4: Weddings as a Barn-Raising

When I was digging through our flickr account to find a photo for a post earlier in the week, I came across this photo and I desperately wanted to share it with you.

No, this photo is not "wedding art." It wasn't even taken by a paid photographer (we opted to ask a couple close friends to be in charge of photography and asked everyone else to upload their photos to a centralized flickr account).

But this photo makes me smile.

This photo occurred Saturday morning of our wedding weekend. Matt and I awoke around 8am and then headed down for breakfast (I was still in my pajamas). On the flagstone patio of the B&B, approximately 40 of our closest friends enjoyed super-delicious food (which was included in the $25-$35 they spent each night for a place to stay). We did this Friday morning (with a few early arrivers), Saturday morning, and Sunday morning from approximately 8-10am.

After we finished breakfast, a couple of us started hanging white lights in preparation for the reception. The innkeepers, Cathy and Cory, let us borrow boxes and boxes of white lights for free. In this photo, you see my dear friend from college, Marie, helping Matt hang the lights. This photo reminds me of the spirit of our wedding, the barn-raising ethos: "This project is big (a two-day party for 80 people), and it takes a village. We're doing this together. And this process is a metaphor. Life is a big project. It takes a village. We're doing this together." Matt and I are eternally grateful to every single person who helped make our wedding possible.

Going into our wedding, we knew that we wanted a community spirit. Specifically, here was our vision:
  1. To have real time to spend with guests. We didn't want to follow the traditional pattern of a few wedding "events" where the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) only have time for a "meet and greet". We wanted more of a family and friends reunion. We also wanted to build community among our guests, since many of them would be meeting for the first time.
  2. To ensure the experience didn't feel overly-orchestrated. We wanted a celebration fo our love, not a show. We wanted our wedding to feel deeply authentic and real.
  3. To conserve money. We didn't want our wedding to grow bigger than our marriage. Although our wedding was important to us, we agreed that it was only a brief celebration and not worth going into debt for. We also figured we could make the event special with sincerity, not money.
  4. To be good for the environment and connected to nature.
  5. To ensure the wedding represents us and our values as a couple.
  6. To be relaxed and fully present.

This picture captures one small moment of how our vision manifested itself.

I hope I don't come across as smug in this post. I don't think every couple should do things the way we did them. Not at all. However, I do think every couple needs to generate their own vision, their unique expression of their relationship and their joint path.

As tricky as it may be to collaborate with our partners and generate a shared vision, it's even trickier figuring out how to make that vision happen, despite potential pressures from family, friends, magazines, blogs, reality TV shows--the list goes on and on.

But it's important. It matters. It's worth it. As Meg pointed out last week, a wedding is "birthing a new family."

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Krista @ Craving Some Creativity said...

Just found your blog and I love the wedding you put together! so awesome:) Featured you on my blog today...

MirandaFern said...

Hehe, When Pete and I tried to explain my idea to our parents after the "Post Venue Tour" lunch, I used the analogy "Like a Barnraising. We utilize our the gifts and talents of our respective friends."

I think it was still kind of lost on them :-D.

pretty thrifty said...

I *love* this attitude. I am sure that my fiance and I would list the same values.

I am very curious - how did you get to spend real time with guests vs. the 'meet and greet'? And how did you build community among the guests? I'm nervous about that since we will have 150 people. Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

- Sara

Bonnie Joy said...

Love this...just what I needed to read today. I have linked to this article on my blogpost for today.

Anonymous said...

I read your friend's article and was APPALLED at the reaction she got. Who are these people that respond that way??? It amazes me how many people in this world are filled with so much hate.


Jen said...

I love your unique wedding style -- great vision!

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