Dear engaged couple, Last week I officiated at a wedding which I think you will agree, when you read on, was in the nature of a barn raising. That is to say, as is so common among country folk, many of the wedding guests, including yours truly, pitched in the day before and the day of the wedding to make sure that the future Mr. and Mrs. would be married in style.
The bride, the groom, their parents and friends, helped decorate the barn in which the reception
would be held—that in itself was a true barn raising! When all was finished, tea lights hung from the rafters—tables were covered with a coarse tablecloth akin to oil cloth. Flowers in mason jars adorned the tables. One bridesmaid brought a guestbook, other wedding party members created signs and set tables, and the father of the groom baked 13 pies for the reception—sooo yummy. He also made jam as take-home gifts for the guests and wedding party.
I think there is something to this barn raising marriage business. For one thing, it creates community. By the end of the weekend, friends and family members knew and appreciated each other’s gifts and camaraderie. Furthermore, I am assuming that each of us who participated in the wedding preparations, feel as I do, that we have a stake in the couple’s marital success.
The sainted author Maya Angelou tells the story of living in Africa with her African husband, Vusumzi Make. The couple was experiencing marital discord. One evening, community members came to call on the couple. After being invited in, the members placed chairs in a circle, and then with Maya and Visumi in the middle of the circle, They quizzed them about their difficulties, acting by turns as advisors and counselors. Angelou and Make eventually parted ways, but they were touched by the African community’s efforts. The community understood that it was THEIR responsibility to help the couple.
Which leads me to conclude that a marriage really never is just between two people. It’s a social commitment—family members and friends commit to love and nurture the couple, and the couple commits to love each other for the good of the community.
Thoughts to consider, certainly, as you plan your own barn raising–err wedding.
Happy Wedding Planning!
Your Wedding Preacher for Hire