Front Yard Wedding
By Marsha Tennant
Prince William and Kate Middleton should have consulted the bride and groom who got married in a family front yard last spring. As I traveled the rural route that connected the two Carolinas, I had a front row seat. My invitation did not arrive in the mail, and I wasn’t one of 1,800 invited to a famous abbey. Instead I had the honor of watching two lives blend into one.
It was a neighborhood event. Each afternoon as I traveled home from work I observed the preparation that moved closer to the celebration.
Early in the week a grandfather, along with a small child, breezed through the yard on a John Deere riding mower. They laughed and made circles in the grass. What fun to watch them as they gave the gift of time and love to make sure the yard was pristine for the event. Two elderly women were crouched down in the flower beds pulling weeds and freshening up heirloom plants and shrubs. Both of them had aprons tied around their waists. This chore was a brief respite from inside tasks that waited.
Another afternoon as I passed by there were two teenage boys with paint brushes in their hands. They were looking warily at a line of weathered picnic tables strewn across the lawn. The tables were waiting for a fresh coat of white paint so that they would be ready for the guests that would arrive on the big day. It took several days for the job to be completed. I could only imagine the frolic and antics when adolescence is involved.
One afternoon near the end of the week a big burly man had a power hose aimed at the house. He was cleaning it to make sure that it sparkled when the bride and groom stood in front of it to say their vows. I noticed another man on the porch touching up the railings with a fresh coat of paint. A small child was sweeping the steps. Each family member had a role in the big day.
On Friday a huge tent was erected. By the time I arrived it was in place. Neighbors were walking from their yards into the wedding yard. Each person was carrying flowers, plastic containers or other gifts to contribute to the ceremony. There was chatter and laughter mingled with hugs and smiles. This was a blessed event.
Sitting at one of the picnic tables were three generations of women. I knew who they were. What advice were the older women giving to the bride? What last minute details were being checked? I wanted to ask what was borrowed, and what was blue. I wondered if others were coming from out of town. I hoped that the newlyweds would have a honeymoon. All the questions that one asks were in my head.
I knew that the wedding was taking place that late afternoon so I decided to run a few errands. I had to see the results of the week of love and hard work. Watching the family and friends prepare this incredible gift for the young couple moved my heart and renewed my faith in the simple notion of love. I knew they wouldn’t mind that I had been part of this family – even if it was only by observing as I journeyed to and from my home.
Weddings occur in churches, gardens, cathedrals and front yards. And here on the coast – on the beach. The WHERE isn’t important. The vows spoken and honored are the proof in the pudding. This wedding that I watched come to fruition had the love and support of an extended family. There wasn’t a great deal of money spent but the time and sacrifice priceless examples of what a union should be. What a lucky couple.
That was over a year ago. I think of them each day as I drive by. A few weeks ago as I approached the house I caught a glimpse of something blowing in the wind. It was tied to the mailbox. The pink balloons assured me all was well.
About this writer
- Marsha Tennant is the author of the children’s book, Margaret, Pirate Queen. She was recently published in AARP Bulletin and Mary Jane’s Farm. She and her husband retired and moved to the beach from Calabash in an attempt to downsize and spend time with their new grandson. A second Pirate Queen book is circling while porch sitting these days!