Monday, November 10, 2008
Happy Is The Bride The Rain Falls On
An outdoor wedding in November is pretty iffy. An outdoor wedding in November in Oregon is nigh impossible, as we proved this past Saturday.
My nephew and his fiancee honored us by choosing to get married at Ashberry Lane, the combined home of the Ashcraft and Berry families. A week before the wedding the bride and groom came to choose which part of the house they wanted to use. After scouting out the different locations, they selected the upper level, which is the Berrys' part. The covered deck off the family room would be ideal, they decided. That way if it were raining, the guests and wedding party would still be protected from the elements, though it might be a tad on the cool side. But the beauty of the forest would make up for that, and people could gather inside for the reception and thaw out as necessary.
Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of rain pelting against the windows. Vertical rain, we could handle. But horizontal precipitation brought with it problems we couldn't overcome. The outer half of the deck was soaked, which cut seating for the guests in half. Unless the bride decided to wear a raincoat over her wedding gown, she was going to be wet, cold, and uncomfortable. We don't usually get wind around here, but it was blowing about 20 mph, which would make it hard to keep candles lit along the railing. (Besides, the rain would put them out.)
So when the bride, Stephanie, arrived nearly three hours before the ceremony, we showed her the situation. Any other bride I've ever met would have been near tears and pouted. But not Stephanie. She just laughed, said, "I really wish we could get married outdoors, but obviously that's not going to work," and then got started getting herself ready for her big day.
Thus began Plan B. Most of the furniture was removed from Christina's living room, a focal point was created and decorated, and candles found new homes along window ledges. Guests began to arrive--fifty of us in total. An intimate, simple wedding ceremony, performed by my husband (a former pastor) united Gabriel and Stephanie in holy matrimony. Her face glowed as she looked up (he's 6' 7") into the face of her husband and he choked up as he repeated his vows. It was all very sweet and meaningful.
In thinking about it, I realized it's pretty appropriate for some rain to fall and wind to blow on a wedding day. It's a realistic picture of what the bridal couple will face in real life. Things don't always go according to plan. People lose their job, money gets tight, or illness strikes. Rain and wind sweep in under the guise of the newlyweds' unmet expectations of each other, or their disappointment that the work of marriage isn't as easy as they'd been led to believe. But if Gabriel and Stephanie can hold tight to the attitude she exhibited on Saturday, they will be well on their way to a successful marriage.