A real Southern wedding
UPDATE: All the photos I took are now online here. You are more than welcome to view, copy, download and print anything you like.
We’re home. Tired and broke, but home. We took an earlier flight than planned so we could have a few people over this afternoon, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.
Saturday we went to the wedding of Becky Rice, executive director of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, and John Harrington. It was a splendid affair, in the classic Southern style, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The wedding was held in the Rice family back yard–which isn’t like yours or mine, but rather 6 acres of magnificently planned gardens. Becky comes by her talent and career naturally–her father and mother have a stunning home and gardens in the Georgia countryside.
The weather was perfect–a few clouds, two claps of thunder but no rain, warm but not hot or muggy.
Six bridesmaids in individually designed dresses made of the same material. One of them 8 1/2 months pregnant, and her 2 year old was the ring bearer. The service was officiated by the brides great-uncle. We were offered lemonade, water or sweet tea, served in Mason jars, before we sat down, and each seat had a palm frond fan in the event of heat. A string quartet played the increasingly standard Pachelbel’s Canon in D and the mood was set perfectly.
The Baptist Church weighs heavily in Georgia, and this was no exception. There were no less than 4 “let us pray” moments in the quiet and serious ceremony. The Bride and Groom wrote their own vows, which one couldn’t really hear, but I know them enough to believe their love and devotion to each other.
After a beautiful kiss and exit processional, the party really started. A very large tent had been erected on the south lawn. Waiters and waitresses carried appetizers, drinks were served, an 18 piece orchestra played and the celebrating just kept happening.
I like the formality of the South, and the respect given to elders. Becky’s father is known to her friends as Mr. Paul, and her mother is Miz Peggy. John calls his new father in law “sir”. Grandmother is Meemaw, or Miss Clarice. There are people who call their parents by their first names, but not in Georgia.
Dinner was served, and I thought I was in another country. Fried chicken, of course. Tomato pudding, which I had never heard of. A squash dish I can neither describe not define. Ham and pecans. String beans. Biscuits. Corn Muffins. Virtually nothing you would find on a wedding buffet in California, and all delicious. Besides the wedding cake, there were 15 Bundt cakes. Why? I don’t know, it’s the south.
Mr. Paul offered a wonderful, tear-stained toast to his daughter and son-in-law, then put on his Larry the Cable Guy hatand said we “Got her done!” Becky and her matron of honor gave a Georgia Bulldogs cheer–they are both double-dogs, having bachelors and masters degrees from Georgia. The many Californians present (six of us from the Garden alone) made their presence known. John led a “Southern California” cheer.
Bride and Groom danced. Bride and Dad danced. Groom and his mom danced. Then we all danced. Anytime I can get Gail on the dance floor is a good day, and this was a very good day.
The photographers took too many photos, Becky and John were missing their own party. Miz Peggy made cases and cases of jams and jellies and hot sauce and preserves to give out as party favors. Mr. Paul has the most fantastic workshop/barn I have ever seen, decorated with hundreds of signs and license plates. The table with wedding gifts was overflowing. I was getting tired.
So, eventually, we kissed our way out the door and wandered up the road to our hotel. As one does, I envied the newlyweds their youth and future and passion.