Reflections at a Wedding

 

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The Gadsen House in Charleston, South Carolina

I went to a wedding Friday night, after a long day of a long week and dare I say one of the craziest in the political realm of our country and frankly I was exhausted. I rushed home from work to go from teacher causal Friday (jeans and spirit wear) to hot rolling my hair (although with the high humidity, not sure why I bothered) and semi-formal wear.

In the novel I’m currently working on I have a wedding scene to write and was anticipating that this event would inspire.  I was not disappointed, but I was surprised at what provided the most inspiration.

As expected a Charleston wedding set in a historical house and courtyard provided a beautiful setting, At times it felt fairy tale like, with the string lights, candles and uplighting in the courtyard. The food was outstanding, particularly the jumbo fried shrimp wrapped in bacon and the fried green tomato bites at the cocktail hour. There were three food stations for the dinner, the shrimp and grits being my favorite. The music from a strings group prior and during the ceremony to a DJ who played a wide range of music, from Patsy Cline and Frank Sinatra during dinner to crowd favorites like the Cuban Shuffle during the dance party.  The timetable for the first dance and dances with parents to the tossing of the bouquet and the sparkler send-off of the newly minted couple was impeccable, truly a beautiful and well-run wedding.

Yes all the above was more than enough to mine for inspiration, but what I found most impactful was the true love and respect that brought these two youngsters (I can call them that because I have known the groom since he was a pre-schooler and I taught the bride and her sister when they were in the first grade) to the altar and to vow a life-long contract with each other. They have been a “couple” since middle school, friends first, growing into a teenage romance and blossoming into a love that will carry them to old age. I truly got the feeling that even though they were surrounded by the beauty of a traditional Charleston wedding, if they were exchanging their vows in concrete windowless room, it would have been just as beautiful.

The ugliness of the past week in our nation’s narrative dissipated from my mind and reminded me that love and respect can trump hate and intolerance. This couple will build a life together, and I’m sure that there will be days that will be ugly, either between them or from outside forces, but I have no doubt they can persevere, grow stronger and move into a more harmonious time in their journey.

I want to believe that about our country too. We are in an ugly time, but can we move forward with compassion and love for our fellow citizens, even when we don’t agree on something? Can we see the bigger picture, that this is a piece of our history we can learn from, grow stronger and become better?  I still believe the answer is yes!

I may be in the minority in that I am more moderate and centrist than the so-called left and right, but like the bride and the groom who met in the middle and then walked down the center aisle together, I want to see our politicians do the same for the betterment of our country. I want to see the one-hundred senators, get back to a place where they set the example of respect, principles, and morality. Then perhaps other branches of government can follow suit and who knows maybe society in general.

As part of the ceremony, the officiant reminded us that we are more than just witnesses to the covenant made between this bride and groom, but we have a responsibility to lift them up, encourage and support them in this life-long covenant.

I would say the same thing is required of each and every American. Not to just offer partisan support at the polls, but to know our constitution, now how our system of government is designed to work and hold our elected officials accountable to follow the rules, do so with compassion and use their power to fix the injustices so we can form a more perfect union. I would dare to say, listen to the other side of the argument respectfully, encourage sides to compromise into legislation that will not be in peril when the other side gains majority, but that can withstand the test of time because it improves our country and was reached together, so both sides have a hand in it.

I know, this sounds almost fairytale-like, but it doesn’t have to be. Besides, I just went to a beautiful wedding, I can’t help but be optimistic.

 

Marriage and Monograms

 

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Monogram displayed at my friend, Vicki’s wedding.

In The Soul Believes It, the third book in my lowcountry home series, I had the joyful task of planning a wedding for one of my characters. The book will be out this Summer and I hope you enjoy wedding storyline as much as I enjoyed writing it. Fortunately, I have been a guest at several beautiful weddings in the past few months and one of them was at Alhambra Hall, the setting for my fictional reception.

The picture above was from that wedding. I loved how they placed the new monogram for the bride and groom as a couple on the mantle. I was even inspired to have my character’s new last name, to begin with, an M. I love how M’s scroll and I liked the idea that my character’s maiden last name was W, so it was a flip, a visual representation of what women do when they take their husband’s name.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m a traditionalist. I’m not fond of the hyphenated name or the wife keeping her maiden name, especially if children follow, it just gets confusing to me. I’m also of the school of thought that to each his, or in this case her own, I have no problem with other women choosing any option.

I used to wish I could marry someone with a last name that began with G, simply because I liked the idea my initials could be JAG, perfect reason to get the car, right?

When I monogram things with just one letter, I waffle between J, because that is forever, or A because that is for family. It is one of the only times I’m jealous of men, they never have to change their initials, their identity is set at birth.

On the bright side, new brides can embrace a new monogram. There is silver, glassware, towels, purses, linens, sandals, you name it, it probably can be monogrammed. What a delightful way to embrace your new identity.