Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weekend Wedding Celebrations - Part Two - Preparing the Place

This is the second of what is turning out to be multiple posts about our family celebrations this past weekend. Please prepare yourselves for a whole lot of scrolling and tons of pictures in each one! I'm joining with Emily W at canvaschild, with Bonnie G at FaithBarista and with Ann V at AHolyExperience for their weekly invitation to share about our faith walk:

A wedding provides a special opportunity for a whole lot of good stuff to happen. Family and friends gather from far and wide and there is good work to do together, work that involves careful thought and planning ahead of time. But also a lot of in-the-moment work whose primary purpose is to provide a sense of welcome, of beauty, of gracious invitation and joyous celebration. And that's exactly what our 13-hour day on Saturday was designed to do.
I cannot even begin to put into words how deeply satisfying it was to see all of our kids and grandkids dive in with both feet to help create a beautiful day. Everybody worked very hard indeed and the end result was pure delight.
We began by meeting the rental truck at the church at 9:00 a.m., schlepping crates of china, stacks of folding chairs, and table linens to the tables 
we had set up the day before.

 Joel, our 12-year-old incipient pastry chef, had baked his heart out with three varieties of luscious mini-cupcakes waiting to be frosted.

 The guys began stringing paper lanterns through the oak trees and along the edges of the colonnades, the women set out the linens and silverware and everyone dragged chairs to tables.

As the day progressed, we hung a couple of directional signs (our church is up in the hills and often hard to find),
got those cupcakes frosted and decorated,

strung table assignments interspersed with 
photos of the bride and groom as children,

and watched with gratitude as the space was gradually transformed into a lovely outdoor dining venue. The florist arrived and did her amazing work and the dessert and beverage tables sparkled with promise of good things to come...

And then there was the glorious transformation of the worship space to appreciate. Flowers are such gifts of God, aren't they?
In another life, I worked as a florist for about seven years, so I know the back-breaking labor that goes into producing floral work for any kind of wedding or large-scale social gathering. When I did this work, I often found myself praying for the bride and groom or the party hosts, and praying for my own participation in their event - that my contribution would help reflect the beauty and gracious hospitality of our God. This kind and gifted woman's work most assuredly did that.
Everything was lovingly and beautifully done.

 The beautiful wooden candle holders on the altar table were handcrafted by the groom for this occasion - an arch of 5 tapers, each one representing the members of this newly forming family, and a single unlit pillar candle which they would light together during the service.

 But the heart of any wedding is the people involved. Next up - a peek at the transformation from work clothes to wedding clothes as we got ourselves beautified to match this space!