This holiday season has been accompanied by a boatload of sadness and sense of loss. So I’d like to tell you about an event that was festive enough to lift the spirits of dozens of people, all the while protecting us from COVID-19.
Beth Pratt and Noah Barfield wanted to marry on Nov. 24, exactly a year after they met. The date was important to them. But their plans bounced around like a ping pong ball as COVID rules kept changing their venue and guest list.
Beth purchased a beautiful gown, planned a reception, and bam! Another shutdown. Finally, not even family could attend. And no public place was available.
After a meltdown or two, Beth and Noah picked themselves up and planned another day, far below their original expectations. Sad, huh?
As it happens, not at all. They looked around their own backyard. And there was their new little greenhouse. Tiny, charming, not yet filled with the detritus of a year before. Windows all around and above could open and ventilate.
Well, why not a greenhouse where good things like marriages begin to grow?
They began to decorate. When they finished, it was a brilliant little fairyland just big enough for a diminutive masked-gathering.
Beth wore her beautiful dress, undeterred by the gale and lack of audience. Her soon-to-be husband walked her under an umbrella, not to the “Wedding March” but to “Star Wars.” They both laughed, chatting all the way. In the little greenhouse, their ceremony took place, full of mirth and silly remembrances.
Beth and Noah asked me to officiate, otherwise I would not have been there. In a poignant moment, Witness Donna read statements from both sets of parents (how wonderful to include parents in such a meaningful way). Alan Halfhill of Photovision and Witness Heidi (AKA Alan’s wife) did an intricate ballet around each other as they moved photo equipment in the rain, and produced a wonderful live event on Facebook … live!
Beth’s family in Oregon could watch while it happened. Noah’s family in eastern Washington could watch while it happened. Friends everywhere were a very lively, very happy audience, based on their kudos since. The video can still be seen on Beth’s and Noah’s Facebook sites.
I came away thinking how quickly a little exchange of vows on a rainy day went from a wisp of sadness to a genuine joy. It will be one of my fondest memories, definitely the best wedding I’ve ever attended, even in this fractious year of 2020.
Instead of missing established traditions, this is a great time to experience the new. It makes the season far more festive; be open to it, and it will happen.
I hope you find an unexpected moment that adds a special new memory to your rituals.
Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors. Her newest historical novel, “Dr. Emma’s Improbable Happenings,” is available at Port Book and News, One of a Kind Gallery and at amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.