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  • Writer's pictureTina

Simple Is Best

Friday, we had the honor of attending a wedding for one of our well-loved market family members. Mary Lynn, who helps out with Aunt Julia’s Donuts, invited us to attend her wedding and reception. It amazes me how many wonderful people we have gotten close to because of our soap business and Ligonier Country Market. We were truly honored to be included in her special day.

Mary Lynn belongs to the Mennonite community. Although we have lived near the Amish and Mennonite communities most of our lives, we know very little about their culture or practices. It was wonderful to experience their wedding ceremony. I was so grateful my bean got to participate in the cultural experience and witness firsthand a different culture in our small community. We take for granted the diversity that is in our backyard. I am appreciative of our Mennonite friends who welcomed us and made us feel included.

As we drove to the Mennonite fellowship hall, we felt curious about what the day would hold. The Bibbed Wonder, dressed in his “wedding, funeral, court” bib overalls and a casual shirt, asked if the wedding would be big or small. I answered that I had no idea. We were not prepared for the sight we would behold in just a few miles. When we got to the hill above the fellowship hall, there was a sea of black and grey vehicles. The parking lot was teeming with cars, so much so that several parking lot attendants were in place wearing fluorescent vests and carrying fluorescent batons to direct traffic. We laughed nervously and said, “Well, I guess it’s a big wedding.” I was not anticipating such a large crowd.

When we entered the worship hall, there was a single-file line of wedding guests waiting patiently to sign a large monogrammed sign. We passed several small children wearing button pins that said “Gift Reciever.” We gave our monetary gift to the little ones who took it to its designated area. We also saw adult men wearing button pins that said, “Usher.” I was impressed with how organized everything was and how smoothly and efficiently the event was run.

As far as I could see, we were the only people dressed in “street clothes.” Feeling a bit like a fish out of water, I was relieved to see our friend Julia approaching with a big smile. Julia took us under her wing and directed us about what to do next. We signed the couple’s monogram and were seated with Julia in a large worship hall. There were dozens of church pews, but dozens of chairs had been added to accommodate the large crowd. Julia informed us that this was considered a small wedding. Typically, there would be guests up to and surpassing 500, but this was merely 300 or so quests. I was astonished at such an extensive guest list. We noted that there were cars from all over the country in the parking lot. The family had even flown in from Honduras to support the couple. It was truly amazing.

The wedding was almost two hours long. It began with the singing of two hymns. Then there was a devotional, followed by a message, and lastly, the simple wedding ceremony. The bride did not walk down the aisle to meet her groom. Instead, the couple walked down together, following their wedding attendants. The wedding party sat in a specially assigned seating area, and the couple sat on chairs in the middle of the aisle in front of the alter. The message given was that the day was not about the couple but about God, who had brought the couple together. It was very different from a traditional mainstream wedding.

The bride wore a simple white dress with a simple head covering. Her wedding party wore matching, simple dresses, and plain head coverings as well. The gentlemen wore dark pants, white shirts, and suspenders. There were no glitter, shimmer, or pearls; the attire was neat, simple, and attractive. There were no bouquets of flowers, flower girls, or ring bearers. The ceremony itself was simple and straightforward. It was lovely to witness, and I felt honored Mary Lynn had included us in her special day. Once the ceremony was over, we were dismissed by rows to walk through the receiving line and enter the fellowship hall for the reception.

Once again, Miss Julia came to our rescue. She made sure we were seated, had drinks, and informed us of what to expect. She also explained to us the significance of the different attire worn by the guests, pointed out Mary Lynn’s family, her family, and people of interest in the community. Mary Lynn’s family and friends all made us feel welcome. I believe everyone we met told us they were so happy we were there. Mary Lynn’s mom shared with us that they were thrilled when they received our RSVP confirming our attendance. She also said Mary Lynn is quite fond of Jordan and was happy to meet us after hearing so much about us.

The reception consisted of a simple meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and a delicious pumpkin dump cake. The food was amazing. There was a small army of servers who attended every need with a smile. We also discovered that the couple had a special meal of their favorite foods, which looked like mozzarella sticks, fried zucchini, and milkshakes. The couple and the wedding party were each assigned a server to take care of them, so they didn’t have to worry about anything. There was no bar, no elaborate cookie table, no fancy wedding cake, or fancy meal. It was simple, delicious, well organized, and filled with love.

The reception concluded with the singing of a wedding hymn about the happiness of marriage. It was a truly lovely wedding, and I am so grateful that our friends thought enough of us to include us on their special day. After experiencing Mary Lynn’s wedding, I realized something I have known all along, but this day just reaffirmed it. It is not about a designer dress, an elaborate event hall, a gourmet meal, or a cake that costs as much as a car. It is about love, respect, kindness, and devotion. Seeing Mary Lynn’s friends and family pull together to make her day special and celebrate her nuptials was heartwarming. I wish them a long life filled with love, contentment, adventure, and friendship.

Now, I have to convince my bib overall wearing husband that we are not converting to the Mennonite faith. Between the excellent food, the simple lifestyle, the message that women worship God when they worship their husbands, and that men are the hero, he is thoroughly convinced he wants to become a Mennonite…insert eye roll. This man definitely keeps me on my toes.

I hope, dear reader, you had a wonderful weekend too. As always, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the diversity in your community, be grateful for your friends, and of course, wash your hands.

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