Click on the post title to see my first try at making an iMovie.
The bride’s family and friends flew in from Dubai, the groom’s grandparents and family drove from Iowa and South Carolina, a grandmother came from the state of Washington, one family friend drove from St. Louis, a posse of the couple’s friends gathered from both near and far, one extended family member came from Australia, and an entire Basswood Church community was there to attend Caleb and Leah’s wedding at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. It was indeed a community affair.
While the day was monumental, the couple was focused on the marriage of their dreams, not just the wedding of their dreams. The wedding had every element of a fairy-tale occasion: a radiant princess bride, a handsome groom, a spectacular mountain backdrop, a festooned archway, nine beautiful bridesmaids with garlands in their hair, nine attractive groomsmen in blue dress-shirts and suspenders, fireworks, a photo booth, and a reception with exuberant, stomping, heart-thumping dancing on a wooden floor.
The village showed up to help and support: friends took wedding photographs, set up the tents, tables, and chairs, decorated aisles and tables, church men wrangled the sound system and organized parking, church ladies brought snacks for the bridal party and extended families. The bride and groom ignored that age-old admonition to be sequestered separately before the ceremony, instead mingling, hugging, and being present to share their joy and anticipation with all those who had come so far to celebrate with them. This decision removed layers of stress from the day and when it was finally time for the iconic walk down the aisle, both the audience and the bridal couple were relaxed and joyous.
Caleb and Leah made a conscious decision on their engagement day to focus on building their relationship and strengthening their faith in the months leading up to the wedding. They were reasonable about spending but didn’t want to scrimp on the number of invited guests, so they stuck to a careful budget. Trader Joes was the go-to place for flowers, both the wedding and the reception took place outdoors at the botanical garden, Caleb and his friends built the wood-planked dance floor, wildflowers for the boutonnières and aisle vases were gathered at a friend’s farm (nudging aside only a few cows), bridesmaids wore cream-colored dresses of their choosing, an elaborate dessert buffet (prepared by a bride’s friend) replaced a sit-down dinner, the groom and friends created and DJed the dancing playlist, a string quartet from church played during the ceremony, the bride’s brother-in-law officiated, and wedding guests, who were willing, stayed behind to clean up.
All the time Caleb and Leah spent over the years supporting their friends, caring for their families, and contributing to their communities was given back to help create their wedding day. It was a pleasure to be present at such a loving, joyful occasion and I wish the very best for them.
The church ladies served these delicious bites to the extended family before the wedding.
Pecan pie muffins
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Stir together butter and next 2 ingredients; add to brown sugar mixture, and stir just until moistened.
Coat 2 (12-cup) miniature muffin pans well with cooking spray. Place 1 tsp. finely chopped pecans in each muffin cup; spoon batter over pecans, filling almost to top. Place muffin pans on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.
Bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 2 minutes. Run a knife around edge of each cup to loosen muffins, and remove from pans.