Blending families: The guests are what make a wedding specialNovember 29, 2015
We just went to a wedding and I am excited to share what I call “the happening,” a beautiful blending families at a wedding. My husband Shelly and I didn’t know what to expect as we drove to Bloomington, Indiana to attend the wedding weekend at the University of Indiana of our grandson Logan to, his love, Annie.
We had never been to an out of town wedding that took place at a university. We imagined the guest list would be made up of college professors from the small university town and business people from the big city of Chicago and friends of Logan and Annie. Shelly and I wondered if the bride and groom’s ceremony would be civil or religious. We wondered who would officiate…a Justice of the Peace, a Rabbi and a Priest or one or the other? Why did we wonder?
We wondered because our granddaughter to be is Korean and Catholic and our grandson is Caucasian and Jewish! Wouldn’t you wonder, too?
Blending families at a wedding
This is the conversation Shelly and I had on our drive home after the weekend wedding festivities…
“Shelly, I felt everyone left the wedding feeling like a ‘community’! I know I did.”
Shelly responded, “I had your same feeling; the event was a love-in.”
You see darlings, Annie and Logan’s wedding was different then any I have attended not because she is Korean and he is Caucasian; not because she is Catholic and he is Jewish but because…
It was the PEOPLE that made Annie and Logan’s wedding over the top perfect. The abundance of happiness and the expressions of joy on everyone’s face stand out in my mind. The guests were a mix of America…big city and college town, professors and business people, different faiths, young and old. The two hundred people were so warm to one another and absolutely fit like a “glove.” It wasn’t about the flowers, food and decor that made Logan and Ann’s wedding special. It was the families and friends…the PEOPLE.
Logan and Annie graduated from Indiana University. He met Annie whose family is from Bloomington. After graduating from the school of business Logan decided to make his home in the small college town because he fell in love with Annie…and her incredible family.
Annie’s parents Bill and Karen have two natural born sons. When Karen learned she could not have more children and wanted a daughter they decided to adopt a little Korean girl. They did not stop at one! They adopted ten more Korean children, eight girls and two boys! These wonderful parents raised twelve outstanding children. My daughter-in-law Jami, Logan’s mom, describes the parents in this way when I asked Jami their religion: “I think they are Irish Catholic but personally Honey, I think of them as Saints!” Now that I know them I wish we could clone people to be like Bill and Karen!
Ann’s father, Bill, is a law school professor in the Law School at the University of Indiana and an expert witness for the courts of law. His wife, Karen, is from New York and grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. Though not Jewish, she brought the tradition of Judaism into their family home for Logan. The parents call Logan, “my son”.
Logan has two brothers, Scott and David, a wonderful mother; his father, Steven, is deceased. He has a multicultural family through Shelly’s marriage to me because I already have an Israeli son-in-law whose heritage is Iraqi, and a Persian (Iranian) grandson through marriage to one of my granddaughters, and now, Annie! Logan now has thirty plus cousins and wonderful aunts and uncles, plus his Honey and Papa. So even before the weekend events began the two families had interesting backgrounds.
The wedding took place at the University of Indiana Alumni Hall Hotel and student center. The building has old-world décor and is castle like.
“Let the festivities begin”, I thought to myself as Shelly and I went downstairs for the rehearsal dinner.
After dinner, Jami raised her glass to toast Annie and Logan and invited family and friends to say a few words. The room was still… people were shy. Suddenly toasts picked up! I wish I could have recorded the words. They were hysterically funny, witty, totally loving and warm and the night ended on a high note with strangers now becoming friends and hugging one another good night. The mood was set for the wedding.
The bride and groom’s choice to perform their nuptials was perfect. They choose, Mark, a lawyer, one of the best friends of the Good family who was granted permission by law to perform the wedding ceremony. Not a stranger, like a Justice of the Peace; not a Priest or a Rabbi or both. “A perfect meeting of the minds,” I thought to myself and smiled.
Moments before the ceremony began seven of us were handed a piece of paper that had a written wish for the bride and groom. Individually we were called to the microphone to read our saying. Looking out into the room at the seated guests as I read my wish I noticed smiles. “Happy wishes makes happy people,” I remember thinking.
Mark performed the ceremony as only Mark would. It was heartfelt, warm and short.
Logan wore his late father, Steven’s, tallis (meaning “to cover” in Hebrew), a prayer shawl that his grandfather, my husband Sheldon Good, draped over his grandson’s shoulders as the young couple stood under the Chuppah, a canopy under which a Jewish ceremony is performed. With tears running down my darling husband’s weathered cheeks, but with his wonderful red-framed glasses still creating a happy aura, he gave his grandson to his new granddaughter, Annie.
Dinner was magical in the old wood paneled ballroom. Bill, Annie’s dad, made an Irish toast and asked his daughter for the first dance! Father and daughter whirled and twirled around the dance floor both laughing with joy. Then Logan and Jami did the most incredible dance called the “chicken dance” that they made up when Logan was a little boy! Everyone in the room laughed and cheered them on. Dancing to the uplifting sound of the band lasted until late into the night.
Sunday morning, we all met for brunch. Shelly and I noticed round tables all over the room. We did not think twice about where we should sit. “Anywhere would be just perfect,” were the words that went through my mind. Because the faces in the room were no longer unfamiliar! We had become a bonded group and I was so happy for this grandson of mine, Logan Good, who lost a father to suicide and now would forever have added stability with his new family; along with peace and love.
And I felt happy for Annie because she is now part of our huge, blended, interesting, loving and multi-faceted family.
And I felt blessed for Shelly and me, and Jami, Scott and David (Logan’s brothers), and all the rest of our family because we have added Annie’s family to ours and I know they have added us to theirs. We are a community!
Have you witnessed or been a part of blending families at a wedding? Please share!