The bride wore a rainbow of flowers atop her silky blonde hair. Her long, ivory dress, a patchwork of eyelets, lacy fabric and delicate ribbons was so … her.
The groom sported a beard, an untucked cotton shirt and a simple aqua bowtie. His eyes were kind and soulful.
They were young, tall and rosy-cheeked, just weeks out of college, but they were ready. Rachel and Jacob. Jacob and Rachel. Sounded right in any order.
They wed privately on a hilltop meadow in the dappled light, courtesy of gentle morning sunshine and a stately tree. Just immediate family and a handful of close young friends looked on as the Mississippi River continued its eternal flow way below the hill. The sky, that entire day, was cloudless. Never bluer.
Later, at the evening reception, the celebrants multiplied. Guests, who were encouraged to wear colorful, casual attire, arrived at the Tudor-style hall on the same emerald hilltop. They witnessed the young couple dance their first dance to the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The fun chatter going around the candlelit room was that the chef who created the delicious farm-to-table feast also prepared countless meals on the road for the Grateful Dead.
I’m not telling you a Kodachrome-tinted story from 1969.
I attended this wedding celebration just days ago. Rachel is the daughter of dear friends. She’s a passionate artist, a painter through and through. Jacob is her high school sweetheart, and, I understand, a freshly minted accountant. I’m sure he’s a good one, because it’s clear once he met Rachel, he knew she added up to everything. He did the math.
Rachel’s family moved to St. Louis when she was in middle school. So from afar I’ve watched her grow and blossom as an artist, a creative spirit. Family Christmas cards, phone calls and emails with her mom painted the picture. Over the years, I’ve always heard the name Jacob when I heard the name Rachel. A crush, a first date, prom, college days, backpacking trips, all that.
You hear the statistics, that today people are marrying later in life, or not at all. I don’t have an opinion on any of that, really. Solid relationships can happen at any time, any age. Some still begin in high school. Even today. Selfie-saturated, distraction-filled today.
But the wedding was not a nod to another era. It was an instinctive tribute to timelessness. In the mix of shades from other decades, there were many modern touches. The bride and groom had a wedding app. Guests were encouraged to post reception pictures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Current music blended with songs from every decade. The online gift registry reflected something important to the couple: green, environment-friendly items. Very today, and very tomorrow.
What this couple did for their wedding, maybe subconsciously, was cherry-pick all things they felt were good. So many elements of their day, little or big, were important to them. Rachel’s mother once mentioned they would have been happy celebrating with a tiny group of people before quietly tip-toeing away on their camping-across-the-country honeymoon. But they chose to listen to their loved ones, who suggested a once-in-a-lifetime party.
The couple trusted parental wisdom, accepted their generosity, and perhaps unintentionally showed a lucky crowd what they believe is meaningful: Inviting a diverse group of people to a charming country town on the bank of a mighty river. Feeding their guests fresh food, all raised and grown on site. Creating handmade décor of recycled items with wonderfully surprising colors and textures. (Have you ever seen sheer yellow, lime and orange ribbons and burlap together, with sprays of bright Gerbera daisies?)
It all worked. All of it. Chubby Checker. Pharrell. Fresh green beans. Digital pictures. An artist’s bold palette. Jerry Garcia’s chef. A gathering of beaming well-wishers. I could go on and on.
Like a clear blue sky, all good things are timeless. Including the love between these two young people, Rachel and Jacob, Jacob and Rachel.
Freelancer Denise Snodell writes every other week.