Summer: not a season for sitting and writing. So I'm catching up now to share stories of our 2015 season, starting with the most momentous one. Thanks to Aimee Harmon, farmer friend and photographer at Pop Wedding for asking me to write! And thanks to Aimee and Andrew for all these photos.
A few weeks before our wedding, one of my friends told me with a wild laugh, “you’re absolutely nuts, getting married in the middle of the season!” We are produce farmers and during “the season” we can be expected to have perpetually dirty fingernails, perpetually moving limbs as we sling vegetables and tend them, and brains full to the maximum with details of harvest lists, planting schedules, delivery routes, market preparations and the like. No room for anything else but the work, eating the harvest and a bit of sleep. We knew we were nuts but we also knew that this beautiful 79 acre farm we rent for home and work would be at its absolute finest in deep summer with flowers blooming and warm nights for our crew of campers. Our harvest would be at its maximum so we could divert lots of delicious veggies to the wedding feast and the pond would be sure to be full of splashing and giggling, reunions and romances.
And our expectations, mostly the hopeful ones, came to pass. It was a glorious full moon, hot but not scorching, blue-skies weekend. Loads of farm-work and minimal sleep and proof of a method to our madness. Family began to arrive for rehearsal dinner just as we finished our Friday harvest and pack. We set up in the giant white tent between our home and fields and enjoyed a buffet smorgasbord with out of town travelers followed by an incredible session of henna for bride, groom and select family members and a sweet bonfire where the uncles and cousins led the singing. Sean and I were awake late, hovering over the heat of the bonfire to dry our henna, then woke up together pre-dawn to pack the truck full of vegetables and send our assistant manager to market. I got busy harvesting flowers and tucking them in the cooler and as the sun rose higher was joined by a group of incredible friends, picking and catching up amidst the rows.
Our family and friends spread table cloths, arranged tables, arranged flowers, set up hand-painted signs, and enjoyed the pond. Sean and I stole away to chat cross-legged in the shade with our dear friend and celebrant of our ceremony and then took a walk into the woods to polish our vows. My sister, mother, aunt and close friends gathered in my messy bedroom (no time to clean!) to help me transition from sweaty harvest mode to bride, to soothe my nerves, to weave lavender into the wool on my hand-made dress (thank you!) after I burst into tears from the intensity and joy of it all. And then the loving scene (probably aided by the scent of lavender) made our photographer also shed some tears and excuse himself.
Friends smudged wedding guests with sage smoke and ushered them through a home-made archway and past the vegetable field. While Sean and his parents stationed themselves in the woods by the ceremony site, my parents, sister and our wild and costumed pack of flower children walked along the upper edge of the herb garden and hid behind the hedgerow, waiting to hear our young violinist play our cue. The ceremony is a blur, but our tears flowed freely even as we spoke our vows as loudly as we could and laughed at our celebrant’s jokes and our unintentional ones. Family led the music, the hand-fasting with Norwegian lace and then everyone furiously showered us in a monsoon of marigold petals: our benediction as a married couple. A couple wild women jumped in full dress into the pond. Our brothers leapt on the 1949 cub tractor and got to work moving chairs and being farm champions.
And then, the party. If you ask us, we remember mostly falling happily into embracing everyone we saw. And dancing! Loud, rowdy, hard-driving bluegrass that inspired a rager of a dance party. And eating enough to know the food was out of this world, in between hugging. Home-raised sausage, fingerling potatoes, beets and plums, farm salads, a gazillions homemade pies, woah! And listening to more kind words about us and feeling speechless but brimming with gratitude as we addressed the handsome and loving gathering. Precious, bright, and brief. A big bloom of joy before autumn came, our chance to gather our far-flung loved ones. A witnessing of our union in the midst of the growing plants and animals and earth that gives us life and work and hope.