Rustic Weddings – A Forgotten Treasure

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Corinthians 13:4-8

One of the real blessing about living in the country are the many benefits that come along with it. One of them is the connection to nature.

There is nothing like waking up to the soothing sounds that a early Summer morning offers. The sound of insects buzzing, pleased that the weather has become warm gently rousing them to take on the work that awaits them all Summer. The sounds of animals moving about their stalls. Maybe the sound of a cock crowing. These are all things that people who haven’t had the good fortune to grow up in the country might take for granted.

The Average American Wedding

I can’t even try and tell you how much the average wedding cost right now. When we got married we succeeded in keeping in under five thousand dollars. It wasn’t like we were holding back, but that is just how it worked out.

My husband and I were invited to the wedding of one of his colleges children. They live about three miles down the road from us, so it is safe to say that by country standards we are neighbors. Would we resided in a city, even one of moderate side nobody would even thing of suggesting such a thing.

As I conversed with my husband’s college’s wife I started to talk about my wedding. During the course of the conversation it got to the topic of money. And I made the same statement as above. Our wedding only cost about five thousand, most of which was paid by my father. She almost burst out laughing. The prospect of such a cheap wedding was almost unthinkable. She and her husband had paid close to twenty-thousand for the afternoon wedding, with the groom family paying another five to six. She wasn’t a hundred percent sure how much the entire afternoon cost, but I was left speechless.

It must have been a hearing problem on my part.

As my husband and I drove home from the wedding I brought up the conversation I had had with the wife. When I mentioned that they had spent twenty-five thousand on their daughter’s wedding he didn’t bat an eye. As it turns out his college had been telling everybody at the implement supply dealer where they work how much he had spent.

Was this where the American wedding had gone? This couldn’t be right, or could it?

When we arrived home I set about researching the cost of a small wedding. As it turns out they weren’t so far from a good average. I was flabbergasted, what had happened to the rustic wedding that highlighted many afternoons in the summer and fall? Why had things gotten so out of hand? After all the fancy decorations that my nieces are pinning on Pinterest couldn’t be costing that much could they?

While I browsed through various sites looking at their offers for weddings I quickly realized why prices like these aren’t the exception, rather the norm.

The Rustic Wedding

I understand that it is popular to craft a wedding around a certain idea. Something that means a lot to the people that are getting married, to their families, or those that are close to theme. That was always the benefit of a rustic wedding. And the option to get married for what would today only cover the cost of the catering if that.

Growing up, the rustic country wedding that I attended were often catered by family. Grandmothers, aunts, and sometimes even great grandmothers all chipped in for what I can only say was some of the best food I have ever eaten.

It was this mentality, this we can do it together, we can do it as a family, that I think has shaped the appeal of rustic weddings.

When it came to decorating them one relative with provide tables, the others would bring chairs, or they would supply dishes, or a rye old uncle would bring the refreshments as they were called. It offered a sense of community, a chance to do things yourself along with the acceptance that from those that were invited to celebrate with you.

Invitations were done by the family member with the nicest handwriting, this usually meant my maternal grandmother who was more than talented in calligraphy.

Today you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a set of wedding invitations. And while they are made to your specifications, why not just make them yourself. I find the idea of having them printed and shipped to you less than appealing. And when it comes to country rustic invitations I have to ask what is the point?

Apparently I am not alone. There are people that still see the value in a willingness to do it themselves. That is what put the Great in between This Nation. I found one one woman who also saw the value in crafting her own rustic wedding invitations. And while I can’t imagine anyone taking the time to write out a hundred wedding invitations by hand anymore, yet I was pleased to see that some people still take pride in their work. Because when it comes to rustic invitations you almost need to do them yourself at least in part.

That is because a rustic invitation doesn’t come down to what it has on it, there an be any range of fancy things depicted on the paper, it comes down to how they came to be.

The woman who created her own wedding invitations came to a number of interesting solutions to simplify her work. And I can only say kudos to her for the inventive nature that she used to achieve her goal. It was also inspiring to see that somebody had placed similar value on what others would simply see as a piece of card.

I can’t tell you how much the couple had spent on the invitations for their daughter’s wedding. It wouldn’t be fitting even if I did. She wanted to have a modern wedding. Sadly many of the rewarding aspects of a rustic wedding were set to the side in exchange for what I like to call Pinterest chic. Though that does not mean that all of the rewarding aspects have been removed. There are many ways to embrace the things that make a union of this style just as rewarding as it ever was. But you need to draw from the creativity, the free spirit, and the charm that is available to you instead of working off your list.

While I don’t hold sites like Pinterest responsible for changing the way modern weddings are being held, I do think that they aide in this change.

Many of the different ideas that you will find out there are often copies of one another. And in the end that leads to a dilution of creativity that I find disheartening.

You see a rustic wedding doesn’t need to be planned or shaped to rustic. Many young brides appear to be under the impression that it is somehow a theme that has to be checked off as you go along. Maybe they know how they felt going to them as little girls and they want to try and claim some of the beauty for their own wedding. Still, the weddings that they went to as children weren’t rustic weddings per say, they were just weddings.

That is the thing that I think all of these sites allow us to forget. Instead of spending a small fortune on something that can be achieved through a your own creativity, working with what you have at hand, and a little elbow grease.

I can accept if some people don’t want to spend their time creating wedding invitations, there are options for this, but when you need catering to provide you with green beans, mashed potatoes, and meat loaf I think that you have misunderstood the meaning of rustic wedding.

Once I got done looking at the cost of weddings I could understand how, but the why was still eluding me. And I imagine that it will for sometime to come.

After all, my husband and I didn’t have engagement photos take, nor did we pay a photographer to shoot our wedding. We didn’t pay a DJ to change albums while we danced, and we didn’t pay a caterer for an over priced buffet.

Of course we have photos of our wedding, naturally we had music, and the food still makes my mouth water till this day. But my great aunt took the photos, a friend and his band provided the music, and the whole family chipped in to get everybody feed. I can even attest to the large tree. Beautiful and grand, a pillar that strengthened our resolve in that first year. Though, then it was just a nice backdrop. Today they have somehow taken on some importance for the rustic wedding experience. Still, it isn’t the same. Maybe, I have gotten old fashioned and maybe my nieces are right when they tell me I just don’t get it.

But there isn’t anything wrong with admitting you don’t get it. I know what rustic weddings are to me, and I know what they can be. I know that some people still appreciate them for what they were. Because what they offer is so much more than a romantic photo opportunity, a chance to wear cowboy boots, and drink sweet tea from mason jars. They are more than burlap, lace, and a clever mixture of vintage decor.

A rustic wedding is about family not the size.

I was thinking today about all that I learned from that day. What I feel has become a bit of a problem in our country. We Americans have begun to loose sight about what is important, about the true purpose of the wedding. It is an act of union. And we get caught up in how much it costs. As I was driving home from the story last night I came to think about this in the context of scripture.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

Song of Solomon 8:7

If you read the words with your eyes you might not see what the true spirit was that they were written. But when you open your heart you can easily understand that money or wealth alone does not make a wedding real. It needs to come from love. Love is worth far more, and it endures far longer than a marriage built on worldly possessions.

When you see it like that the whole craze to make it bigger and better is a little bit shameful.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It is a day of happiness, of celebration, and because of that we want to share the moment with our loved ones. For that, we do need to spend some money. And nobody ever said hosting guests was cheap. But there it s a limit, and I think a lot of people like to make it about something more. About their wealth, and it takes the union out of context.