Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Joshua + Farrah Wedding, Part 1: Behind the Scenes

November 10th, 2016

Farrah and Joshua had been engaged for several months and now the big day when they would begin their new life together was almost here.  We had all been scurrying around the house (and town) assembling decorations, mixing tea, and purchasing food.  We had decided to rent the First Baptist Church in Williston since we were expecting a larger crowd than our church could comfortably handle.  We had made careful plans for how to decorate the church and the gym where the reception would be held, but could not put them into effect until the Thursday before the wedding because the church would probably need the gym Wednesday night.  So we waited and prepared.   Wednesday night we loaded up the chairs and tables from our church fellowship hall and took them over to the gym.  With plenty of hands we were able to work fast and unload all the tables and chairs in just about twenty minutes, stacking them to one side of the gym where they would be ready for us the next day.
Then, two days before the wedding, the setup began...

How do we turn this gym into a beautiful reception hall?  Farrah had done a lot of research (especially on Pinterest) and come up with some good ideas; plus Mama and Mamaw are both excellent decorators, so we had good hopes.

7:30 AM, Thursday, the first detachment arrived at the church.  Joshua, Farrah, Bo, Savana and I picked up food, wedding clothes, and decorating supplies from Evan's house (where the first few guests had already arrived) and our church (Faith Baptist Tabernacle).

Bo carting in a heavy load of supplies on an old dolly (minus a wheel) which he found in the gym.

Savana was a true "Maid" of honor...  She ironed all the wedding party's clothes, from Farrah's dress to Frankie's vest.  It took hours of hot, solitary work in the store-room on the second floor of the church.  Her help was such a blessing!

View of the musicians from the baptistery...

While Savana ironed and Farrah and Joshua directed the placement of tables, LilyAnn and I gave Mrs. E. and Christina a tour of the church, then had some fun pretending to be bridesmaids walking down the aisle while Charity and Haley practiced the music.  (I know, we were kind of goofing off, but there wasn't really any work for us at the moment and a joyful heart does good like a medicine, you know!)

Note the folded up bleachers on the balcony near the top center of this photo...

When we went back to the gym, where we were supposed to be working, we found that they had made good progress:  all the tables were set out (and carefully spaced with a measuring tape), and the young men had somehow managed to lift a heavy set of bleachers to the balcony above.  I heard that it was a dramatic scene, with some pushing and some hanging upside down from the rail above pulling...  I'm just glad everyone (including the bleachers and the railing) survived the ordeal!

There was a wonderful industrial kitchen to work in; it was great!  Sadly though, I was not involved in any cooking.  Joshua and Farrah took a group of young men over to the church on Friday and they did it all.

The food table all set up.
Farrah found this lovely idea on Pinterest and Anna Morgan, who also photographed the wedding, put the tables together, with some helpers.

Just as we were about to break for lunch, as I was taping tablecloths on the tables, word went round that the Siefkas had arrived, several hours before we were expecting them.  Yippee!  We now had more friends to fellowship with, and lots more help with the decorations.

Anna and Glory putting the lights on the high table.

The Wilsons stopped in for a while and the girls helped watch the younger children while Farrah went over the food plans with Mrs. Wilson, who was coordinating everything in the kitchen the day of the wedding.

At one point we thought we were going to hang a curtain of lights from the balcony behind the high table, and several of us were at work untangling them and attaching them to the rail.  But when we turned them on, they were LED lights and clashed badly with the rest of the lights we used, so sadly the light curtain idea had to be discarded.

This is the sanctuary the night of the rehearsal (Friday).  We were doing a little decorating in here after the rehearsal.

Saturday, November 12th!

Finally the big day came!  It was cool and beautiful outside, with a cloudless sky and soft air; perfect for a wedding.  I wanted to go with the first wave of workers to the church at 7 AM, so I headed outside around 6 to do the chores (milking a cow, feeding the horses and goats).  Well, the night before at the rehearsal, a call had come in that my goats were loose.  I had forgotten all about it in the action going on at the church, and just sort of assumed the guy who called had put them away.  Not so...  I found the door of the feed shed open, and panic struck as I envisioned the bucks I had borrowed from a friend croaked over on their backs with bloat from the amount of grain they had stolen.  (When an animal eats too much grain too quickly it can cause bloat (an undue gas buildup in the belly) and can kill them in a matter of hours.)  My Nubian doe, Mabel, was still in the field for a wonder, and I immediately began searching for the three missing goats.

Lo and behold, the goats had chosen that night of all nights to get out of the pasture and get tangled in our soccer net!  And of course the goat which was tangled the worst was a friend's buck which I was borrowing, and he was the favorite goat of his owner's family.  :(  Really though, this was the Lord's protection of them, since it kept them from eating all that grain and dying of bloat.
Thankfully, I was able to untangle them without too much trouble and without having to cut the net.  Then I was able to herd/ drag them back to their pasture (with some help from Cleone and a palmetto switch), milk the cow, and get back inside.  I was in high gear, so gave the milk to Joshua to strain, then dashed into the bedroom where our family was meeting  for a time of prayer and saying goodbye to Farrah.
It was a very short, but special time as we realized more fully what she has been to our family, and the reality that she was leaving began to sink in.  I was especially touched to see how touched my younger brothers were as we said goodbye.  It was good to take a few moments out of the roar and rush of the morning to pray and thank the Lord for the years she had been with us.

Joanna and Charity.

After a hasty (read "gulped as fast as possible") breakfast, I went to the church with Farrah, Joshua, Savana and Stephen (Joshua's youngest brother).  There I ironed the aprons for the servers (which had somehow been lost amongst the rest of the conglomeration of miscellaneous articles in the kitchen until the night before), then got dressed and had my hair done by Glory.  She was kept busy fixing everyone's hair that morning, and it was such a blessing she was able to do it!

All the bridesmaids, flower girls, and bride were supposed to have their pictures taken at 9 AM, but Emaline and Anna Frances (both flower girls) did not arrive until about 9:10.  A couple of us bridesmaids were lying in wait for them when they showed up and whisked them off to the upstairs bathroom/ dressing room at full speed.  I dressed Anna Frances at racing speed, Glory did their hair, and we hurried out to get the pictures, a little late, but with enough time to get them done.

And then, when all the pictures were taken, and everything was in place, we found ourselves lined up in the hallway outside the sanctuary, greeting people as they came into the foyer.  Eventually someone decided that really the wedding party should not also be the welcoming committee and we were hustled into a side room until the ceremony was to start.
And we waited for the clock to reach 11:00, when Farrah's new life would begin...


  1. What a great post, Alayna! Thanks for letting us in on the "behind the scenes" :). Y'all did a wonderful job with everything - the wedding was beautiful!