There are some moments in time which stick in my mind like a movie on a screen. Last weekend will be one of those. My heart was full to overflowing with joy and gratitude, as was my house. My kids came from all their places to celebrate Hannah and Jimmy, Georgia-style. We gathered around the tables, ate, visited, and laughed. We introduced the Seattle crew to gas station biscuits from Linda’s and cinnamon rolls from the Country Bake Shop. They got to drive through Octoberfest in Helen. (Jimmy’s parents live in Leavenworth, Washington which is also a Bavarian village!) We had some time at local wineries. Hannah got to see Grandma and just be home for a day or two with both her families. It was a house full of happiness.
When Hannah and Jimmy got married in Seattle we all knew many of our friends and family would not be able to make the trip, so we planned to have a Georgia gathering to extend the celebration. Hannah’s favorite season is the fall with the leaves turning. It has been years since she has been here to see peak color, so we scheduled the event at Glen’s Orchard the last weekend in October hoping to get the timing just right.
The morning of the reception was cool and windy. We wanted Jimmy’s family, who flew in for the event, to see the beauty of autumn in the North Georgia mountains. Being as their Washington wedding was cold and misty, I had prayed the rain would hold off for the Ga celebration, but I forgot to mention the wind! As we set up the tables, it was blowing the flowers out of the containers. We had to weigh everything down, flowers, runners, and tablecloths, with rocks to keep them from flying away. We bundled up in jackets and started a fire in the fire pit. But there was no rain in sight…so we were grateful and adapted to windy.
When the afternoon arrived, so did the sun. The leaves all around us glowed with color. The wind died down and the temperature climbed to a comfortable sweater-weather. Guests appeared in waves. Faces from the past Hannah hadn’t seen since she was a young girl. Some who she went to college with. Others, were friends of ours. My prayer group, who were prayer warriors for our kids as they grew. Neighbors, family members, and friends who all have been part of our lives came to celebrate Hannah and Jimmy. His family was able to meet many of those who shaped Hannah’s life.
We had charcuterie and s’mores. Sweet tea and spiced cider. There were lawn games and a fire pit. It was such a lovely day. My niece, Kara, took photos. (To be shared once I get them back!) My boys and neighbors Suzanne and Gary set up the space. Suzanne also took these snapshots! My friends Tom and Nadine shared their special place. Dale and Julie provided tablecloths and various decorative items. Martie leant her vintage glasses. It was a group effort, an event which displayed true southern hospitality. Hosted by me, but supported by a village of people who love Hannah.
After the event, Grandpa hosted the entire family at the Lake Rabun Hotel for dinner. I just sat and marveled at having everyone around the same table. Laughing, conversing and just being together. I admit my eyes filled a time or two with grateful tears.
On Sunday, once everyone had left, Bill and I, Hannah and Jimmy, and his parents, George and Nancy, took off for Asheville NC to spend a few days. We took in live music, fabulous food, crafts, breweries, the Biltmore House, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had an Airbnb with a view that was amazing. We had a wonderful three days together among the leaves and incredible weather.
Of course, I cried when it was over, but the afterglow will carry me for months to come. Such a blessing to not only love Jimmy and to see him fit seamlessly into our family, but to love his family as well. To feel kindred spirits and to know that this union is meant to be. Two families, joined into one by the love of our children. A joy-filled time, indeed!