By Keith Whitson
“Do you have a Plan B,” I asked my cousin Jessica Guinn a few days before her wedding, when the weather reports were all predicting rain. It turns out there was no Plan B but there was a wedding Saturday. Jessica is my cousin but she has always referred to me as Uncle Keith. Her mother and I are months apart in age and grew up together.
Jessica and her fiance´ Adam Byrd decided to get married at the Lower Spivey Falls. It is a beautiful setting, with a level field featuring the waterfalls as a backdrop and the creek flowing along the side. Every detail was planned out except what would happen if it rained.
The field was staged with a beautiful arch, decorated in flowers by her grandmother. Hay bales with quilts on them served as seating as well as log stumps adorned with cushions, created by Adam’s grandmother, for the family to have front row seating. Adam is an outdoorsman and knows his way with an axe and chainsaw. The gorgeous, tiered cake had a fondant hatchet stuck in the side.
After the wedding vows, guests were to enjoy a basket with chicken croissants, chips, pasta salad and waffle cones filled with fruit and topping.
This was the initial plan. The weather was sunny and nice in Erwin as I headed out for the wedding. The closer to the location I got, the worse the weather looked, with no sun in sight. Final setup was underway when I arrived. After a series of “Oh look, it’s the sun,” followed by “Oh no, it’s looking rainy” and repeat of said statements, the wedding began.
I don’t do well at weddings. Someone always cries and then I tear up. I watched Jessica enter wearing a beautiful cream gown with a small train and I smiled. Then, I look at Adam as he sees her and he starts crying. Immediately I am touched and feel a few tears form in my eyes. Then Jessica has to go and wipe tears through most of the wedding. I can’t take it. I was in Jessica’s mother’s wedding, Karen Guinn, as a groomsmen. She cried most of the time and so I started fighting it back while standing in front of everyone.
Jessica and Adam’s service was beautiful. The ring bearer briefly stole the spotlight from the bride. It was her nephew, Harlan, who is almost 6 months old. He was decked out in a vest and tie. His dad, Jessica’s brother, Brandon, carried him up holding a small bird’s nest with the ring secured inside to keep curious little fingers from swallowing the jewelry. Jessica saw she couldn’t get the rings undone while he held the nest tightly, so she took it all, got the rings and was left with a nest in her other hand.
Anyway, the wedding went wonderfully. No rain. As the couple were having photos made and the guests were enjoying their picnic baskets, some sprinkles started. The minister made the statement to Jessica’s mother, Karen, “I prayed for no rain during the wedding. You were supposed to pray for no rain during the reception.” But, rain it did.
I had taken as many umbrellas as I had and everyone was grabbing for an umbrella, while a tent was being erected over the cake, where many also took shelter.
Most have heard the expression “WWJD,” for “What would Jesus do?”. For me it also means “What wouldn’t Jessica do?.” The answer is very little. Jessica and Adam kept posing for photos. They carried umbrellas to spots around the property and the photographer carried one as well. When I thought they were through, I was greatly mistaken. Jessica went carrying and dragging her dress and train through the mud, through the woods and at one point into the creek. I watched them come back to land and out to another rock in the creek for photos. At one point she was completely standing in the creek with her gown flowing downstream. I must say she was owning the moment.
The cake was cut and the rain stopped briefly before starting up again. Who needs a typical, boring wedding? Jessica’s is certainly one they will remember for many years to come. Her dress and photos are proof. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd and eventually not a dry stitch of clothing on the wedding party and guests.
I came away with my fingers shriveled, a chill outside and a warm feeling inside. Welcome to the family Adam. I would like to say this isn’t typical for this bunch, but like the weather it is unpredictable.