My friend Irene is an amazing woman.
When we were in high school, while I was off spending my whole allowance on Abercrombie clothes, Irene would head over to Goodwill on the first Saturday of every month, it being the 50% off day and all. That just blew my mind – Goodwill is cheap enough, but half off too?? And she would put together the cutest outfits from all that junk.
Fast forward five years and Irene is getting married. No wedding planner for this girl – she’s got a huge network of family in friends all living within 20 minutes, and she took full advantage. She had a family member take the pictures, another do hair and makeup, another bake the wedding cake, and another bake cupcakes. She designed her own invitations, save the dates, and programs, and had her sister who works at Kinkos print them up. She even put out matching Sodoku, word search, and Mad Libs with the programs at the service. We had a great time filling in the Mad Libs with dirty words for Irene and Anthony to enjoy later.
After the wedding everyone drove out to the Jorden farm, where friends on four wheelers directed parking. The pouring rain from the morning had eased somewhat, and all the ladies had changed into flip flops and the men into short sleeved shirts and shorts. It was a good thing it was casual too, my hair was a hot mess in the humidity.
Having green as the color scheme made everything easier too. At midnight the night before the wedding, a band of friends and family were hanging green lanterns from the ceiling of the tent and cutting greenery from the side of the road to put in the vases. A family friend stayed up until four AM early in the week hand peeling tomatoes for the salsa. Family and friends even stole all the chairs from a firehouse and classrooms around the town (to be returned, I’m assuming) and covered them with white covers. The tables had green burlap sack. My favorite part, of course, were the mason jars Irene had been slowly collecting over the months. I used mine over and over – first for beer, then for alcoholic snow cones, then for wine, then for liquor.
At the edge of the tents was a home made corn hole game that kept the kids and the grownups alike busy. As night descended over the farm, fireworks smuggled up from South Carolina exploded in the sky. The tables were put away and in their place popped up a mini city of tents.
Two of the boys grabbed their guitars from home and plugged them at the barn to jam out. We finished the night sitting around, sipping beer, reminiscing about high school and dancing like hippies to guitar riffs.
I don’t think Irene had sustainability in mind at her wedding. After all, it was catered by a delicious but conventional barbecue joint, and there were plenty of plastic cups and styrene plates available from the caterers and beer trailer. (That’s right, there was a beer trailer. MADNESS.)
But even if she wasn’t actually thinking “What is the most eco-friendly way to pull this off?” I still consider it mykind of wedding: hand-made, thoughtful, and genuine. It wasn’t pretentious, or wasteful, or extravagant. As usual, Irene looked at her budget and created her way around it with joy and laughter. All anyone could say was “That was a really good wedding.”