Our perfect wedding
A young couple based their decision on what’s valuable rather than on society’s expectations
By Marijo Dulay
After Rebecca and John Mullins were dating for two years, they were sure that they didn’t have to look elsewhere: they wanted to get married.
However, they were both students, without savings for a big wedding party. They wondered if they should wait until they could afford a decent reception.
“The priest told us since we were both sure that we were meant to get married, then we should get married and not wait,” said Rebecca.
“We had doubts due to finances; we did not expect our parents to spend the money on the dinner,” John added. “Some family and friends were telling us to wait, or live together first — but that was contrary to what we felt in our souls through our personal union with God, as well as talking to trusted friends.”
Both took a leap of faith, and they set the date. While society might say that expensive clothing or a luxurious location are important to make a perfect wedding, for them the top priority was to have their family and friends with them on that day. So they trusted in God and his providence to make it special.
For her dress, Rebecca would wear the one her mother was married in, and her veil was handmade by her mom. Their location? A bright green meadow behind a local church.
“The reception wasn’t a reception for us. We thought of it as a celebration of all the people who brought us to this point, who taught us so much through their friendship,” said Rebecca.
To make that moment possible and stay within their budget, their solution was to invite people to bring a dish to share — a wedding potluck. “We were told and warned that many guests may not come since it was a potluck, but most of our invitees were able to come, over 250 dear friends, many from states away,” she continued, “even a great uncle in a wheelchair came just for the day.” And even more important, a lot of people loved the idea of cooking their favorite dish to share and were really happy about it.
Friends from different religions and ethnic backgrounds came as well. “It was beautiful, as the table was filled with all types of food. But more important, God was so present not only as the center of the ceremony, but as the center of the reception.”
Rebecca and John received a lot of unexpected gifts from Church, family and community: Rebecca’s dad built a basket for the flowers. They wanted lights hanging on the trees, and family members lent their strings of lights for the day. A young photographer with less experience agreed to take the pictures for a reduced price to gain experience — it was a little risky but mutually beneficial, and the photos turned out beautifully.
“Some of the gifts we received were skills that people had — our DJ said he would be honored to do it for us, also our friend who made the cake. In the end, we felt so much love and friendship, much more than if we had been able to just buy everything we needed.”
The venue was a simple church in the woods. The pastor let them use the church facilities and grounds for a token price, and they felt heaven was watching out for them too, because there was a chance of rain at the reception but it never came.
Because they were still both students then, they didn’t immediately have time for a honeymoon, but a family friend who couldn’t make it to the wedding lent them their cabin in the Poconos by a lake.
“It was a beautiful experience. God gave us everything we needed. Not in a way people might picture a perfect wedding, but for us, it was perfect because we could spend the day with all our family and friends, in a simple way but full of love.”
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