By now, most Terra Firma subscribers know what “Community Supported Agriculture” means. But what would a “Community Supported Wedding” look like?
Maybe it would have most or all of the wedding guests make a contribution: not simply purchasing a gift, but playing a key role. Some people would help harvest the flowers to decorate the venue and arrange the bouquets. Others would offer their skills to help prepare the food. Still others would do the dozens of tasks that often go unnoticed.
Perhaps instead of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to strangers to rent a beautiful spot for a few hours, the soon-to-be-weds might find a neighbor or friend who didn’t mind sharing their lovely home or yard in lieu of a wedding gift.
In the process, the friends and family who attended the wedding might form even closer bonds to the married couple thanks to the meaningful contributions they made to the celebration. They might even make new friends along the way.
I’m certain that thousands of weddings like this have occurred every year for millenia. I would guess that some of our subscribers have done it this way themselves.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have a wedding. But like so many components of our consumer society, marriage celebrations have now been commercialized to the point where the average wedding now costs tens of thousands of dollars. In the nuptial arms race, the wedding industrial complex is winning.
I rarely write about my personal life in the Terra Firma Farm newsletter, for many reasons that I won’t go into here. But I got married this weekend, and the experience was so powerful I wanted to share it.
Some of the things we did to prepare for our wedding are not replicable for many people. We grew all the vegetables for the celebration ourselves and the signature cocktail created and prepared by my best (wo)man was made almost entirely with ingredients from the farm. But fresh locally grown food as well as wine and beer are now readily available for anyone’s wedding celebration.
We asked 25 friends to cook vegetable side dishes using produce we delivered to them, following our recipes, and bring them to the wedding. And all of them were excited and proud to have made a contribution that was not just enjoyed by the bride and groom. One person at the dining table would say, “That potato gratin was delicious!”, and another would respond “I MADE THAT!”. That is a connection that goes beyond making small talk about how you met the newlyweds.
Another group helped grill, chop and plate the different varieties of grilled meat that had come from our fields and the fields of our other farmer friends. They spent an hour after the ceremony working together and getting to know each in a way that rarely occurs at the average wedding cocktail hour.
Of course it’s not a wedding without flowers. So we had a crew of friends who helped pick and dry flowers in the months prior to the event, many grown by our friends and neighbors. Others foraged for foliage the day before the event. Still other friends decorated a dusty horse arena at our next door neighbor’s ranch and turned it into a magically beautiful space to celebrate in. And everyone involved got to celebrate and enjoy the final results of their handiwork in all its glory, together.
Finally, we had the rather unique opportunity to share the joy of our wedding with the entire community of Winters when we moved the celebration to the 3rd annual Holiday Tractor Parade down Main Street. My bride Marisa and I in our fancy outfits hopped onto a float topped with a giant “wedding cake” we had built with friends, pulled by a tractor covered with Christmas lights and “Just Married” signs.
The first step in a Community Supported Wedding is to reach out to friends and family and see if they are interested in joining. It might feel like you are making a big “ask”, but you might find that people are excited and touched that you love and trust them enough to be an active participant in making your big day.