Loving the weekend wedding of John Luther Toney , our 5th grandchild to take the vow, takes me back to the diversity of love, relationships, weddings, and marriages——-and reminds me, again, that one size never fits all, even with a strong and present gene pool.
Byron and I were totally traditional as were Chuck and Laura and Muff and Dennis. We all married in our home churches, Lavonia First Methodist and Laura’s historic Hebron Presbyterian. We all had receptions at family residences : ours at the Haley House, 1/2 block from the church, and our two children at our old home on Vickery Street. The only real difference was the food. Sixty-two years ago, wedding cake, punch, and peanuts were the fare, but with our children, buffet and champagne. Still traditional : church, home, family, friends. Sixty-two years, thirty-three years, thirty years and counting. God is good, all the time.
But most important, through ups and downs, challenges and successes, sun and rain, mountains and valleys, love and endurance have prevailed and, so far, the marriages are intact.
But with the grands, the third generation, times are changing. Exposure to the new and different abounds , independence is prevalent, and tradition runs a close second to individuality. And there’s nothing wrong with that !
Haley Sue Long and Allen Williams were the first. Choosing a beautiful outdoor venue, they said their vows in front of a plethora of family and friends, choosing as their officiant the former youth director at Lavonia First Methodist, an ordained Methodist minister. This followed by dinner and dancing with the wedding cake having been baked and decorated by Allen’s much-loved ” stand-in ” grandpa. Tradition and individuality combined ………….
Next came Lucy Long, one of the girl twins, who chose to wed Joseph Boggs, her Army Ranger sweetheart, in front of a fountain in Savannah ( where he is stationed ) with only immediate family present. Chief Judge Jeff Malcolm from Franklin County ( and a family friend ) performed the ceremony and a lovely and lively reception for many friends and family was held in a pub some several months later . Different and special……
Our oldest grandson, Isaac Toney, and his bride, Christina Schmitt, met at the Candler School, Emory University, while working on their Masters in Theology. They opted for a very private ceremony with only siblings, parents, and grandparents present. Beautiful farm setting, violinist, female pastor, and her sister and Isaac’s twin brothers standing in. Private lunch following and then, post-pandemic, a delightful celebratory reception at John’s Creek Country Club with music and dancing for all. Beautiful………
C’Lee Long and Thomas Johnson III were next and they chose to marry alone with Judge Malcolm (again ) officiating at Victoria Bryant State Park. It was simple and sweet and just what was called for during the pandemic. Later they continued the celebration by having another ceremony at Lavonia First Methodist so that family and close friends could participate. Lovely reception at Cateechee topped the second service off………with her twin sister giving the toast and saying ” we were friends before we were born ! ” Special…….
And then this week-end , John Luther Toney and Kelly Latsis married at a mountain venue in North Georgia. Hurricane Nicole moved inland and the carefully planned outdoor ceremony had to be indoors. But it was beautiful with a touch of Kelly’s family’s Eastern European legacy present. In particular, the sweet tradition of having the parents pray. A special touch for this grandmother was not only the groom, but Will, his twin, was best man, and Isaac, his older brother , an ordained Presbyterian minister , was the officiant. Much food , family , and fellowship in the tradition of Kelly’s family were enjoyed by all. Unique…….
And we still have Will Toney to look forward to . No pressure !!
Here’s my point : the process may change, the protocol may vary, the “look” may be different, but so long as the love, the dedication, the stability remain, the marriage will endure. Giving more than taking, loving ( even when not liking ) , forgiving, overlooking, supporting, and , most of all, staying true to the vows are all that truly matter. Church, farm, mountain, park, fountain—–indoors or outdoors——preacher or judge——–one no better than the other, for sure !
It has been said,
” But the greatest of these is love “. ( 1 Corinthians, 13:13 )
And I believe…………………………
Amen. It’s work. If it was easy, anyone could do it.
Amen to that. Many ups and downs. Thank you for reading and commenting.
So many wonderful memories, and so many more to make! Love seeing our family grow and looking forward to adding to the list of special memories! Thanks to you and Poppy for providing the blueprint of a loving family and household. We all have, and will continue, to learn so much from you both. Love you!
What a sweet, sweet response! We are so proud of all that you and the other five have become. And not just professionally, although that is important, but in the way you are living your lives, with integrity, focus, and love. Love you bunches……..
Lovely, sweet words about the love in your family! And the precious response from Will Toney!❤️
John and Kelly’s ceremony took me on a sentimental journey of weddings past. So many and so special ! You have that to look forward to. Thank you for being my forever friend. I miss you terribly……….
And Will’s sweet note brought tears to my eyes………..
One of your best, my dear friend and BSS!
I so appreciate this——-and you ! As I enjoyed and appreciated John and Kelly’s wedding, I also felt sentimental and nostalgic, remembering so many through the years. We have been blessed indeed. Thank you, BSS, for all you mean to me……..
Many special memories and times together celebrating love and commitment. Blessings abound 🥰
Amen to that . And we have always been there for each other . You and Chuck deserve much credit for your boys. Friday was one more happy occasion for the Toney family.
Well and truly said!
Sweet memories, Diane. I can remember telling Kelsey and Luke before they married that marriage was about commitment and that there would be times when you might not like your spouse but you would still love them. While the wedding is such a special time, the marriage is what’s most important.
Thank you, Debra, for adding “real time” to my meanderings. Wonderful advice about commitment, for sure. The beginning, however special and beautiful, is not the reality. The reality lies in 2,10,25,47, and/or 62 years of endurance, tolerance, understanding,supporting and commitment……..but the greatest of these is love.
The growth of your family is one of my favorite stories as you went from zero grands to six in a relatively short time: a grandson, a grandaughter, twin grandsons, followed by twin granddaughters. They all grew to become accomplished in their various fields, which I believe has happened due to a high bar set, punctuated with much love and fun along the way. What a marvelous family!
Bless you ! You have been such a special friend, thanks to FCHS and our love of kids and family. You remember well, and I value that. Enjoy your own grands as they set out to conquer the world, each in his/her own way.
Enjoyed once again. Your children and grandchildren are also blessed to have both of you in their lives. It completes the circle.
Thank you. I do count my blessings every day——-and , as you know so well, the grands are special ones. I felt quite nostalgic at JL’s wedding, primarily because he is the only one who has not taken the big step. All are so different which adds much spice to the table. I treasure your friendship and your family, grands and all……………..
OOPS ! Intended to say that only one has not taken the big step, and that is Will. My bad…….
Love…Love…Love…your words of infinite wisdom coming from my favorite aunt..I ALWAYS…enjoy coming to this site and reading what you have to say….we all have so much to be grateful for….The Toney name continues for a new generation…
Toney Boys Rule!!!!
What a sweetie ! You have made my heart sing ! I had no idea that you were reading my blogs, but it does indeed make me happy. I only write when something touches me on a personal level. The publisher of our local paper is picking them up and publishing them. A nice surprise………
Am enjoying watching your grandsons develop and have the experience of living in a different culture. I know you are proud.
Thank you , and thank you and thank you again , not only for reading my blogs but for reaching out, and , last, but not least, calling me your favorite !!!!!