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…………………………