Friday, May 31, 2013

Weddings in a Barn

Tomorrow I  will be attending the wedding of a nephew in Pennsylvania. He will be married in a church but the reception will take place in a barn. Because the temperatures will be in the high 80s to low 90s (Fahrenheit), some of my relatives are bemoaning the lack of air-conditioned comfort. What do you wear as you move from the cool of the church ceremony to the heat of the reception?

Having the reception in a barn apparently a growing trend for weddings. This will be the fourth one for me in the past few years, my own daughter’s included. I have three friends in various parts of the U.S. who have renovated barns to make them usable for wedding receptions. I consulted a website,, and discovered that there are barns available across the country for events such as wedding receptions. “I think a barn symbolizes a sense of peace and oneness with the land that harmonizes well with the idea of a wedding,” states the website. “I want a barn because the space is large and unusual and it will well reflect our love of nature and being true to the land.”

Outdoor weddings are also an increasing trend. Although tomorrow’s ceremony will take place in a church, at all the other “barn” weddings I’ve attended, the ceremony took place outdoors. In the past four years, I have attended twelve weddings. Of those twelve, half  held their wedding ceremony in a church. But only two of those six continued their festivities indoors. In summary, two out of twelve weddings had everything indoors, and one of those two took place in the winter. Ten of the twelve had one or the other part of the ceremony outdoors.

I draw two observations from these trends. First, this generation of young adults are becoming more and more attuned to nature. I think it is because of increased awareness of ecological problems that are plaguing our world and wanting to do something about it. Young adults are interested in gardening and preserving their produce the old fashioned way. The quote about using a barn for their wedding I think reflects well these trends, “[using a barn] will well reflect our love of nature and being true to the land.” Young adults want to be closer to nature, and I think this is a good thing.

Secondly, I think the traditional church is becoming less and less important for young adults, reflected in the fact that only half of the weddings I attended were held in a church. Although I find this trend to be unsettling, I think it behooves the organized church to look closely in the mirror as to why this is so. The reasons for this trend are the topic of another blog post, but I think it has to do with ambiguity, inclusiveness and the lack of being real on the part of many church attenders. I’ll leave my comments at that for now.

So I’m off to another barn wedding. Since it will take place in the vicinity of my childhood, I’m sure I will be able to bear the heat. Congratulations Justin and Alicia!

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