Have few desires.”
Everyone overlooks the fact that simple or plain does not mean cheap, wanting or boring.
My son was married on Saturday, Aug 11th. The wedding was held at an enormous barn in Pennsylvania, about 3 hours from New York City. Over the course of several months last year, they visited dozens of wedding halls. Many were extremely lavish buildings, with marvelous architecture, dance halls, reception rooms and entryways. As they looked at the pictures of the many weddings held in these halls, they noticed that they all looked almost exactly alike.
As they continued their search, they came across a barn in Dallas, PA, situated on a large spread of land. No fancy architecture, not fancy entryway, just a simple wooden barn, with the original wood on the floor and walls. The building couldn’t get any simpler.
When we heard they chose to hold the wedding in a barn, which had no air conditioning, we put on a smile, but wondered to ourselves what were they thinking.
Just about everyone who heard the wedding was taking place in a simple barn had the same thought: this was going to be a disaster.
This simple wedding turned out to be the best wedding I’ve been to. Almost everyone else attending said the same thing: the best time they’ve had at any wedding. They were all blown away with how amazing the inside of the barn looked, with the white table linens and lighting giving the wide open space a nice warm glow, a hallmark moment look. The constant flow of food, drink and camaraderie took care of everything else. The meadow, with half a dozen horses grazing, was just icing on the cake.
There were dozens of tables spread out in the barn, with a dance floor in the middle. Through a door on the side was a balcony, setup with a bar for drinks, overlooking the meadow.
After the wedding ceremony, held under a giant oak tree in the middle of the meadow, everyone headed to the barn and balcony for the cocktail hour. Waiters and waitresses walked around handing out hors d’oeuvres while two bartenders serviced the bar on the balcony.
Everyone had to be called to their tables for the introductions. In fact, the biggest problem at the wedding was getting everyone to take their seats for special moments. Almost all of the tables were empty throughout the entire event. Everyone was too busy having a good time, either on the dance floor, socializing with others on the balcony or other areas of the barn, or visiting the horses outside. Nobody wanted to night to end, and aside from a few guests who had a long drive home and left six hours after the wedding started, everyone else was there to the very end. A bus and van shuttled quests between the hotel, about 20 minutes away, and the barn. Their arrival at 11:00 signaled the end of the reception.
The wedding was not held in an extravagant setting. The wedding was simple, not complicated. There was no strict guideline for how guests should behave, or when things were to be done. The day was for the bride and groom and their guests. They chose when things should be happen. The wedding planner was calm and collected, like a conductor leading a team of professionals: things happened automatically. Keeping the event simple made it seem unplanned; things just seemed to automatically happen.
You can’t get any plainer or simpler than a barn, yet the night was better than most weddings held in complicated and extravagant settings. The bride and groom knew this wasn’t just their night; it was their friends and families night. Friends and family knew this was the most important day for the bride and groom. This lack of selfishness made the event a bigger success: everyone got more than they expected. Friends and family had the best night of celebrating, and the bride and groom had a night they’ll never forget.
Plain, simple, unselfish and few desires: put all together, magic happens.