Shady Wagon Farm is a delightfully secluded 22 acre estate in New Hill, NC. I have done many weddings there through the years since it first opened and this year the owner, Cindy Carroll, has added a nice gazebo on the pond. I saw it for the first time on Thursday at Shana and Barry's rehearsal. Mr. Puddy, the local Persian "greeter" cat, was there to welcome everyone and schmooze a little. He loves being petted! He told me that he owns the place but not to tell the humans that think they own it! He made his piano playing debut at Shana and Barry's wedding but wait, that comes later! When Marty and I arrived on Friday October 24th to set up for the wedding, the sky was threatening and rain was in the forecast. We set up my sound system and did a sound check. All was well. Then later, when Ross Merle, one of my favorite DJs, arrived, he said that the rain was imminent (he had been following the Doppler) and we needed to move the ceremony to Plan B, the barn. So, after Ross and I spoke to the bride who agreed to move it, Marty and I took down my sound system. But, then they decided to wait it out till the last minute to decide where to have the wedding. That makes it tough because it takes more than a few minutes to set up my sound system. It was decided that Ross' wife, Alice, the keyboardist (see their photo together below) who was providing music for the ceremony would be up on the porch of the house, a good distance from the guests, but at least she had shelter if it started raining and with the volume turned way up, the music could be heard just fine. Without the sound system, we planned for the wedding party to assemble in front of the entrance to the gazebo so at least some of the guests could hear the ceremony. Well, we waited until about 15 minutes before the ceremony was to start, and I decided to risk setting up the sound system. I have lost one sound system due to an unexpected downpour in 2003 and that experience makes me think twice about risking my sound system to rain. I have learned to cover them with plastic garbage bags too in case it begins raining during the ceremony. It is so important to me and to the couple who have worked so hard creating the perfect ceremony for them to have the guests hear the words! Most guests have come a long way, usually spent a good amount of money on gifts for the couple, clothing for the wedding, etc. so they deserve to hear the ceremony. Ross helped Marty and me quickly get my system up and running with a mike for the readers. And, thank goodness--the rain held off!
So, Shana and Barry got the wedding they wanted in the gazebo, and all their guests enjoyed the ceremony. Barry's nieces, A'moni and Jasmine, read a poem alternately during the ceremony and those little girls were no strangers to microphones and did a great job! Then Barry's sister, Monica, presented a few words she had written for the couple. It was obvious that she is a poet and activist herself and proficient in public speaking. While Monica was speaking I noticed Mr. Puddy strolling down the aisle and getting strokes from the guests but when they started to applaud, he high-tailed it up to the porch. Then it was time in the ceremony for Shana and Barry to exchange their vows. Shana went first and repeated the lines after me. Then, unbeknownst to those of us in the gazebo, a strange discordant tinkling of piano keys was heard by the guests. Yep, Mr. Puddy had jumped up onto the keyboard but he did not stay but a moment as Alice swept him off and he was not seen again. Marty and I looked for him again after the wedding to take a photo of him, but he eluded us! Next time! Back to the ceremony: After the vows and ring exchange, and the pronouncement of marriage, Shana and Barry jumped the broom and then I introduced them to their guests amid great applause and cheers! Alice began the recessional music as the wedding party departed to the farmhouse for photos and the guests proceeded to the barn for the reception. After photos, Marty and I went over to the barn to see the wedding cake by Baking Dreams also owned by Cindy Carroll, and taste a few hors d'ouerves by Thrills from the Grill who were catering the reception. Leah Bowman provided the photographic coverage of the wedding and reception. It was a great wedding with many memorable moments! Congratulations to you, Shana and Barry!