The Importance of Giving

This past Saturday, Garrett and I had the opportunity to attend the inagural Freedom Ball in Hopkins County, Texas.

After months of hard work and preparation, the day was finally here. It exceeded all expectations I ever thought I had. The venue, Cedar Canyon, was magically beautiful. The speaker was both funny and moving. Mr. Clayton McGraw’s rendition of “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash brought me to tears like it does every time he performs it. I left with a refreshed pride in my country and for the men and women who serve it.

The event’s speaker

The event’s purpose was twofold. First, we have numerous veterans whose names do not appear on the local veterans memorial. The memorial was originally completed debt free to the tune of over $1,000,000. To say that Hopkins County is a giving area is an understatement. The next objective of the fundraising part of the event was to create a perpetual fund that would provide upkeep for the memorial. There is a kiosk at the memorial where people can search for names on the memorial.

 

Aside from the fundraising efforts, the Freedom Ball planning committee, which I was proud to be on, wanted to recognize the efforts of all veterans and honor veterans, which I felt was accomplished.

I feel that giving people lead a fuller life.

It’s important to me that we instill a desire to give and to help others in our children. We were able to to adopt two veterans to place their names on the wall in honor of our kids. I am thankful that my pappy’s (mom’s dad) name is on the wall already. However, many of the veterans whose names are not on the wall were men and women who were killed in action and do not have relatives who would be able to put their name on the wall. 

I was incredibly moved by a generous donation made by a well-known and highly successful businessman. Anyone who knows this family knows of their giving spirit. To acknowledge the impact he and his family made on the community and the efforts of the Freedom Ball, he was recognized at the event.Overall, the event was fun, moving and successful. I am thankful to be a part of a giving community who is able to come together for the greater good. I fully believe that giving people lead fuller lives, and I hope to encourage you today to find something you can contribute to, whether that is by donating money or time. Afterall…“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb –

Nicest of Them All….Weddings Decoded

Alright, so earlier this week I asked the question of which type of wedding would be considered the most formal – morning church, evening church, at-home or venue. The answer? It’s actually an at-home wedding. Let’s jump into the “why” that y’all know I’m so eager to always explain?

Now, remember, this is for the USA, and this is actually the traditional etiquette answer, per Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post. Weddings, by definition, are formal events. This does not equate to formal attire, though. While weddings have been held in churches for centuries, in the USA, it was more common until about the 1950s for weddings to be held at home, provided the bride’s family was wealthy enough to do so. It was considered a very formal affair. Full meals would be provided by servants for hundreds of people. After about the 1820s, families who could afford it went all out for weddings. A minister would still perform the ceremonial part of the wedding, and the reception would commonly follow.

In the 1950s, the USA experienced a religious resurgence with a big push to hold wedding ceremonies in a church building, such as a sanctuary. Still, even then it was popular for the bride’s family to host a full meal and reception at their home or at a family home. As peoples’ homes have decreased in size, the idea of having a receptions at a venue has increased in popularity. In Amy Vanderbilt’s 1954 etiquette book, she declares home weddings “nicest of them all,” showing a preference for tradition over trend. Think plantation home size.

Going by this etiquette precedence, the “nicest” type of wedding and reception a couple would most likely have today would be to have a church wedding and an at-home reception, provided the home is large enough to accommodate a large number of people. It would include a full meal with people serving the meal. An alternative that would be considered just slightly less formal would be a church wedding with a reception at a venue.

Now, if you choose to have a venue wedding, does any of this mean it’s not ok or “nice?” Not even in the least. It is, however, stating that there are certain expectations for choosing a more formal wedding type. That may rub some people the wrong way, but in all areas of life, there are expectations. I have a certain level of expectations when I come to work. Never feel obligated to host any event, including a wedding, that you can’t afford.

Now, going off of the comments, someone mentioned the Royal Wedding between the Duke and Duchess. That, in my opinion, was a perfect combination of old and new. It was a morning church wedding, followed by a luncheon reception. Finally there was an evening “home” reception. The duchess also changed dresses between the events. It was elaborate, but it had an element of youth to it that I loved. She also kept in mind appropriate dress for both venues. As we’ve talked about, the later in the day it gets, the more formal your attire would be. You’d never wear an evening gown to a church, regardless of time, so she kept it before 7 (well before, as it was morning). Prior to the evening event, many of the guests had also changed clothes into more formal threads.

Etiquette helps us to better understand others’ expectations. I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, thank you for reading.