The domed, beamed ceiling had recesses on either side. Garlands of greenery, candelabra with burning tapers and two arrangements of assorted blooms on either side of the altar completed the setting in the beautiful building built hundreds of years ago.
Many people were quietly filing into the church, the ladies on the arms of young men. The organ prelude consisted of Bach, Purcell and Pachelbel. As ushers escorted the three grandmothers to their seats, a talented voice in the background sang “Ave Maria”.
A trumpet sounded the entrance of the wedding party and the bridesmaids entered, each carrying bouquets of varying flowers with no two alike. The maid of honor, carrying a bouquet of all the flowers of the other bridesmaids, entered and turned for the entrance of the bride, which was preceded by a flower girl strewing the familiar rose petals in the aisle.
As the petite bride, holding the arm of her father, made her way to the altar, every eye in the church was on her. All brides are beautiful and she was no exception.
The groom-to-be took his place by her side and the father of the bride smiled, as only a father can to his only child about to place her hand in the hand of the man with whom she would now make her home. The service began.
As I sat in the quiet of this beautiful old church and listened as this young couple repeated their vows, one could feel the solemnity of what was happening. The promises each made to the other seemed to echo among the rafters even though their responses were quietly spoken to each other. One could only say a silent prayer that the words would remain with them throughout the rest of their lives and they would keep the magic of finding such great love.
Riding from the church to the reception in a Rolls Royce seemed to be the proper climax of the ceremony of this newly married bride and groom.
It was a very traditional ceremony, nothing added and nothing taken away. Yet it seemed as if everyone there had been blessed, or at least I felt I was leaving sacred ground. We made our way to the Glen Arven Country Club where a band was playing and early arrivals were surrounded with tables of food.
We eventually drifted to the tables set up outside with a perfect view of the rolling terrain of the Glen Arven Golf Course. Many were snapping pictures with cameras left on each guest table while some were seeking the hot Cajun cuisine set up outside. The groom and his family were from Louisiana as well as many of the guests.
Attending my first wedding amidst the stately old Colonial homes that line the streets of Thomasville reminded me of the many who had begun their lives here in the old churches that remain today.
The outskirts of Thomasville have working plantations. I find it a town of much interest, loads of history and a reminder of life as it was when the South was personified as the epitome of class and culture. Folks here talk with an accent they never lose, nor care to. They move slow, they relish their heritage and they have come to terms with the color of man’s skin, as it is no longer a divider of man’s worth.
It is also known as the City of Roses, with beds of roses along the city streets, in all the parks, in every neighborhood and in most private yards. I have attended many Rose Parades through the years and each one seems to bring forth as much excitement and preparation as the one the year before.
It is a town steeped in tradition, with winning football teams in both high schools and in social consciousness that befits the old South’s way of life.
I now think they really know how to get married. A wedding is always special but surrounded by the grandeur of the Civil War era, this is the place to recapture the lasting grace and beauty of a time that is lost in time.
Mary Sauceman, a resident of LaFayette, writes a weekly column for the Walker County Messenger.
CLICK HERE: Comment on this story.
CLICK HERE: Get all the local news and sports with a subscription to the Walker County Messenger