My family is from the south, and my cousin married someone from the north. As they got married, the pastor mentioned that this was a joining of families. This is not just about the two of them, but it is about two different families preferences, expectations, and culture. While it seems that the majority of things are held in common by both families, there are some differences. These little things are going to need to be acknowledged as the couple goes through life together.
The first thing I noticed was assigned tables. I am told that this is customary in northern weddings. It is not customary at southern weddings. Most weddings I attend, I choose where I will be seated. This wedding was different. We were assigned to specific tables. It was pleasant to sit with members of my family which I had not had a chance to talk to previously. (I had been seated with different folks at the rehearsal dinner.) The assigned tables implied, at least to me, a slightly more formal approach to things than is normal for me. Will this prove true at their family gatherings? Do they have everyone bring something for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter?
The second thing was the menu at the rehearsal dinner. The groom’s family wanted to share some of their culture through this event. We had fried green tomatoes and collard greens as a part of the meal. One person remarked that they had never had fried green tomatoes. (I did not ask if they tried the collards.) Food is a big part of a culture, and this couple will need to negotiate the culture of their home. Will they have grits?
The little things in their wedding celebration pointed to the differences in their backgrounds, potential issues for the couple, and ways that this new family will need to adjust. The little things of this celebration also remind us that the little things can make a person feel comfort or discomfort. The little things identify not only our culture, but they also identify our care for others. As Christians we are called to reach beyond our culture. We are called, in the Great Commission, to go into all the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This means learning new cultures, trying new things, and being open to the little things. Take the time to experience new things, new ways of being, and the opportunity to reach beyond your own culture.