Mary/ December 14, 2014/ Decorative/Domestic, Living

I’m sitting under a palapa, a thatched sun-shade structure, on a beach in Cancun, Mexico. The reason I’m here (other than having a grand sun-filled break in December), is that I’m attending Alison and Braden’s wedding.

Alison was a young interior design student I mentored about 7 years ago. She worked for me part-time during the final year of her bachelor’s degree program and then I hired her full time and she worked for me for several years. It was a wonderful relationship and she was not only a talented designer but also my right hand, and an exuberant, fully committed participant in the business. Aside from that, she was, and is, a friend and a supportive resource to me and my son. She is basically like a daughter to me. When the invitation came to join her extended family and longtime family friends, I said yes.

We’re having a week filled with activities: visiting Mayan ruins, riding bikes to Puerto Morelos, and spending our days with lots of lounging around at the beach, swimming, eating and drinking! There are 37 of us in total. I’m one of the outliers, so I don’t know many people well, although I’ve heard a bit about many of them over the years.

The wedding festivities are this coming Monday. But what I just realized today, is that we will have had five days before the ceremony to get to know each other much better. I’ve talked and walked and swam and dined with many of their aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins and family friends. I joined her parents at their own 33rd wedding anniversary dinner last night. And I spent the other day travelling to Tulum with Alison, Braden and their cousins and siblings (yeah, I got to be in the “young people’s” van!).

What a wonderful thing to have this time to spend together BEFORE the ceremony. When we celebrate their wedding on Monday we will be a more connected community. Our support and the honoring of their vows and promises to each other will be that much stronger and interconnected as a group. We won’t be strangers across the room or acquaintances that smile politely and briefly at each other but otherwise talk only amongst ourselves. We are like handfuls of thatches, or grasses, that are layered and woven together to form a protective canopy.

Our celebration of their marriage will be richer, and our community of support to this couple will be stronger because of this experience.