This “real wedding” story is not one of grand gestures or a million tiny details, of old traditions or new. It is a simple, personal account of the first wedding ever to be held at Rasberry Greene, by our writer – Bethany Byrd. Thank you to Brooke Davis Photography for the use of their beautiful wedding photos.
“When I sat down to write this – the story of my wedding and the decisions we made, it all felt a bit overwhelming.
You see, my life used to revolve around weddings. Working as a wedding photographer in Mississippi for over 10 years, capturing the moments and details, the stories of relationships and families, I found myself completely immersed in all things “wedding”.
But, about 3 years ago, I felt my heart beginning to change. I felt that something was amiss, that the things we all were focusing on were distracting us from what is really important – the meaning behind it all.
When I met my husband, Austin, we were so focused on our story, on appreciating moments and finding adventures, that the idea of what our future wedding would look like was the furthest thing from our minds.
When we started to talk about getting married, it felt easy, and peaceful. We both knew we wanted our wedding to feel the same; to represent our story, but not to define it; to honor our commitment to a life-long companionship, not the things that our culture tells us are important. We wanted our families to feel a part of something sacred, and our vows to be more than a tiny moment swallowed up by a thousand others.
We wanted to speak our vows in a place that held meaning to us, that had a story of its own to add to ours.
I adore stories. Every day I help folks tell theirs to people like you. I help them find the meaning behind ideas, the pieces of a larger puzzle, and I put them down into words.
When I met Lauren and Donnie Zumwalt, the owners of Rasberry Greene, it somehow felt as if their story had become my own. As they told me, piece by piece, about their family, the events that have inspired them, and their dreams for this beautiful place – I felt an incredible connection to these people who feel as I do – that life is about finding meaning in simple moments and about honoring relationships, family and history.
The first time I set foot on the little farm just outside of Soso, I was in awe. I’ve been an outdoors girl all my life – camping with my family, growing up in the woods – but there was something deeper here. Maybe it was the way the light fell through the trees in an ethereal glow, or the grassy path winding up the hill, or the lake surrounded by young pines – whatever it was, I began to feel as if this place was a chapter waiting to be written into our story.
On Sunday, October 12 we got dressed quietly at home, met up with our families and drove out to “the farm”. We found a simple spot among the trees, and, looking out over the sparkling lake, we quietly spoke our promises to each other. Our guests – my parents and sister (with my sweet niece in tow), my two little girls and his mother and brother, stood quietly by.
During the ceremony my littlest girl, Eden, picked a flower for me to hold as Austin spoke promises to the other two girls in his life, and we were absolutely enveloped in peace.
When it was over, vows spoken and promises made, we walked around the property with our amazing photographer, Brooke Davis, to capture the incredible beauty of this place that is now such an important part of our story.
Since that day, I’ve been telling you the story of Rasberry Greene. We’ve talked about the little town, and the man that inspired a name, and the events that led to the opening of a Wedding and Event Venue right here in Soso, MS. What I haven’t told you, what I can’t tell you, is even more powerful than all of this.
One day, perhaps, you’ll experience it for yourself when you find overwhelming peace and meaning, as we did, in speaking your vows beneath the trees.”