Monday, February 22, 2010

Sara and Birama Got Married in October at The Spruce Pine Lodge

Sara contacted me by email in January of 2009 from her Peace Corps post in Mali where she would be finishing up her assignment in just a few months. She'd be coming home in the summer and wanted to be married in North Carolina in October at Spruce Pine Lodge. Owned by the City of Durham, on Lake Michi, it's a wonderful venue for a small wedding. The grounds are large and the lodge has a rustic feel yet has all the amenities. I've done many weddings there over the years. And I know that weddings happen there all the time.

I really appreciated the ability to do initial planning via email but it began to be really fun with I got to meet Sara and Baba in the month before their wedding. They'd had a wedding in Mali surrounded by family and friends there, and now they were to have a wedding surrounded by family and friends here. Sara and Birama speak most easily together in French. Birama is learning English fast but it's not an easy language even for those of us who grew up here. So our conversation was in two languages, and I got to be reminded how much and how little I remember from my High School French classes.

It turned out to be a beautiful mid-October Sunday so we got to hold the wedding outdoors on the lawn.

There was wonderful music for both the ceremony and the reception. Miguel Joseph of Yeshuana Entertainment, and William Beasely of Rockstar Entertainment both offered their talents to the occasion. And the reception was catered by the always great, Durham Catering Company.

I also got an opportunity to bone up a little on my French so that during the ceremony I could say Birama's vows in French and tell him that he was married in French. I practiced so those now awkward syllables rolled a little more easily off my tongue. I was glad to be able to have some part of the ceremony in Birama's own language. It was fun for me and I hope it made the ceremony a little more personal to him.

We also did something in their ceremony that was so much fun that I now recommend it to other couples.

After I pronounced them married and offered words of blessing upon their marriage, I asked Birama and Sara to turn around and face their guests, then I asked if any of their guests wanted to call blessings out to them in Bambara, the language of Mali.
Since Birama's brother and best friend were there, as were several Peace Corps volunteers who had served in Mali, several happy people jumped to their feet, shouted a blessing (I gathered that some were traditional Bambara blessings) and sat down, to be followed close behind by another spirited person. It was lively, heart felt, and spontaneous, and was a perfect way to begin the celebrations.

Birama is a jewelry maker. I wish you could see the unique and stunningly beautiful wedding necklace he made for Sara. You can catch just a glimpse of it behind her flowers. I wish him much good fortune in selling his creations.

And I wish them both many blessings as they begin this new adventure together!

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