The Occasions Lady and A Wedding Finale
by Audrey Poff
It’s February, and love is definitely in the air again, or perhaps it’s decided to hover over our family for an extended amount of time until every child is married.
A few days before Christmas, our youngest daughter, Sophie, got engaged. She and her fiancé, Reid, have dated for more than four years, and he politely asked if he could come visit with Rodney and me in December. We have grown very fond of Reid over the years, including him on vacations and family celebrations, but there was a part of me that wanted to schedule his requested visit with us for 2025 or maybe even 2026.
I’ve never asked anyone’s parents for permission to marry their child, but I’ve seen the fear that sets in when a young man comes to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage. Reid was prepared, or at least he had convinced himself that he was prepared, but I think all of his planning went out the window when he stepped inside the door. Bless him. I got him a bottle of water and just told him to breathe for a minute before he continued.
With Sophie being the youngest of our four children and the last single child, we listened to what he had to say and then asked lots of questions. Once he could breathe again, he had no problem assuring us that he had the best intentions for our daughter.
The following week, he took Sophie to Memphis, where he proposed at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Family members were able to meet the newly engaged couple at The Peabody lobby later that afternoon to celebrate their engagement and take photos before he took her to dinner and arranged a carriage ride. While planning the proposal, Reid told me that he wanted it to be as special to her as she is to him, and he definitely put in the extra effort to make it memorable.
So, at the beginning of 2024, we find ourselves anticipating the fourth wedding in our family in four years. Eric and Sam were married in 2020, Adam and Morgan married in April of 2022, Emma and Ryan married in September of 2022, and Sophie and Reid plan to marry in August of 2024. Our garage now has so many boxes of rehearsal dinner props and wedding décor that we should probably consider starting a wedding rental business.
Recently, I read about a Jewish wedding tradition that is traditionally performed at weddings when the last child in a family is married. While our family is not Jewish, I like the idea of a tradition that celebrates the marriage of the last bird in the nest.
According to the tradition, when the bride or groom is the last child in their family to marry, there is a tradition to have a Mezinka Dance. Parents are seated in the center of the dance floor and their children dance around them sweeping the floor with customized wedding brooms. Often, a garland of flowers is placed on the mother’s head and the immediate family begins their broom dance. Others are then invited to join in the celebration.
In addition, the parents are often given brooms to finish “sweeping their children out of their home” and to celebrate that all their offspring are now settled into families of their own.
This summer, as we celebrate the marriage of our youngest child, we just might break out the brooms. We’ve got lots of celebrating and sweeping to do.
Congratulations, Sophie and Reid. We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness.