Return to Mayberry

This month we’ve been discussing how often truth is stranger than fiction.  This week, I’m sharing unbelievable yet true stories of weddings I’ve photographed.

My sister Michelle and I were photographing a wedding once for the daughter of a pastor.  It was in a tiny town which was quite comparable to Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.  However, when we got to the address that was on the contract, there was a small church administrative office with a postage stamp sized yard.  We knew that couldn’t be the place, and that the mom (who filled out the contract) must’ve accidentally put her church’s administrative mailing address rather than the actual wedding location.

Of course, we tried to use our cellphones to call the bride and get a correct address, but being such a small town, there was no reception.  So we drove around until we found the local police station.  However when we went to go inside and ask for directions, the door was locked, and there was a sign on the door that said “Closed Today For Wedding.”  (Yes, really!)

We drove around aimlessly a bit looking for the church.  (Luckily, we left in time to get there very early in case of bad traffic.)  When we still couldn’t find it, we went to a convenience store to ask for directions.  The cashier said, “Oh, y’all must be going to Brittany’s wedding.”  (And of course, we were.)  So she pointed us in the right direction.

We found the church, then since we had an extra couple of hours to kill, we went to a diner.  The waitress apparently overheard us talking about the wedding and said, “Oh, are y’all going to be at Brittany’s wedding?”  We chuckled.

When we got to the wedding, outside the church was the largest tent I’ve ever seen!  It was about the size of a city block!  When the pastor told us that everyone in town knew her and would be there, she wasn’t kidding.

We got out of the car and walked over to the outdoor reception area to check on everything, and that’s when we noticed that there was a baseball bat propped against each of the seventy-five tables.  We assumed they were planning a massive softball game or something of the sort, so we were shocked when someone came to tell us that the bats were in fact to use after it got dark when the wild boars came out of the woods!  (Yes, really!)

Well, when we finally got to photograph the groom and his groomsmen, we were surprised when the (one and only) sheriff was actually the best man!  No wonder the police station was closed.  And then when we photographed the bride and bridesmaids, two of the girls were none other than the clerk from the convenience store and the diner waitress!

The wedding was beautiful, and I have no doubt that indeed the entire town actually did show up at the ceremony.  Furthermore, yes, more than a dozen wild boars did come out of the woods that night when they smelled the food, but we were relieved that the boys that chased them away didn’t actually strike them with bats.

So tell me, have you ever been in a town so small that everyone literally knows everyone?  Have you ever encountered wild boars at a wedding reception?

 (NONE of the photos below are from the wedding described above.  However, I was the photographer for each of these shots.)blog2 (1)

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49 thoughts on “Return to Mayberry

  1. My grandparents live in a pretty small town. If we go grocery shopping with my aunt or my cousin, the check out people always say hi to us, and we almost always run into someone they know.

  2. This is a great story, Rachel. Lucky Brittany and groom! If you are going to come from a small town, it might as well be a small town like this, where everybody comes together to celebrate a town milestone.

    The photos you added are all quite nice, too, my friend.

    No, I’ve never encountered a wild boar, at a wedding reception or otherwise.

    One of my best friends in life comes from a very small town in way upstate New York. Not Mayberry small, but comforting small. In college, when I went to his hometown to visit several times, and then when his friends came down to where we both lived at the time in Maryland for his wedding, I admired the tight-knit friendship that seemed to include everybody.

    • It’s always admirable when I see other people that live in small towns and know everybody. Part of me envies that kind of life, but I’m afraid that if I moved somewhere so small, I still wouldn’t know most of the people and then I’d just be miserable living in such rural surroundings. Thank you! 🙂

  3. I grew up in a village so small it didn’t even have a post office; your address had to be of one of the two closest town, both about fifteen minutes away, so this really hit home for me (except the boars! That’s just wild. We have foxes and coyotes roaming a lot back home, but no boars!). It really took me back, made me a little proud to come from such a unique beginning.

    Also, that photo of the cowboy and his bride by the barn is just exquisite. I love the pops of yellow and the composition is just great. Nice work!

  4. Police Station? What’s a police station? Town I grew up in had a part time marshal, when he wasn’t marshaling, he maintained the streets. Of course, in any decent town you know everyone, note that I didn’t say you had to like them but, you knew them.

  5. Jolly good thing your sister didn’t have an afternoon kip with all that time to spare – she’d have gone sleepwalking and maybe cut the brides hair off – and for you Rachel it would have been the ‘angry mob’ yet again! Jolly good post by the way.

      • Have you ever been photographing a wedding where a massive punch-up took place in the style of a good old fashioned British wedding?

      • Okay, you might as well be speaking Chinese right now, because I have no idea what that means. Care to elaborate? What is a punch-up and what happens at old-fashioned British weddings? 🙂

      • A tradition! When ‘in drink’ at a wedding a fight always breaks out. A wedding in these parts is not a proper wedding without said punch-up.

      • Ah, I see. That’s just a typical redneck wedding here. I shot a wedding once where two of the groomsmen were twins and they got in a fight. The only way we could tell them apart was one had a black eye and the other had a bruised fist. Oh, and there was one where the bride got so shnockered that by the time the couple went to cut the cake, she LICKED IT – yes, the whole length of the cake, then passed out on the table! Ewww!

  6. Wow! That wasn’t by any chance a wedding in southern Oklahoma was it?? 😉 I love your photographs, beautifully done and definitely more whimsical than most!

  7. STill laughing here. Really enjoyable. No wild boars at weddings. But small town… yes ma’am. Less than 1000 people where we live. And I grew up where nearby town had population of12- my aunt lived there for a time. When we were buying our house in the small town we now live in, the realtor told us that there was no crime to speak of here- N”No murders…we all have the same dna- everyone is related .” Turning my head to the side, I had to wonder wouldn’t that make it easier to get away with? lol I didn’t want to scare him by asking though.

  8. i kind of like the idea of the whole town shutting down and coming to the wedding. reminds me of a small italian village wedding. there are so many funny elements to this too, the wild boars, the sheriff, and on and on. nice job on the pics too )

    • Thank you! I don’t know if it’s only because the town was so small or also maybe because her mom was the pastor of the only church and she had such an awesome personality. But not being from there, I tend to think it was because there was nothing better to do there at night. Either way, it really was a nice turnout. 🙂

  9. Ha ha ha Rachel, great story. Yes, I have lived in a small enough town that any event was town action. The smallest place I lived was also the most notorious in some ways. Most folks went into the local cafe for a coffee and you never knew who you were going to end up sitting across from. On some days, I might have found out that guy I just chatted with over said coffee was just out of prison for murder, or was someone about to commit one. Good times. I have these stories on my waiting for finishing table before I can post them. See you soon!

  10. You’re really talented at taking wedding photos–looks perfect! I haven’t been to a small town where everyone knows everyone, but I can definitely imagine how it would be like! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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