June 17, 2011, Irvington, VA: Irvington, Virginia is about 50 miles from Williamsburg, Virginia, fewer as the crow flies. The town (pop. 628) is situated on the tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, surrounding a body of water called Carter’s Creek. It lies near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Irvington is a unique combination of country and coast. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a slower pace. It’s the perfect place for this weekend’s wedding.
But Irvington is not my home. Nor is it my soon-to-be husband’s home. We are putting down roots there starting only now. And we’re beginning with a rehearsal dinner celebration on a vineyard without a name, amidst a transition in ownership. Fitting, I guess, that even the place where we will say our vows tomorrow is in flux, in transition, a spot on the map where the old sign has come down and the new one isn’t yet up.
It’s a funny thing about getting married. In addition to the immediate question of ‘When?’, there’s one another question that crops up again and again throughout an engagement, (and presumably in our case, throughout this entire wedding weekend.) It’s not a question of who (obvious by now) or how or why, but a question of where. ‘Where will the wedding be?’ Quickly followed by: ‘Is your family from there?’ ‘Is Matt’s family from there?’ ‘Then why there?’
There is an assumption that as people rooted in community and family, we go home to get married. Or at the very least, we have a deep past connection to that place. Again, not the case.
Here is the answer our ‘Why there?‘: It was on our long list of places to explore, thanks to a few friends who had roots nearby and had recently traveled here for a wedding. Now in our early 30s, we weren’t married to the idea of having the celebration at our parents’ place. We wanted to be married in the region of DC/Maryland/Virginia, the area of the country where we’d met nearly seven years ago. Still, no one place was the obvious choice; we routinely cast a wide net around the DC/Maryland/Virginia region, visiting vineyards, biking city streets we’ve never taken, paddling the Potomac, taking a hike. We’re curious about what the neighborhoods beyond our neighborhood on Capitol Hill have to offer. And when we descended upon Irvington, we quickly realized it offered a lot. Irvington felt like vacation, and it would be to each and every one of our guests. And yet it was close and comfortable enough to feel just like home. To travelers like us, in some ways it already was.
And so we will be married this weekend in the tiny town of Irvington, Virginia, with a ceremony at vineyard (formerly known as White Fences, soon to be known as The Dog and The Oyster) and a reception at the Hope and Glory Inn. I love the names of those places. I love how the words look on the invitation.