The best wedding I never attended


On August 1, 2015, Beth Ann married Ty and nobody came to the wedding.
Let me explain.
Weddings, as you surely know, are a big deal down here in Dixie.  Southern brides start planning theirs from the time they are flower girls, and when their wedding rolls around they have a closet full of bride’s maid dresses in colors never seen in nature and in styles they would never be caught dead in except on “that day.”
All in preparation for “their moment.”
I was privy to the planning of one wedding where discussions focused on the length of the bride’s maids’ dresses – same distance from the floor or same distance below the knee. (Think about it. Unless the bride’s maids are the same height you got a problem. You never thought about it?  Me neither. But the bride-to-be did.)
And the bride must be the center of attention – which is why bride’s maids have ugly dresses, but not so ugly that they would be the center of attention instead of the bride.
What role does the groom play?
When he ain’t even the “best man” at his own wedding you know where he is in the pecking order. He, his “best,” and the preacher sneak in while everyone is watching the center of attention come down the aisle.
Then somebody sings something to drag the whole thing out a little longer.
(When my son was little I considered pinching him at weddings so he would cry. I would volunteer to take him out and we would be free.  Then I feared he would tear up whenever he heard the Wedding March, and make a mess of his own nuptials, so I dropped the idea.)
Well, none of that for Beth Ann.
I have known Beth Ann since she was a toddler.  She is one of those pretty Puckett girls I wrote about a few weeks ago.  She teaches school like her Mama, hunts like her Diddy (which is what she and her equally pretty  sisters call him), they cut hay, raise cows, and ride horses.
Which is how she met Ty.
Ty is a farrier.
For the uninitiated, a farrier shoes horses (and any other animal that needs shoeing).  A farrier is not a blacksmith, though they can be, and to many folks the two are the same, and sometimes they are.
Beth Ann’s horse needed shoeing.
Ty was recommended and/or available.
The rest, as they say in my profession, is history.
August 1, 2011, they started dating.
August 1, 2014, they got engaged.
Now in between the dating and the engaging there were lots of rodeos, horse shows, cattle roundups, trips to the beach, just the normal stuff you would expect for a cowgirl and a farrier. And of course there was the constant questioning: “When you gonna get married?”
And the speculation:
“Can the County Line Baptist Church hold the crowd, ‘cause all 300 Puckettians will be there?  Even the soreheads will show.”
“Will they be married on horseback?”
“What will she wear?”
“What will her sisters wear?”
August 1, 2015, they got married.
And all the questions were answered
There would be no shortage of seats at County Line Baptist, because they weren’t married there.
The horses stayed in the stable.
And appropriate apparel was not an issue because Mama and sisters weren’t invited.  Neither was Diddy, Pop, Mamaw, cousins and friends.
No, they didn’t run off, sneak away, elope or whatever.
They simply told everyone up front that they did not want to get married in a church full of Puckettians, with Mama and sisters all frilled up and Diddy giving her away in a rented tux, with she and the groom-to-be and the families on both side shelling out bucks that could be better spent on breeding stock or a new saddle.
They said that when they were ready they would go down to the court house and get the license.  Then they would meet with Ty’s preacher friend who would marry them. The preacher’s wife would be the only witness.
And that is what they did.
And nobody got upset because it was Beth Ann, and as long as they have known her, Beth Ann could be counted on to do things efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.
This is the girl who could and did drop a deer at 300 yards.  No lie.  Her Diddy confirmed it. She can ride most any horse, drive anything with wheels, bale hay, and look good doing it.
And from all reports she is one heck of a fine teacher.
The newlyweds will live in Puckett.
Where else?
And in a while, when there is a hint of fall in the air, they will have a party.
It’s the cowgirl way.  It’s Beth Ann’s way.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at


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