Helping Hands - The Benefits of Having Friends Pitch In

When Justin and his wife Autumn got married last year at Camp Becket, they asked all of their guests to pitch in and help out: "Like many people, we made sure our wedding was definitely a group effort. I think we had 50 different volunteer job descriptions and we asked everyone to take a job--but we did it so everyone took only one job, and no one (almost) had to work all weekend. We left it up to our family and friends to just work together to make stuff happen in the end - we left decisions up to them, etc. We were so lucky--they were incredible!"

Autumn's mother and sister made a broom out of biodegradable straw and ribbons that Justin and Autumn jumped over to complete the ceremony (an African-American wedding tradition dating back to slavery). On the day of the wedding friends and family members constructed the chuppah out of wood and vines from the camp forest... and placed seasonal flowers in reusable fish bowls.

For the music, Justin's brother Marc put together a choir of friends and family, "We just asked for volunteers at brunch before the wedding, and he worked with them for an hour. 50 or so of our friends and relatives actually sang during the ceremony--a beautiful gospel song called 'let your light shine' and it was really incredible. (helps if you have friends and relatives who can sing)." Autumn's family, talented New Orleans jazz and folk musicians David and Roselyn and Arlee Leonard also sang at the wedding.

Instead of getting a cake, Justin and Autumn asked each guest to bring a pie for a potluck pie-off. "It was INSANELY good. way better than a cake would have been -- and something for everyone."

The benefits of having everyone help? "Not only did it free us up to focus on the moment, but everyone afterwards talked about how meaningful it was to have been part of making it happen. I think everyone felt like they owned a piece of this beautiful event. There were no spectators, only participants."

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