The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Old Fashion Wedding Customs

By Monroe Tipton © 1984

Issue: December, 1984

I want to talk about the way people used to do back when I was around 6 or 7 years old.

When people got married back then, very few went away on what is called their honeymoon. Then, the newly married couple would move in with their parents for awhile. But, on the wedding night, that's when the people of the community would get together and serenade them. That also meant the man got rode around the house on a fence rail and the woman in a big washing tub.

Now if the newly married couple and their parents were good to the people that was doing the serenading, they usually would not stay long. But, if they weren't, the crowd would tote off the wash pot, stop up the chimney and tear things up in general.

Now I can remember when I was 7 years old my uncle, Corbett Tipton got married. Along about dusk dark, I never before heard such a racket coming down the road. Some were beating on tin pans, hollering, some playing music on a banjo and violin.

I ran in the house and asked my grandmother what that awful racket meant. She told me that a bunch were coming to serenade Corbett. Well, I tell you, what a crowd of people I saw coming through the gate out at the road. It almost scared me to death. The only place I had to hide was in the little closet under the stair steps. I ran and slid right in it and pulled the door shut. As luck would have it, some old drunk sat right down against the door and I couldn't get the door back open. I thought I would burn up in the closet and nearly smothered to death.

Anyway, they started playing music and dancing. It seemed to me like the whole floor was jumping up and down. About 1:00 I heard some trying to wake the one against the closet door. They called him Clem. I never did know who "Clem" was. I told Corbett I hoped he would never get married again to have to go through this again.

Now I will talk about another time that a young couple got married back then when I guess I was about 17 years old.

Junior Bolt, Murphy Turman, Leonard Mabery and myself kept hunting until we found a three cornered fence rail. We found it the other side of Hen Hull's place. It seemed like we carried that rail for five miles. When we got there, the whole yard was full of rails, but the three cornered one was the one we liked the best.

We went in and asked where the newly married couple was. No one knew. Well, we started looking. We looked in outside buildings and all around. We were about to give up finding them when we were coming back through the house. One room was empty except for a big old time wood cook stove sitting in the corner. I happened to peep behind it and there they were. They saw me and started to run, but Murphy Turman was standing there and caught them. Since we had such a time finding them, we took them a few extra rounds around the house.

But you know, people don't have good times like we used to. People didn't do any harm to anyone, it was all in fun. Some of us old timers were out at Avis Collier's Store not long ago and were talking that we hadn't been to a Serenading Party for about 40 years or better. But those were good old days. They may be gone, but one thing for sure, they are not forgotten.