Written by Marly Hazen Ynigues
Putting down roots in Appalachia, my fiancé Keola Ynigues and I were eager for kith and kin to join us at our West Virginia wedding. Arriving from distant locales like our hometowns of Colorado Springs and Memphis, it would have been a first excursion to the Mountain State for some of
our guests—#Yniguests, as my maid of honor dubbed them.
With the pandemic looming, our plans to host folx for a shindig unraveled. A romantic option became the sensible one: We eloped! We went the traditional elopement route—guest-free, without a remote ceremony—with a 2020 twist—outdoors, in masks. There would be plenty of time to share photos after we had developed our memories. With that in mind, we wanted to write something original to commemorate our wedding experience.
Along with something old, new, borrowed, and blue, we carried with us an idea made possible by a family heirloom: a quilt covered in rainbow daisies given to me by my late grandmother, “Golly.” We wrote a quilt-themed unity ceremony to comfort(er) us with this memento of family ties.
This unity ritual was inspired by friends and a faithful sense of place. Our muses were the West Virginia DIY art scene as well as barn quilts of the Downtown Elkins Heritage Quilt Trail and one made by a
bridesmaid and her sister in Beverly. For us, the symbolism of the quilt was a heartfelt way to tie in family, friends, and our home in West Virginia at our wedding.
With pink daisy patchwork from my Golly draped over our shoulders, our officiant professed:
“Today we join you two and all that you are. Your lives are a patchwork of diverse interests and personal stories, friends and families, hopes and dreams. Through your marriage, you will stitch together all these parts of yourselves to create your future. Drape this quilt over each other to express the individuality of each person and the interconnectedness of you as a couple. We celebrate all the color and warmth you will bring to each other and to the world, now that you are united together.”
If the quilt theme “seams” fitting to you, feel free to use our script to express your love. Or, craft a unity motif from your own imagination. Pick something important to you, whether it’s culture or place, an art
form or shared activity, and write meaning with it as you might your vows. However you entwine your lives, we entreat you to remember your neighbors who aren’t yet vaccinated, to preserve the fabric of your community.
Marly Hazen Ynigues of Morgantown believes in the moxie of the Mountain State. She is a
former Morgantown City Council candidate and a former Elkins City Councilwoman.