Inside the Duggar Wedding
Sometimes life takes us in the most unlikely of places, places where you are sitting with your family wondering, “How did this happen?” That was the thought running laps in my mind in June as I sat in the back row of a church in Springdale, Arkansas, batting away a toy cell phone from my son, as we watched Jim Bob Duggar walk his daughter, Jill, down the aisle to marry Derick Dillard.
Since the Duggar family uses AOP's curriculum, they were gracious enough to invite someone from the company to attend the wedding, and I was picked. It was all very exciting. I wanted to take pictures to show everyone back home, but there was a very strict “No Photography/No Social Media” rule, which is why I panicked when my son brought out his toy phone to pretend to take pictures. I was not about to be escorted out of the Duggar wedding on account of a toy cell phone and a fidgety 8-year-old boy.
The wedding was beautiful, as weddings usually are. From the lighted backdrop to the intimate music, every detail was planned exquisitely. But we couldn’t help but notice several nuances about the Duggar wedding that made it extra special.
For starters, despite the fact that there were over a thousand people in attendance, the wedding didn’t seem influenced by the publicity at all. Jim Bob was at the entrance greeting people as we walked in with a microphone looming over his head. We missed the chance to shake his hand because he was busy talking to another guest, but my daughter is convinced she got on camera (little girl, bright yellow dress, wide eyes, and a smile from ear to ear). The camera crew worked its way around the family as if they were an extension of it.
I expected more show. More lights, camera, and action. Instead, I was privileged to see a glimpse of what makes the Duggar family so special. The family was all around, shaking hands, talking with friends, and welcoming guests. It was obvious the kids felt completely at home in this church, bouncing in and out of rooms, roaming the hallways, and switching seats to get hugs from familiar church members. There was a freedom in their spirits and that rare kind of security you can see in a person from the first time you meet them.
Jim Bob’s emotions were evident as he walked his first daughter down the aisle. I watched a video of Jim Bob being interviewed prior to the wedding, saying how he’d watched her pack up her belongings and reminisced about her growing up. I imagine he was recalling those childhood memories with every step, eventually giving her hand to Derick and backing away to take his seat next to Michelle.
I loved the wedding and, of course, felt privileged to be invited, but more than anything, I loved seeing how a Christ-centered home can flourish with love and affection, even when that family is being followed around by a 10-person camera crew.