So, some celebrities got married: Blake Lively, who was in the TV show Gossip Girl, and Ryan Reynolds, who was in the Green Lantern and is one of those dudes who is stipulated to be handsome but his eyes are too close together so he just looks moronic. Like a younger…thingface. Whoever. Lively herself is an off-brand Gwyneth Paltrow so it’s suitable.
They had the wedding, which was all perfect and arranged by actual Martha Stewart with color-coördinated jordan almonds (OK I made that detail up, but almost certainly yes), at Boone Hall Plantation, outside of Charleston in South Carolina. Boone Hall almost alone of the pre-Civil War plantations has its slave quarters intact. I think this is actually awesome about Boone Hall. At all the other plantations, you go, and some nice white volunteer shows you around, and you have to just use your imagination. The main house is now surrounded by vast lawns, and live oaks and azaleas, wisteria and breath of spring, tea olive, daphne odora, gardenias, and mounds of Lady Banksia roses. Mmmm, up in Charleston that Lady Banksia will get up to one-and-a-half stories high. I’m not sure why it doesn’t grow so well in Savannah. Pretty little yellow roses on a climbing vine, heaping up on itself, all up around old fenceposts. But no hovels! No wood fires, no chickens, no foundries! No crying babies, no foremen, no one making grits, no one getting beat the hell up, no black people!
It’s not entirely inconceivable one might see some Gullah people selling sweetgrass baskets. But for whatever crazy reason, local black people haven’t just dropped everything they were doing and rushed over to all those plantations to volunteer as pretend slaves. So the house is sitting there all pretty, all by its own self, and, like I said, you have to use your imagination.
People commenting at the Gawker article said it was sort of like having your wedding at Auschwitz. I discussed this with John and he, too, felt that having your wedding with the slave quarters right there was horrifying and depressing in a way that having your wedding at one of the other plantations would not be. As if people razed Auschwitz and 100 years later you got married on a grassy hill, it’d be different. But I feel more like the plantation house all by itself is a lie, more like having the SS officer quarters preserved, and razing everything else, and then walking around on the grass, yeah this is pretty nice… The slave problem doesn’t go away if you destroy the slave quarters, you can’t erase it. But then, even I think getting married in the slave church would be a hideous bummer. (John and I have been, but more than 10 years ago.)
Full Disclosure: For a while I was planning to get married in Savannah, Georgia, either at my grandmother’s (built 1815), or in a historic building with walled garden, until plans changed and I got married at my granddad’s house up north. That house in Savannah was built by slaves, just like all the other ones in the whole town. I didn’t intend to interrupt the flow of the tradish Episcopalian ceremony to acknowledge this in any way. My back-up plan was the Oglethorpe Club. Ow, racism just happened! Luckily we got married in East Hampton, NY, where no one is racially prejudiced or anti-semitic or for Christ’s sake tells jokes about Polish people who the hell is racist against Polish people anymore? Is it 1912?
I wasn’t able to find the version I wanted, which was recorded in the dread Angola Prison in Louisiana, but this is still great: “See How They Done My Lord.”