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Column: A season of weddings, independence and future leaders

My niece dances with her dad, at her wedding Sunday near Williamsport. - (Photo / Submitted)

Four of my nieces got married recently. That’s right, four weddings in two months.

Each one was different. Each one represented the couple’s vision of their interests and their families.

Each one was special, and at each one I cried. 

The first ceremony in mid August was more of a formal affair. The late afternoon wedding was held in a fine Italian restaurant courtyard; the reception in an upstairs romantically lit ballroom. The couple were longtime sweethearts who met in high school. Patient years of planning went into this ceremony.

The second wedding in early September represented the bride and groom’s wish to keep it casual. Lawn games entertained the masses who didn’t gather underneath the big white tent in the rural backyard. High school friends packed the large wedding party. The food represented the newlywed’s favorite (mine too) snack food: think mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and flavored coffee.

Up next was a bohemian-themed wedding in early October: Bridesmaids wore gowns of their choice, all in different shades of green. On their heads were flower crowns. Comfy, colorful chairs and couches dotted every corner of the reception area. The celebration was held on the second floor of an old former clothing factory. For wedding favors, you got a tree sapling to plant at home.

The final wedding of the season was held in a refurbished barn, its backdrop of colorful fall scenery reserved for mid October in northcentral Pennsylvania. The wedding and the reception were strikingly beautiful. Guests left the reception with individually wrapped burlap sacks of homemade Italian cookies. Yum.

As a sibling to each of the bride’s parents, it’s a personal, touching feeling – can’t-hold-the-tears-back moment – to watch your brother walk his daughter down the aisle, or watch your sister dance with her only child.

It’s fun to join family later on the dance floor and then to be reminded of that silliness the next day when your joints ache. Seemingly hundreds of family photos dot Facebook, reminding me how important it is to record these memories.

I’m grateful for these moments, knowing that for the bride and groom, they will never forget this day, which, after months of sometimes painstaking planning, unfairly whizzes by in a blur.

But mostly, I’m honored that each of the ceremonies carried the independence of my four nieces and their new spouses. Each one celebrated their own way: with class, with elegance and with kindness.

I’m a proud aunt who is more than ready to let these future women leaders, and their spouses, take over the next generation.

October issue: Women in Leadership

In this issue:

Flagger Force has grown in the past decade from a mom-and-pop operation, to a multimillion dollar company for the Mid-Atlantic region. Co-founder and president Michele Doner took an opportunity to have the company give back. She’s making a difference for the future of teenage girls in a small village in Kenya.

Starting your own business is daunting, but this Hanover mom involves the whole family in her venture. Her kids are learning along the way. Web editor Nicole Chynoweth authored this story.

Speaking up doesn’t always come easy, but the rewards in doing so can lead to strong learning curves. One tech leader shares her experience in navigating the tech world and never walking away from a meeting thinking: “Oh, I wish I had said that.” Chynoweth shares this story.

This newsletter has become a good resource for women. Check out our networking opportunities here, and let’s shine a light on some of the midstate women newsmakers here.

Keep your suggestions coming:

This is our seventh issue for our Women In Leadership monthly newsletter, and it’s still stronger than ever as a must-read for women leaders in the midstate.

I have had dozens of people reach out to me to share the stories and actions that are driving women business leadership locally.

Keep those suggestions coming. I look forward to hearing from you.

Reach out to me via email: [email protected]

Cathy Hirko
Cathy Hirko is Associate Publisher/Editorial Director for the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business. Email her at [email protected].

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