During the Wedding
Emily, all business, marched up to me and told me that we were ready to start. Outside the building confusion reigned. There was not an even number of my council members (rather than groomsmen) and bridesmaids! A quick survey of the situation revealed that Vincent was missing. As the music was starting and members of the wedding party were lining up at the door, my brother skillfully plucked Vincent out of the crowd. Rhapsody in Blue floated into the room as the wedding party began streaming in. Have you seen the eddies that form when a stream finds itself interrupted? Uncertainty over which way to go had my sister standing next to me unsure where to go. Adding to this confusion, Claire had a male bridesmaid, and I had a female council member, who were both being diverted the wrong direction. After handily scooting my sister to Claire's side of our setup, everything smoothed out just in time for that first big dynamic shift in Rhapsody in Blue, which started just as Claire entered. My breath escaped once again.
Claire's dad, Tuffy, propelled Claire toward me, a saint prodding an angel. She'd described her dress to me, and I saw every detail she'd mentioned. The red accents, the small train, the crystals, but there was so much more: the radiant glow, the soft curves, the smile that pulled every element together. As she settled into place, Jerry Perigo, our friend and officiant began the ceremony. Here I'd planned a surprise for Claire that I couldn't wait to execute. Jerry explained the importance of marriage and asked if I would treat marriage with the respect and reverence it deserved (in much more official language), and I said "um...." and began wringing my hands. I asked if I might consult my council of advisors before answering, and I stepped off the hearth.
Glancing back at Claire, I couldn't really gauge her reaction to what was going on. I continued walking away, down to the end of my council. One by one, I asked Jerry Melichar, Vincent Aricco, Amy Nicholson, Leal Anderson, and Elliott whether I should marry Claire and why I should do it. Their answers, every one, were excellent, even Vincent's, and he was unaware that he was going to be asked to do that! After taking their advice into consideration, I returned to the hearth and said that I would. I just wanted Claire to know how much my friends and family loved her. As Jerry gave the same question to Claire, she was already ready with a quip "...In the interest of time, I will." That's why I love her. We went through the vows, and Jerry asked me for Claire's ring. The ring then passed from Emily to Elliott to me in a transition that was as smooth as it possibly could be given how things were going. I gave Claire her ring and she, mine. We kissed and exited the building to The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson. That was to be the music for Claire's processional, but Jake's quick thinking made it our recessional music. The ceremony lasted all of ten minutes, just the way we'd wanted.
After the Wedding
The next couple hours were what Claire and I were concerned with, arguably, more than any other aspect of the wedding. We just wanted to throw a great party. As we were hurried outside for pictures, Bad Brad's Bar B Que was being set up indoors. Friends and family mingled while we were being posed for portraits. We alternated between being shot indoors and outdoors as winds chased us inside and sunlight invited us back out. We finished up as lunchtime neared. Despite having scheduled everything out, the casual afternoon listed onward. I saw the cake sitting in the corner, but I had no idea how we would make it to the cake. Fortunately Emily stepped in and steered the activities on. She called for the toasts, all of which were beautiful. Diana capped off the toasts with a memorable tribute that was funny and heartfelt. Emily, then brought us up to slice the cake as Rebecca Ungerman, a family friend with a voice for the ages, readied her band. After we had a couple bites of cake, Rebecca serenaded our first dance with Cole Porter's Looking At You. Following our dance, Claire danced with her dad as I danced with my mom. Shortly after, my Aunts Kathy and Dorothy roped me into dances. Claire then danced with her mom to Sugar in My Bowl before Tuffy and Claire's granny made it to the dance floor.
The afternoon was lazy and wonderful. I talked to as many of my friends as I could. I'd intended to turn on some music for a dance party. In fact, I'd been perfecting the playlist for months. Instead, Rebecca played on, and we just enjoyed the day. As the wedding wrapped, our friends and family leapt into action, quickly clearing the Keystone Community Building of tables, food, and trash. I hope everyone had as much fun as Claire and I did. Leal and I have always agreed that the key to having a good party is getting a good mix of people and making sure that they get to know each other. From what I've been hearing, I think that happened. The whole day showed me how wonderful the families Claire and I acquired naturally and the friends we'd collected over the years were. We had the best of the best for our wedding and that extended from the food to the decor to the people in attendance. Thank you, Emily, Elliott, Shalesha, Leal, Amalia, Amy, Peter, Vincent, Jerry, and Kat.
(Click here to read Part 1