This is a long story.
Lauren and I were married 3 years ago today. I proposed to her in December and 7 months later we were married. I am sure there are all types of weird, dramatic, hectic, catastrophic and funny wedding stories out there. But I laugh every time I think of our wedding and figured I would share.
When Lauren and I decided to get married we both agreed that we did not want a long engagement. We were already “living in sin” for a few years so it would be easier to plan. We also agreed that we wanted an outdoor wedding with casual dress, picnic type games and karaoke. Neither Lauren or I are big fans of Karaoke but we both knew that our families would have fun with it as well as not too many weddings let their guests be part of the entertainment.
It took us about a month to find a place we were happy with and had a decent date available. Six months is considered short notice in the wedding industry. We found an art center that had really nice land, a sculpture garden and a pavilion type facility that we could use (in case of rain) and we set the date for July 13th.
Over the next month or two we hired the caterer and the photographer and the DJ/ Karaoke guy. They all said that six months (now four) was short notice but since few people get married in the middle of July because of the heat they could accommodate us. I heard many comments from family and friends.
Comments like, “Are you nuts? An outdoor wedding in the middle of July?”
And, “You guys are going to bake in that heat.”
As well as, “Do they have at least have air conditioning?”
Due to the fact that we were not getting married in a church we needed someone to officiate. We found an ex-priest on-line to handle the ceremony. He was still licensed in the state of PA to marry people. He was busy but the date was okay and he would be there.
In an effort to keep cost down we were prepared to handle everything that we possibly could. I use the term “we” very loosely. We (Lauren) made all the decorations and centerpieces for the tables. We (Lauren) designed and made the invitations. We (Lauren) planned out the layout and use of all the space. Most of the supplies were purchased online. Lauren even bought her dress on-line. Lauren and the bridesmaids also made all of their own bouquets. Just so you know Lauren is very talented.
Fast forward to June.
Lauren and I wrote our own vows. Not individual vows (her to me and a separate one for me to her) but joint vows that we both agreed reflected our relationship and personalities as well as what we thought we should promise each other for the rest of our lives. The only catch was that the priest who was officiating our wedding wanted to approve them to make sure they were acceptable to the sacrament of marriage. I called the ex-priest so I could discuss the ceremony.
He was not able to take my call.
He was dead.
Passed on a few weeks ago.
No one told us. He did not have us penciled in his appointment book. This could have been a problem.
I called the on-line service where I originally found him and asked for a replacement. It took a day or two but someone finally called us back. Another ex-priest. He would squeeze us in. Catastrophe averted.
Fast forward again.
July 13th. I dropped Lauren off at her parents at about 8 am. I had to go to Target to purchase a Croquet set and a Horseshoes set so I could set them up in the fields around the art center. The day was perfect. Sunny. Breezy. 85 degrees. No threat of rain. I went home and relaxed (not really), showered and headed over to Bob’s (my best man) house where all the groomsmen were to meet to get ready. The groomsmen were, of course, my 7 brothers.
It is during this “get dressed” time, that traditionally, my family, the brother’s, prepare for the Toast over a game of beer pong. It has been a tradition since Dennis, the first to get married, that all the brothers would participate in the toast ( It is really a Roast of the bride and groom) Boundaries are established at “get dressed” time as to what can be said in front of the 150 some odd guests and what cannot be said. We call this “In bounds or Out of Bounds.” It is also during the “get dressed” time that final jokes are added to the toast as well as a check of any and all props that are needed for the toast are checked (Yes you read that correctly. I said PROPS). A few examples of what was done at previous weddings of the brothers.
1. Lawn Whisperer met his wife while working at UPS. So we arranged to have a UPS driver show up at the ceremony to deliver the rings.
2.Brother Kevin’s wedding was a Black and White theme, so in between the church and the reception we changed our ties and cummerbunds to red and green plaid and put red and green polka dots on our shoes.
3.Pat’s wedding we were drawing a map of all the places he got into trouble as a kid.
4.Michael’s wedding roast was a Game Show.
My brothers show up. Already boozing. They apparently met at someone else’s house to determine the “In bounds/Out of bounds” rules. I was the last of my siblings to get married, so, this was an event. I started to get a little nervous because I did not have an inkling of what the toast would consist of. Sure they would make jokes about me collecting comic books and my fascination with superheroes and cartoons. Jokes about Lauren being an artist and a black belt. Jokes about theater. But, it may have all been “Out of Bounds”.
We arrived at the art center and there were so many last minute details that had to be done. We had to set up the chairs for the ceremony. Nine guys in tuxedos working in the mid-day sun. I had to set up the picnic baskets around the fields of the art center. I had to fill them with cookies, crackers, candies, wine and Slim Jims so the guests could snack as they wandered through the gardens. I had to get the DJ the CD’s for the music he was to play for the ceremony as well as the “DO NOT PLAY THESE SONGS” list Lauren and I prepared. If someone wanted to hear the Electric Slide or Achy Breaky Heart they were going to have to sing it Karaoke style.
With all the running around, I had no time to get nervous. Before I knew it, the ceremony started. The bridesmaids all walked up the aisle toward the giant oak tree we were to be married under, to the soundtrack of the “Princess Bride”. They all looked great in their individual dresses of their choosing. I started to sweat. Then as the music changed over to Sinead O’Connor’s “In This Heart” I held my breath.
Lauren emerged from the around the corner and looked absolutely stunning. I started to cry but blamed it on sweat in my eyes as I asked for a handkerchief from Bob. My brothers started laughing at my emotional state until they all caught a glimpse of Lauren. The place was silent for the next 30 seconds as she strolled up sunlit path. Breathtaking.
There were a few readings. One was from the “Velveteen Rabbit”. We exchanged rings and vows. We kissed and were married.
After appetizers and pictures and moving all the chairs form the ceremony to the reception area, we were “introduced” at the reception. At this point each one of my brothers left the art center. I knew, after taking part in 7 other weddings that they were preparing for the toast. I just did not know what they were preparing. Following are the pictures from the toast. I have tried to cover the identities to protect the drunk and silly.
Anyway the guests had a great time. Lauren and I laughed and laughed. People played horseshoes and croquet. They ate. They Drank. They Sang. They danced.
Needless to say it was one of the funniest, best days, ever, of my life.