Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Wedding Story

This is a long story.
July 13
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.
He died.
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.


Random and Odd said...

I love you William.

I just don't understand how you don't have a trillion comments every single day.

You are funny and you make my heart hurt with all your love for Lauren.

*dreamy sigh*

Tell Lauren I said HI

The Q said...

Wow, that is one of the BEST stories I have EVER heard about a wedding. Your pictures are FANTASTIC. Between you and me, my Brother (he's mentioned in a couple of my recent posts) would have LOVED your wedding...Darth, Chewie, oh yah!

You have what sounds like an incredible and FUN family and your wife is truly beautiful.

Lucky you!

c said...

What a fabulous wedding! And you and Lauren looked so FINE!

Susie said...

Wow - can you invite me when you renew vows because that is awesome! I love the toast pics - only wish there were audio to hear it!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary, William and Lauren! I love how much you love her, Bill.

And I LOVE your brothers. Those pictures are cracking my shit up.

Lois Lane said...

Awww! Happy anniversary you two crazy kids!
I dig the photos and the story! (poor ex-priest dude)
Lois Lane

Meegs said...

Aww, that is such a cute story. I love how crazy your family is! :-) Did Lauren really know what she was getting herself into?!

Definitely a lucky lady!

Effie said...

Happy 3rd Anniversary!! That is so wonderful--it must have been so much fun!

I agree with Kristine--you should have billions and trillions of comments every day!

LadyBug said...

Those pics of your brothers are hi-larious. TOO funny.

And yes, Lauren was simply stunning.

Happy Anniversary to you and your beautiful wife.

Steve said...

Hi, I don't know you, but great story. I got married in 6 months in PA, too!

ieatcrayonz said...

Happy Belated Anniversary, William. If the ex-priest croaked before my wedding, I think I may have had a breakdown. Well, maybe moreso because my father-in-law married us.

People should have more weddings like yours. I always thought mine was missing something, and now I know that it was the seven super heroes!

Anonymous said...

I hope Vader and Chewie didn't feel too out-of-place amongst the super friends + Capt America.

Anonymous said...

The only reason you are lucky is because he got rid of all his comic books and such. I didn't realize Lauren looked that good on her wedding day.

Unknown said...

Awwww.... you two are great! I loved your wedding story! Lauren, you looked beautiful! Super heros! Who'd a thunk?

SuzanH said...

That is the funnest wedding story ever.

Congratulations on your anniversary.

mary bishop said...

Happy Anniversary! - your bride is exquisite and your wedding day sounded like it was not only incredibly beautiful, but a ton of fun too...loved those costumes!

G-Side Pride said...

Spider Man was the best at the reception

Anonymous said...

wish i could have been there
sounds like i would have pissed my pants
and yes spiderman was the best!!!

happy anniversary!!!

Anonymous said...

What a great story. I wish I was there.

One of William's Brothers