Tents, Teeth and Spies – A Wedding Story

How to describe last week? It was fun, crazy and long. We’re glad we went, we’re glad to be home.
My good friend, Jon, married his fiancee, Virginia, on Saturday, at an amazingly beautiful wedding, planned almost entirely while he was at sea, aboard a submarine, and his fiancee was hundreds of miles from home. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of work left to be done last week!
There’s so many random parts of the week that are worth recording, but I’m not sure I can pull them together in any cohesive prose, so I’ll just throw out random paragraphs and some associated media, and hope you can figure out what I’m talking about.
Virginia’s mom works in a U.S. Army Arsenal, where they decided to throw an out-door wedding. The grounds are quite historic and beautiful, but the restrictions on getting on-base made for some interesting predicaments. First of all, there was the giant tent they rented for a dinning hall. It was 60 feet long, cost them $1800 to rent, and it was delivered, the day before the wedding, by a team of Guatamalens… who were pretty quickly denied access to the base. That left the truck driver, Jon, me and his cousin — Jon’s only family member who made it to the wedding — to figure out how to set-up the giant tent. As you can see from the pictures, we got it done, and it looked great!

Jon and Brooke in the tent we built

On the day of the wedding Nicole and our local babysitter, Shannon, had Ben, Abi and Alivia (our friend’s Brooke and Jason’s daughter) at Brooke’s mom’s house where we were staying. As they were packing up the vehicles to drive to the wedding, Alivia decided to ride a plastic train down a flight of stairs, where she smashed her mouth into the ceramic tile floor. You can read more about it on Brooke’s blog. Fortunately, she lost only one baby tooth — but the ensuing worry and drama was obviously a lot for everyone to handle moments before the ceremony was to start.

Ben sharing ice with Alivia for her fat lip

Nicole had arranged a complicated plan to drive an American vehicle onto the base, and hopefully avoid any questions of her nationality (as I had somehow managed to do all weekend.) They arrived late, and were questioned at an abnormal length by the guards, who figured out that Nicole wasn’t American. We had to send the mother of the bride to escort her on-base — you know, in case my little blond mother-of-two-babies was actually there as a spy from the ominous Canadian military.

Neither of these girls was a spy (they’re both American)

Eventually everyone arrived, the weather having cleared by late morning, the sun was shining, the pastor got there (without needing to be kidnapped), the bride was radiant, the groom efficient and dapper, and the party got started.
Ben loves to dance. At even the slightest hint of rhythm, he’ll put his arms up and wiggle around to the music. He was in his glory at the reception! Although we had some trouble convincing the babysitter to dance with him, he had no issues with going solo. At one point, he fell over — which he does often — but didn’t want to stop, so he started break dancing! I don’t know who taught him those moves, but it certainly wasn’t his dad!
As I mentioned, virtually none of Jon’s family made it to the wedding. The reasons for this are varied, some more interesting than others (and more valid) so it fell to me and his cousin (who turned out to be a very decent guy) to support and encourage Jon through the wedding. Being on the groom’s side, fortunately, allowed us to avoid most of the drama the ladies seemed to cook up, and mostly we were just charged with ensuring that Jon’s carefully laid out schedules and to-do lists were executed on plan. Oh, and I managed to pull off that speech, hopefully without sounding too much like a stammering idiot. Jon deserved every word of it.
We stayed with Grandma Nancy — Brooke’s mom, and one of the sweetest ladies in New York — and her husband Tim — one of the coolest guys in New York. Their house is best described as Grand Central Station. People just sort of roll in and out, eating very well along the way. This week’s activities made it even more of a mad house. Also, I don’t believe Jessie has ever cleaned her shower. Still it’s a big, warm and loving environment, where the kids felt right at home. It was a blessing to have such a nice place to crash at the end of our long days. And Ben got to hang out with his girlfriend Alivia a lot, so he was happy.
Work was crazy, by the way. I guess my boss wanted to capitalize on my presence — either that or he’d forgotten I existed until I got there — because I found myself juggling three different issues, in a number of meetings (some superfluous, others very worthwhile.) It felt good to be back in the thick of things for awhile, and I think I’ll have to make sure that happens periodically.
At any rate, we came, we saw, we conquered. It was a great wedding, at the end of a great week. We got to see many of our friends and “adopted” family in New York, and I got to honor and support a great friend.

Definitely top secret spies. Ever seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Ya, that’s us…

It was good… but we’re not going back any time soon. Both the Wises and their vehicles are about road-tripped out, and aside from possibly taking a short hop (relatively) over to Cleveland, we intend to stay close to our new home base for the near future. A new house and a new community are a lot of work, and we want to do our best at it… plus, we’re sick of driving. All trips from now on are going to be significant enough that we have to take a plane!
All the best to Jon and Ginny! Hope you’re having a great honeymoon in Jamaica! Jon, if you’re reading this, close the MacBook, unplug the travel router, and get back to the beach!
Lots more pictures in Flickr

2 thoughts on “Tents, Teeth and Spies – A Wedding Story

  1. love it. love all of it. i told my mom there is a pic of her in her pjs and all the kids sitting on her. lol. she laughed and said she was gonna kill you. lol.
    you are just like mr and mrs smith… …. who do you think you are fooling anyway?

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