10 June 2011

Wedding Blog, Pt. II - "You see that hill...that's Canada"

Congrats to Jenny and Bryan. This totally looks like a Chuppah. But apparently it's an arbor. Okay then.

Once again, in my ongoing quest to belittle everyone else’s “big day”, I intrepidly present part two of my four-part series on weddings and how they are ruining my liver and bank account. As you may already know (all four of you that read this drivel), I have unfairly compared one of the year’s four invited weddings with the camera obscura of my awesome nuptials (beef wellington, anyone?). The second wedding, one of the three in which I actually had to dress up for, will be no different. And yes, I keep the same mental tenant that we as grown-ups don’t need the trouble, but will gladly go through the trouble of getting hitched. So, without any more needful explanation, I give you Jennifer Murphy and Bryan Pena.

I think it is more the norm than the exception that most people invited to a wedding have to travel. It was the case for my folks recently departing Corpus that they had to drive in from Laredo. Some of my side drove in from as far as Columbus, Ohio (thank you, Matt) to get down with our festivities. So, me bitching about flying to beautiful and scenic Traverse City, Michigan is a non-factor. The trick was not to get hosed on the flight costs. To alleviate said financial beating, The Lovely stayed back in The D to look after our Tasmanian Devils while I report the scene.

And what a scene it was.

The spot was gorgeous. The town (can’t really call it a city) is right off Lake Michigan with golf courses, wineries and harbors peppered throughout. Everything was within a mile of base camp and there was literally no way of getting lost. So, my unwitting fear of foreign lands was quickly quelled. Too bad I couldn’t rent a Vespa for the weekend. It was aimed to be quite picturesque: ceremony on the beach, reception in the ballroom, post-party wherever you can stumble. Awesome, right? Right?

To the uninitiated, the devil is never in the general plan. The devil is in the details.

Victory cigars! Celebrating like they won something. Yay, winning!

So, Friday afternoon I touched down, sans The Lovely, with Bryan and Jenny and the wedding photog Janessa picking me up from the airport. After the free ride, I was finally afforded the pleasure of meeting Jenny’s parents Ray and Sue…while weaving around three active ironing boards. Mom-of-bride and two other ladies were ironing gentle fabrics that would be adorning the seat backs of the reception hall chairs (hot pink and blaze orange if anyone was curious of the color scheme, plus sea green). This was my first interaction with a furrowed brow.

Bah, no worries. Last minute heroics happen all the time at weddings. That’s what makes each wedding truly unique. So, of course I blew it off with par for the course.

Five o’clock hits (Eastern effing Daylight Time) and we are standing barefoot in the strip of beach outside the hotel and we are doing the walkthrough. Easy peasy. Wanna do it again just to make sure we’ve got it? Sure! We’ve got time. Run it again, no issues. Rehearsal dinner’s at seven…perfect. Go to a kickass brew pub for some din-din. Get some gifts, drink more beer, fill up on food. Good stuff.

So, the devil tapped James and me on the shoulder and gave us another pair of details…(Bill Lumbergh voice) Ummm, yeah, I’m going to need you to finish 60 wedding programs with bows and colored ribbons before you do anything else tonight, mmmkay? And while you’re at it, we are going to need help tomorrow morning building the arbor on the beach and decorating the seat and aisles for the ceremony, mmmkay? Thanks.

No, it's not the latest boy band. But if it is, I call dibs on the "angry but with a sensitive side" boy band member.

There is no room for complaining during a wedding, especially if it’s the night before…but goddamn! Really? We have to finish wedding programs and help out Bob Villa with “This Old Arbor”? It would be tantamount if I went to Scott, Michael and Matt to say: “So did you guys have plenty to eat and drink? Excellent. Okay, let’s get crackin’. The Chuppah isn’t going to build itself.”

Call me a punk, but I merely assumed that my only responsibilities were 1) make Bryan’s life easier, 2) hang out and give advice when needed and 3) run interference with the bride to prevent any pre-ceremony sightings. That’s it. Granted, they don’t make a contract for these types of things, but that was what I thought I was there for…along with moral support since there was only about eight Texans in the whole wedding party.

But there we were. Bryan, James and I were making bows out of ribbon of hot pink and blaze orange on programs while a small parade of people jumped in and out of our hotel room. Not the “last night of freedom” I was thinking for my man, Bry-Bry. We gutted it out and made one more run at the bars downtown.

The next day, there was an itinerary that was apparently created and floating somewhere around the hotel for the participants…but it never got to room 330, where the groom and two groomsmen were trying to get wrinkles out of 100% cotton. So, of course the ceremony was late. Once the boutonnieres were installed and the ladies in pink were sequenced with the men in green, the temperature climbed to 85 degrees. The men were savvy enough to remember their sunglasses but the women too easily forfeited them as a wardrobe faux pas. So much for sun protection, the men lost that battle pretty quickly.

The sand was hot, the shirts were quickly swashed with sweat, James and I thought it was a terrible idea to go commando, my eyes were melting in my shitty new contacts and, to cap it, the flower girl had a straight up, “I don’t wanna do this” meltdown of a meltdown halting the ceremony at least another two minutes.

But none of it mattered when Jenny walked down the aisle.

It still didn’t matter afterwards when James and I showed up too early to the reception, or when the guests were fed out-of-order, or if I had to shell out 60 bucks to a cash bar on hotel well Scotch (bastards!), or if I had no one to dance with, or if I felt like one of the last fighters in the Alamo, or if everyone sounded like Sarah Palin, or if the event felt like a fire drill, or if I broke James with a Busch-league move on a scavenger hunt I would lose anyway, or if I was not having fun, or the cake was dry, or if I was missing my best friend at an event that I really, really wanted her to go, or if we missed last call at “Club Skittles”.

None of it mattered when Bryan said “you fit me like a stickshift” and Jenny said “I do”.

To the happy couple, Michigan was more beautiful than I thought. I absolutely appreciate the invite. For your first wedding on a shoestring budget, this was pretty damn beautiful. I apologize for being a punk but I was not the biggest fan of being “that other guy from Texas”. Eh, that’s okay. Everyone will figure out who I am eventually. No disrespect, but my wedding was cooler. Literally, it was an indoor wedding and no one sweat thought their clothes, especially the linen pants. Just like the wedding, it takes a village. Anytime you need some advice, just let me know. Good luck to the both of you.

Wedding Blog series disclaimer - I am going to be an absolute jerk about your wedding because my wedding was the best. See paragraph one, again.

Lessons Learned, my three things.
1) I hate voting for the guy that’s about to lose. It’s like Nader all over again.
2) If no one else wants to do “Hack of the Day”, I might have to do it myself.
3) It is surreal when a Spurs fan roots for the Mavs. Now I know how Katie Couric feels. Wait, wha?

We are coming in hot with the next installment as big brother @Garner_99 has his weddin’ day. If it wasn’t bad enough that I had to deal with some crazy accents, I am going to have to do it again. Three teasers: brown tuxes, dessert reception and luchador masks. Uh oh. Talk later.


  1. Great post. You manage to walk the fine line between being a complete punk, and showing genuine appreciation for the bigger picture. Oh, and you're hilarious.

  2. brown tuxes and cowboy boots. Klassy. As for the accents, we will have a special on two slangs... texas draws and lousyana coonass mumblin'.

    Here is some fodder to key upon:
    no booze, no dancin, and no cussin