Ben & Shawna's Wedding

I just spent an hour detailing our time at Ben and Shawna’s wedding. Then I hit the backspace key while I apparently wasn’t in the text box and POOF! posting goes bye-bye. Auto-save my ass. Damn IE!

Saturday, October 7, 2006. We left Jack with Joanne and Marc and began the drive to Ben & Shawna’s wedding.

The drive: The distance was about 120 miles, give or take a few. We had to stop twice — once at the state liquor store so Max could get his Jack Daniels, once at Dunkin Donuts so we could get some caffeine. I found that Dunkin Donuts sugars your tea for you. YUM! The drive was loonnngggggggg, but gorgeous, and Max commented on how nice it was to see trees and mountains instead of buildings and billboards.

The ceremony: We arrived at the picturesque New England Catholic church just as the bridal party was assembling in the vestibule. We were told, “Bride’s side left, Groom’s side right.” Because we knew Ben first, we chose Groom’s side. We saw our friend Eric, talking to his date (more about her later), and even though we interrupted his conversation, he was genuinely excited to see us. Two seonds later, Ben and the best man appeared from somewhere behind the altar. The processional began (“You Lift Me Up”) and the various bridesmaids and groomsmen processed, followed by the oh-so-adorable flower girl. Then, “Bittersweet Melody” plays (?!?) and Shawna and her step-father appear. (Aside: Both Ben’s and Shawna’s fathers are deceased.) The ceremony was very ceremony-like. Highlights include:

  • The priest, who I later found is a friend of Ben’s from high school, said, “I have something in common with Ben and Shawna; it’s my first wedding and it’s their first wedding.”
  • One of the bridesmaids looked exactly like Shawna. I later found out she was her cousin. She was constantly arranging Shawna’s church-length train.
  • The first reading was the creation story from Genesis, specifically Genesis 2:18-24, which tells that woman was created from Adam’s rib. I prefer the creation story from Genesis 1:27, which reads “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female He created them.”
  • One of the songs was “Here I Am Lord.” It’s a common song at Catholic baptisms and funerals, so I don’t think I’ve ever heard it at a wedding. It talks of God asking for an emissary, and the singer replies, “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me.” Immediately, it made me thinks of my grandfather’s death. Being pissed off at God in a Catholic church during a wedding is disorienting. Maybe I’ll write about that some other time.

The reception: Held at the Mountain View Grand Hotel, deserving of its name. We stayed .1 miles down the road, at the Spalding Inn. I highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in Northern NH for any reason. I was part of a group that sang “Seasons of Love” during the reception, though I missed the rehearsal as we were checking into the inn. The song itself sounded great. There was also a slide show that Ben put together for the reception. I took one of the pictures he included (which he didn’t know; he just found it and said, Hey, this is good.” and there was one of our wedding and one of Max and Ben at one of our showers.

I missed most of the hors d’oeurves because I was talking to the new wife of an old acquaintance. (Aside: They were married on August 28, 2004, which was the day after we moved into our house in CA.) We were seated at a table named “Talk Radio” with them (Ed & Rebecca), a real Scottish Lord complete with kilt (Adam), and the aforementioned Eric and his date (Mary Ellen). During dinner (which everyone else loved but I thought was just so-so), Rebecca said a particularly Aaron Sorkin-like joke, and I asked if she watched “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” She said no, but Ed said they had seen the first one, had the rest on Tivo, and was it any good?. I said we liked it quite a bit, Max joined in the conversation. Then Eric, who had been conversing with max and Mary Ellen, said, “Are you all talking about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?” Yes. He nudged Mary Ellen, “Tell them.” She said, “You know (the character) Tom Jeter?” And I said, “Yeah, Nate Corddry, right?” And she said: “He’s my brother.” I made the stunningly obvious observation that she must also be Rob Corddry’s sister. Mary Ellen is the step-sister of Nate & Rob Corddry. I told her that we think Nate is funnier than Rob. She laughed and said, “I’ll have to tell him that, it’ll make his year.”

I never realized I was such a fan-girl. The idea that Nate & Rob Corddry might know what I think pleases me far more than it should. Fortunately, Mary Ellen turned out to be a very cool person in her own right, so we did not spend the rest of the evening talking about Rob, Nate, Studio 60, or The Daily Show.

I tend to find indoor receptions loud, and this was no exception. I had to leave and sit in the lounge area for awhile. There were 2 babies in attendance: the 6-week old daughter of Ben’s cousin and the 2-week old son of Ben’s brother. Jack would have been a holy terror, so it was good that we left him. However, I was going through baby withdrawal, and spent lots of time mooning over the two babies.

The end of the reception flew by. I had chances to talk to both Ben and Shawna, and I snagged a centerpiece. (I thought) I had forgotten a sweatshirt for the after reception bonfire, so I tried to secure one of those. The ones in the gift shop were $55; the onesies were $35.

Bonfire: We returned to our inn, whereupon Max was DRUNK and I was TIRED. I finally told Max that if he didn’t get up and go to the bonfire, we weren’t going. I had found my sweater and gloves. However, the gloves were soon covered in marshmallow, when I kept them on to build a Smore. I had never made Smores before. They are truly wonderful. I must find a way to make them at home. Perhaps I should ask hrvdmnky — she has a Smores maker.

I spent most the bonfire talking with Eric and Mary Ellen. I found out that Samantha Bee’s daughter’s name is Piper, because Mary Ellen’s cat’s name is Piper, after Piper on Charmed. I said, “Piper was my favorite. Well, actually, Leo was my favorite.” Mary Ellen agreed. It’s sad that we did not know each other before we moved away. I think we could have been great friends.

Before the bonfire, I had told Max that no way was I going to karaoke. However, restored from Smores and cold, I followed Mary Ellen and Eric just to see where it was. We had our own private lounge room, so I decided we should stop by. When I went back to the scene of the bonfire to get Max, I heard, “Hey, this guy has whisky.” Max was well-liked. He and about 5 other guys, 2 with guitars, were singing classic rock songs. I have pictures. Sadly, our video function doesn’t work without light, so I could not record it.

Karaoke: I was a little disappointed. The song selection was rather boring. Theater acquaintances Andrea and Amy did some great pieces, most notably “One Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” (Amy) and “Sooner or Later” (Andrea). About Amy: She was fairly rude to me, though I was trying to be nice to her. I thought that maybe it had gotten back to her that I didn’t really like her very much. Then I realized: I didn’t really like her very much because she was always rude to me. But she was nice to Max, so, whatever.

I finally made a decision to sing “Borderline.” Now, I’ve only done karaoke twice in my life. Once, in high school, I went with a friend to a Japanese-style karaoke place where you all sit in this closet with a TV and a mike and all the words are in Korean. Then, in New Hampshire, in 1999, where I chickened out and sang, “The Rose” and our friend Wim, a male not blessed with an ear for tone, sang “Fever.” Anyway, I was not impressed by the state of the karaoke I performed, though I was perfectly adequate. I stayed long enough to hear and see Max do “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Yes, he was that drunk. And no, he did not embarrass himself, me, or Ben and Shawna. Not that he would believe that…

I was tired, and went out to find Mary Ellen and Eric to ask if they would walk Max back. I ended up sitting and talking with them out on the porch for about 20 minutes, mostly about Jack’s adoption. I was really impressed by how little I talked about Jack. I did not want to be the mother who was all about being a mother.

Max got back after I had showered, and he immediately began apologizing for everything he had done since having his first drink, for drinking in general, for being a poor example to our son, for singing “Brandy” and “Bust a Move” at karaoke (I wasn’t there), and for the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. I told him if he didn’t stop apologizing, I would kick him in the crotch, so he stopped.

The next day: There was a breakfast at our inn for the whole wedding posse at 10am. I woke up at 9:45, dressed, and went out to meet the world. Breakfast was perfectly adequate, with great French toast, bad blueberry pancakes, and little teapots of tea. I had 2 1/2 of those. Shawna assured Max that everyone thought he was the life of the party, and they were all impressed that he knew and did all the words to “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” In our room, there was a sampler: “Good friends can never live close enough.” I tried to buy it, but it was a family heirloom.

It’s bittersweet, being here in New Hampshire. It’s great to see everyone, but these are people we used to see all the time. We don’t really have friends like them in California; at least not who live so close. I have Annemarie, but Max has no one within an hour’s drive. I know that was fresh in my mind as we said good-bye to Ben, Shawna, Eric, and Mary Ellen that morning.

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