We got all dolled up and took about 4 cars out to the all-in-one venue. The sisters started adding some touches to the reception hall while everyone gathered in the field for the rehearsal. It was quick. It was easy. Jokes were made at the groom’s expense. (This typical practice at rehearsals is somewhat deserved, stereotypically speaking, but it always gives me pause. In our culture, weddings are mostly for the brides, her dreams since childhood of her day as a princess. It’s easy to accuse the man of being disinterested, or disengaged. It may be the easy to joke to laugh about the groom forgetting his own name on the day, or being so overwhelmed he may not know where to show up, but the insinuation that his commitment is any less than hers is disappointing. That her anxiety about this step is any less than his is ludicrous.) And then we headed into the dining hall for the rehearsal dinner.
Our still severely hungover sister was all smiles at dinner, though her champagne intake at toasting time was notably absent. Hannah was getting tired of being confined, but luckily, cousin Craig came to the rescue. There were three or four rectangular tables of 8. Shelby and I sat in the aisle at opposite ends of one, so we turned out chairs and built a playpen with the backs of chairs from the table behind us forming one wall, the tablecloth of our table forming the second long wall, and each of our feet blocking either end. Hannah and Craig played on the floor together. Well, Hannah sat and banged on the floor while Craig scooted around on his belly trying to make eye contact and get Hannah to eat his shirt or something. Still, it was fun to see how their relationship might grow as closer in age cousins.
And then a devolution into one of my not finest hours as we drove all over Tennessee accumulating libations for Saturday. Grumble grumble.
And then Saturday came. We ladies went out to the site early for hairs, make-ups, finishing touches on decorations, pictures, the whole 9. Despite all the running around and the hullabaloo at the site, and the less than thrilled gentlemen who were given tasks of their own back home, Saturday felt easy. We communicated well. We worked efficiently as a team. We took time for laughing and teasing, all with a wary eye on the sky. The forecast had always included rain and we were all trying to control how much and when with the unity of our minds. It almost worked.
4:30 go time came and with it a sprinkling of fat droplets from the sky. What I remember about the ceremony is mostly this: Justin fixing Caki’s fly-aways; a collection of white chairs with varying colored umbrellas popped open; Craig rushing up to hug his mamma’s legs while Hannah was whisked off to the carport to ease her fussiness; the preacher whispering something about shortening the prayer; not one single person complaining, rolling eyes or giving one single bit about the rain. And then we followed the bride and groom out to the front of the house for group pictures while the guests enjoyed a cocktail or two at the bar in the reception hall. And the rain stopped. And a cool clear evening resulted in some of the best dancing ever seen at a wedding my parents hosted, and a beautiful lighted gazebo to retreat to when needed, and kids and adults alike flowing freely in and out of the hall, and a quite wonderful party all around. at just before 10 in the evening, we lined up outside with little plastic ramekins of birdseed ready to launch at the happy couple as they left. I think I got a good pelting in, I’d be shocked if she wasn’t fishing birdseed out of her dress in the car ride to the hotel.
And then the sky opened and all the rain that we had been begging to go away and come back another day drenched the stragglers and party cleaner-uppers. But we didn’t mind.