Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here's to the Happy Couple!

I took yesterday off from, well, pretty much everything. On Sunday we drove back from northern Michigan and arrived home about eight hours after we started. To folks who drive long distances for a living, I have to hand it to you. That’s some kinda tough work!

Not being one of those people who drive long distances for work, I was whipped by the time we finally arrived home. I had absolutely no interest in unpacking from the weekend or preparing for the upcoming work week. Consequently, I was a little zombie-ish yesterday and didn’t want to think. Certainly I didn’t want to try stringing words together to form any sort of cohesive message.

Today, however, I’m feeling a bit more refreshed. So let’s give stringing some words together a try and see if we can get anywhere close to cohesive.

While the drive home was a long one, it was also beautiful. We took the more scenic route and the trees in northern Michigan are just starting to turn. We were treated to some beautiful fall foliage. In another couple weeks, the colors will be breathtaking, but ask me if we’ll make another trip up north. Go on – ask me. Yeah, the answer would be a resounding “NO!” Not that I wouldn’t like to see it, I just couldn’t take the drive again so soon.

The reason we drove so far in northern Michigan was to attend my cousin’s wedding. It was an outdoor wedding, held at a friend’s farmhouse, which I thought was quite brave of the bride and groom. Not for having it at a friend’s farmhouse, but because the weather in northern Michigan in mid- to late-September can by kind of iffy. And the day dawned cold and rainy, so we all envisioned being huddled under golf umbrellas while we watched the happy couple exchange their vows.

But they had Lady Luck or Mother Nature or the Man Upstairs smiling down upon them, because it turned out to be a beautiful day with the sun sparkling on the green grass and dipping the distant fields in gold. Truly, it looked like a commercial for the perfect outdoor fall wedding. Except perhaps for the hysterically crying flower girl who apparently didn’t enjoy her role in the proceedings. I imagine the director would have called “Cut!” and they would have replaced the crying child with her smiling twin.

But it wasn’t a commercial – it was real life. And despite the crying flower girl, it was a beautiful ceremony at the top of a ridge overlooking rolling fields and trees. The bride and groom wrote their own vows, which were by turns heartfelt and touching and humorous. I saw many a guest dabbing at damp eyes with tissues or – if they were fancy enough or well-prepared – actual lace hankies.

I’m always amazed when a bridal couple elects to write and recite their own vows. Mostly because I don’t think I could get through it. I figured I’d either stumble over the words or get too choked up to continue. Yep, just let me repeat after someone and I’m good. So I have to give them major props for pulling it off so well.

The reception was a blast, too. As the wine and beer and cider flowed, guests sat under a big white tent and were treated to a delicious dinner of salmon and country ribs with lots of great sides. Toasts were given – lots of toasts were given – and everyone celebrated the happy couple.

They had a great idea for a “photo booth,” which was simply a wrought iron bed set outside the barn. Later in the evening, guests had their photos taken in all sorts of spontaneous poses on and around the bed. I’m sure the bride and groom are looking forward to seeing how these turned out. Hopefully no guests will be too horrified by their antics!

Weddings are such great events – not only to share in one of the most special days a couple can have, but also to renew relationships with family and friends. Plus, they are a good excuse to let loose and, as my 7-year-old niece says, “dance up a storm”! Which we did. Either because we’d drunk enough liquid courage – or because we were cold and were trying to warm up! No matter the reason, a great time was had by all.

So to the happy couple, I extend my love and heartfelt congratulations. May you live a long and happy life together.

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