Last weekend my sister got married. Everything about the event itself was lovely, and I know my sister and parents really were touched by the whole thing. But in my usual fashion, this post is going to be all about me and my feelings.
No really, because it was her weekend, I didn’t get any time alone with my sister. She was surrounded by friends and family, and while I didn’t say so much as two words about how she felt, I could tell she really does love this guy and that the wedding was surpassingly good.
Here’s what happened.
Wednesday: I flew out of Eugene. When I got to the airport there was no one at the baggage check so I stood at the desk. A queue formed at the desk next to me. And evidently because I wasn’t stood in front of the queue, the staff that turned up assumed I had just cut all these people and I had to go to the back. I was rightfully pissed, but luckily I had 3 flights where I didn’t have to share an arm rest. It was a long day: approximately 14 hours in airports/ in flight. In Dallas, the President gave his address on Syria. I arrived in Huntsville, and went to bed.
Thursday: Nothing to do but get a haircut and prepare my parts for the wedding. My hair has not been this short since elementary school, the sides and back I mean. It looks quite good.
Friday: Drove to Lebanon, TN with my folks. We met my father’s brother, his partner, and my father’s sister at their hotel. It’s been over 7 years since I’ve seen them. It’s an awkward family, and we went out for lunch at O’Charley’s, which is not the best. Afterwards my mother popped out to get a mani/pedi with my sister somewhere, leaving me and my father stranded with these folks. After eating, we wandered back to the hotel, but for some reason we just stopped at the hotels front door. Just sort of in the way at the edge of the car port, and not off to the sides where the chairs were. I was utterly confused, and tried to get us to sit down a few times, but they stayed standing. They’re an odd family. They grew up poor and in a somewhat abusive (or at least neglectful) household, and I think it has always divided them a bit. And since they had so much to sort out, they never really developed any adult relationships. Of the siblings, my father was the only one to break out of the working class, so they have even less in common now. But after some time they wound up on the only common ground: their childhood. So I got to hear them recollect about stealing each other’s records. How my father broke into his brother’s locker and accidentally broke one after a neighbor through a tile at it. Got to hear about the labyrinthine ex boarding house they moved into, about the mysterious back room, and what went on in the attack. Got to hear about the day the train derailed in their front yard. And got to hear vague references to “the fire.”
After 2 hours of standing in front of a hotel I wasn’t staying at, my dear friend A showed up. She was to be my date to the wedding. A good thing because I was to be put up in the house full of bridesmaids, and while I know them all fairly well, I didn’t want to insert myself into their special weekend with my sister. So A and I drove to where we were staying, it was a huge old south style manor. A stayed in the “copper room,” which was copper hued and decorated with circa 1920’s female accessories. She was quite taken with the size and number of pillows on the bed. I stayed in the “gold room,” which was mustard hued and decorated with a gentleman’s shaving kit. Originally, A and I were to share a room and bed, and I was really looking forward to it. It’s probably not a good idea for me to be sharing a bed with a female friend, so it’s good it didn’t work out. The house was gorgeous, and everywhere you looked were little idiosyncrasies, every room was a completely different layout and design. And once all the bridesmaids turned up, the house was completely full and the place had this wonderfully vibrant feeling. It reminded me of the victorian pastoral novel, where huge parties of people lived under one roof in the country. Chance encounters in the hall at night, catching distant glances through open doors, and overhearing stray conversations through the floorboards.
After unpacking, A and I toured the grounds. This place is sort of a Disney Land of country weddings. It has dozens of different facilities for getting married, having receptions, or having concerts. A and I caught up. She literally had got back from a trip in Australia, Germany, and Sweden two days prior. She’s had a bit of a rough summer, and is not in the best place. And now having to deal with the prospect of the future for the first time since graduating, it all amounted to a great deal of stress. And perhaps spending a weekend celebrating the marriage of people she doesn’t know didn’t exactly help alleviate it, but seeing me seemed to cheer her up a bit. I hope.
That evening was the rehearsal and dinner. And this is where I had the biggest responsibility. I wore a new Calvin Klein blue sharkskin suit, white shirt, yellow shoes, yellow tie, yellow pocket square, and yellow cuff links. A wore this turquoise dress and golden silk pumps. The rehearsal was brief. I was to walk the groom’s grandmother down the aisle, and then my mother. There was a bit of a scandal that his grandma wanted to have her boyfriend walk her down the aisle. He wound up sitting with her, and when he walked her down the aisle back towards the reception after the wedding I overheard her exclaiming that this was the closest they would get to walking down the aisle. And then was the dinner. Dinner was a proper southern catfish fry with collards and hushpuppies. As a vegetarian, they fed me a pile of sautéed vegetables on rice. It was not good, and evidently this is all they know how to do without meat because that’s what I got the next day as well. After dinner the groom’s father gave a brief and ernest toast: good luck etc.. Then the groom’s mother gave an interminable toast read from a sheet. It was full of mixed metaphors about the bride in a weirdly objectifying way. The groom’s mother is a bit overly affectionate with her son, and it seems my sister will have to vie for his affection. Like, she would sit on his lap and force him to hug her. Then it was my turn: host family feud. I was mortified to do it, but my sister asked so I put on a good face and got into it. I got the theme song to play, and the wedding staff evidently rented a buzzer system for us to use. It didn’t work for the format of family feud, so I tried to finagle it to work, which amounted to a lot of unnecessary noise. But people enjoy watching me bumble about, so it worked out. The teams were bridesmaids versus groomsmen. The bridesmaids were friends of my sister from OSU that I knew pretty well. The groomsmen were all frat boys from Georgia Tech (i.e. engineers). Sadly the men trounced the women, but we all had a good laugh. As a gift my sister got me bourbon, which A and I then snuck off to her room to drink. After chatting about her issues in High School, she fell asleep and I snuck off to my room.
Saturday: awoke and dressed, woke A up. Went down to breakfast: burritos. Afterward we just sort of lounged around the manor. A makeup/hair artist came to do my sister and mother’s hair/makeup. One of the bridesmaids with a particularly robust collection of makeup did everyone’s makeup (including me! I used concealer on acne for the first time, and it looked amazing). A did her own makeup, and I watched. Seriously, I stood there and watched intently. It was a tad weird, but she was doing some really intense stuff, and I was just fascinated by the level of detail necessary. Needless to say she looked amazing, and after having me advise her on her hair she asked one of the bridesmaids to do it. I was amazed how easily A got on with the bridesmaids, I know I would be mortified if I was in a house full of new people. A and I then went round to Starbucks, and with that it was time for the festivities to begin.
First was photographs. The bride/groom/bridal party had already been at it for about an hour when I started to get dressed. I wore a 3-piece tan linen suit by Calvin Klein with a blue, white florals bowtie/pocket square combo by the Hillside, my great great uncle’s pocket watch, tobacco colored cap toed brogues from Hudson, and a boater hat. I then was off to take part in family photos. They had golf carts to take us around the grounds. After getting every possible permutation of family member, it was time to collect A. She was wearing this amazing navy dress, she was gorgeous.
At the ceremony hall, the two of us ducked into the bride’s room. The wedding was vaguely Disney themed. After all, the groom proposed to my sister in Cinderella’s castle with a glass slipper after doing a Disney marathon dressed as the bird and little boy from Up. They had the mailbox from Up for letters. They had pictures of Up and of themselves in Up costumes. The guestbook was a picture of the Up house where the balloons were peoples fingerprints. My sister had custom painted Up Toms. The place decorations were pictures of my sister and her groom at the same ages at various points in life. The same pictures also appeared on candy bars strewn about the place. The cake was ice cream sandwiches from Jennis. And it was all inside a giant log cabin like building. The ceremony was outside.
Once the guest were arriving, I walked A down the aisle and returned to line up. My mother immediately lost it, and my sister told her to stop looking at her. We got everyone down the aisle. The pastor my sister chose was “the gay pastor.” Evidently there’s a box on some form that allows you to chose the race/age/gender/sexual orientation of the pastor. Anyways, the ceremony was simple enough. The vows were pretty standard, but they also had the blessing of the hands which was a nice touch. I did a reading: 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is… etc.” Then the marriage happened. The grooms microphone got stuck to my sister’s dress and everyone laughed. That about sums up their relationship.
The reception was just behind the wedding, drinks and appetizers. I got the chance to catch up with my mother’s side of the family. There’s too many of them, and they mostly seemed perturbed to have to drive this far. Then was dinner, turkey for everyone else, but sautéed vegetables for me. But an open bar, so A and I got properly smashed. I learned about the trick where you cling your glass and the newlywed’s have to kiss. So I did that about a dozen times in a row. Then came the speeches. Got to learn a bit more about the groom than anyone needed to know. My father cried during his toast, which subsequently made me and my whole family cry. Then came the first dance: they kissed a bit too much, but it was nice. Then my father danced with her, and evidently he knew he wanted this to be the song since she before she was born. Which is kind of sweet, but also weird. He sang the whole time, and my sister looked in pain. Then the groom danced with his ma, and it was a bit too frisky for a mother/son combo. Then everyone got on the floor. A and I included. She was absolutely a dream, and I was just awful. But then the dance music started and we all went wild. I think I missed a grand total of two dances. Continued to get sauced and just let loose. I never do this, and I just think it was because it was my sister’s wedding that made me get over my insecurities. Also just being really drunk. That’s really all that happened the rest of the night: dancing. Which is not interesting. At some point, the boater hat got involved in a little dance fight to see who could claim it.
At the end of the evening A wanted to continue to party, and as she was fairly drunk she thought it’d be a good idea to join the groomsmen to party back at their hotel. So she hopped in a car with one of them. Now, we don’t know these guys, and they’re probably drunk and we are driving down a country road at 10 oclock at night. We have no way to get back to the manor, but A is too drunk to realize any of this. I didn’t have time to stop her, so I went along with it. We wound up in a hotel room full of people we don’t know playing cards against humanities. It was alright, but not the party A was looking for. She got even drunker, and then I was able to get my parents to come pick us up. I should mention my mother had a beehive haircut, so she arrived in pajamas and a beehive which cracked me up. A fell asleep as soon as we got in the car. Back at the manor she stayed up long enough to eat some donuts before passing out in my bed. I tried to wake her long enough to get her to her room, but nah. So I just went to sleep. Later on she woke me up, and got her into her room. She didn’t know how to unlock the door.
Sunday: A was embarrassed for having passed out. After getting packed up, my folks headed off for Huntsville leaving me to spend some time with A. We intended to go to the outlets in town, but after getting gas A ran over a curb and got a flat. I taught her how to change it, and luckily two locals came up and watched me do it because evidently a dandy with yellow shoes doesn’t look like he can change a tire. In all fairness, I broke her car jack and had to use the one from my car. I sort of knocked her car off the jack. A rookie mistake. Anyways, the spare was on and we went to walmart. So then we spent an hour shopping at walmart rather than the outlets. It was nice though, I taught her all about the traditions me and my high school friends had for walmart: looking for the “oops rack,” scanning for jailbait, and locating the Schweppes. She was obviously enthralled. Finally, the car was fixed and we did wind up going to the outlets. We got her a navy woolen pencil skirt from Loft, and then went to Sonic. After a bit of an emotional goodbye I returned to Huntsville and met my folks/aunt/uncle at a Mexican restaurant.
Monday: flew back to Eugene. Nothing of note happened.
I have to say. It was a ton of fun, but I don’t really feel as if I had a hand in it. I know I actually did take part in it, but I didn’t have anything to add to the planning. And I never really asked my sister how she felt about it. This is a monumental weekend for her, and I don’t really feel like anything of great note happened. And I didn’t really feel any emotional connection with my family. It all got jumbled up with alcohol/excitement of the party/and having a beautiful friend to keep me company. I don’t really like the idea that a wedding should be a party because it misses a certain intimacy. I don’t know. I’ve never been close to my sister, and this weekend only served to highlight this. I wasn’t invited to be a part of the bridal party because I honestly didn’t deserve it. I’ll have to do better before a nephew/niece comes along. I definitely want to be involved with them. IDK, seeing A was nice, and I’ve promised to be her confidant while she does a little diet/exercise routine. So that sorts out the basis of our long distance friendship. It weirdly feels like home to back out in Oregon, and now I’m just trying to get ready for the busy school year that’s about to start all the while I’m trying to get to know some of the other grad students. I miss Ohio, and I miss Noel. I even miss Noel’s sister sometimes. See you all for Christmas, I suppose.
all those secrets you’ve been concealing…
say you’re happy now, once more with feeling