Wedding day. Alarm set for 9 am. I spend a half-hour before waking up and thinking I should go back to sleep and take my rest while it's there. Everyone in the house was woken by something or other before 9 and halfheartedly tried going back to sleep. We had figured to get to the English Inn around 10:30, but it's longer getting everyone prepped, probably because I need about two hours in the shower to wake up. bunny_hugger goes out to get flowers and fuel her car while we prepare. She finds the florist we dealt with does have the use of both arms, although he strongly favors one.
We set out, and almost immediately take a wrong turn, but it's one we can recover from. We turn back around and get to the hotel just after 11:00. My parents cleared out from their room so we could use it to dress, and we're ready in a few minutes. We have boutonnieres, fixed to me, to bunny_hugger's friend who's the matron of honor, and look for my brother, who's my best man I guess. We can't find him. We also haven't found bunny_hugger's brother. It's getting nearer noon. We start taking pictures, and everyone talks about how great bunny_hugger looks, correctly.
There's rustling. People are arriving. My brothers and their wives and children are here. We can get my brother his boutonniere and fix mine that's drooping over. I hope to reintroduce my aunts and uncles to bunny_hugger since there's a slew of them and she's only met one of them more than once before, but we're nowhere near that organized. More pictures. Anxiety. skylerbunny starts announcing what he'll do if bunny_hugger's brother doesn't show up, besides strangling him. The brother shows up.
We lead him down to the ceremony area, and he finds a chair and starts tuning. This attracts a crowd. Aunts carefully make their way down the hill. We set skylerbunny, our officiant, where he belongs, and my brother and our friend to be in place. We scoot back up the hill while her brother finishes tuning up, so he can play us back down the hill. We watch for the signal. skylerbunny comes up to tell us it'll be a little longer, as her brother wants to do another song while he's feeling warm. We can hear my Rhode Island uncle's voice, perfectly clear, from perhaps 75 feet away and behind him.
We get the signal.
bunny_hugger's brother composed a song for our wedding. He performed it, for the first time, as we were walking down. We were excited. We were thrilled. I was trying to commit the song to memory, but in the flood of stimulus I couldn't say. She guided me around a wooden platform I thought I'd step onto, so that we could go around the sidewalk instead. As the song continued it touched on points of bunny_hugger's life. She teared up. I nearly teared up. I held her.
We begin. skylerbunny has the ceremony as we scripted it. I thought he'd leave the script on this small table where we'd be able to discreetly peek at it; he thought to hold it in his hands. We were optimistic about how many words in a row we'd be able to hold in short term memory for repeat-after-me segments. No, I was optimistic; bunny_hugger trusted me to make the line breaks where I chose, and she got her lines perfectly. I needed a tiny bit of prompting, although my memory of the kinds of things which would sound natural to me helped me through. We did compose our own vows, but they were proper vows, of what we wish to do, rather than the apologias describing the history of our relationship that makes ``the bride and groom have written their own vows'' so often a portent of doom, especially in online ceremonies.
We made signing the marriage license --- three copies, one for ourselves --- part of the ceremony, so everyone could see us actually legally married and witnessed as such. The table provided was patio furniture, with a kind of mesh of metal rather than a solid surface. So we used as writing surface the hardcover Popeye: The First Fifty Years, by Bud Sagendorf, a book of special meaning to us. It had been a book each of us had loved in our youth, and when bunny_hugger mentioned --- in the late 90's --- that she'd loved her copy until it fell apart, I took the copy I had found in a book store, and wrapped it up and mailed it to her as an anniversary present. I wrapped it twice, with a note on the outside that it could be a late birthday or an early anniversary present, since I was mailing it --- I thought --- about equally between her birthday and her wedding anniversary. Within the first layer of wrapping, I included a card saying, happy early anniversary; and she did indeed choose to unwrap it right away, and take it as an early anniversary present. I hadn't seen a copy of that book in used book stores since then; but, then, I don't need to now.
As we came to the conclusion a couple canoe-paddlers made their way up the river, in the background, utterly perfect timing.
Cocktails. We had thought we'd open gifts then. There'd have been no time. We walk around the tables, telling everyone how glad we are to be here, and they how happy they are we're here. I get a Bacardi and Coke; it's more successful than the martini but still a little bitter. I set it down to get photographed and never see it again. Amongst all the permutations and groups and all we run out of time, and move on to dinner.
Dinner. It's a pleasant one. My Vegan brother had broken his collar bone a week before, so he's easy to point out when the servers ask who gets the vegan salad (no goat cheese on the crouton); it's the guy in a sling and the woman to his side. For everyone else it's a delicious salad, and stuffed peppers. My other brother, who'd held my ring and signed the ceremony, gives the toast. It's a sweet piece, praising among other things how my life swirls with strange anecdote and adventure. His notes are on his iPhone. He promises to make them available for download.
People ask about the cake topper, why the coati and rabbit. Actually more what's the coati, since I don't talk that much about that side of my life to my family. We explain it as a manner of totem animal, and that it's kind of the central American raccoon. bunny_hugger made a beautiful figure, and painted it white and silver, and it's gorgeous. She's a talented rabbit. The cake is delicious, white with vanilla frosting. bunny_hugger's father watches anxiously to see if there are any spare slices. There is, and he grabs one. This gives my Rhode Island uncle permission to take a second slice himself, and to thank my father-in-law for establishing precedent. I learn later how my Rhode Island uncle and aunt got out here; it's an adventure. They deserve the extra cake.
We end almost on the dot, at 4 pm, people breaking up naturally. I see some of bunny_hugger's grad school friends; I'd met before but somehow didn't see them until well into the reception, and barely get to say hi before we must say bye. We gather things. skylerbunny and friend and friend go off on their own, giving us the car ride to ourselves, and we fear they'll be left waiting on the porch all evening for us. They go to Meijer's instead and buy supplies.
Afterward, bunny_hugger's parents visit also, chatting some, and seeing our friends in. They're there to take bunny_hugger's rabbit with them for care for several weeks. The home seems quiet without him. We talk some, as a group, and start opening presents. My Rhode Island aunt and uncle gave us a figurine so exquisite it seems more fitting for other people, ones not so clumsy as me. It's intimidating. skylerbunny gives a sake set with our characters drawn on it, adorable and beautiful and making bunny_hugger wonder how she'll get me to drink sake. I give to her a few records and the map of Great Adventure I got when I was a high school freshman; it was almost certainly on the class field trip there. bunny_hugger gives something beyond my imagination, a pair of ears and a coati tail for partial fursuiting. I'm speechless. I wear the ears the rest of the night.
We get pizza, to edge off hunger. I hover in the background as it's delivered, wearing my new ears and not realizing until after the pizza guy's left. He's seen stranger. We start to lose energy, and go online, cozying comfortably on spindizzy_muck and other places while people ask why we're not honeymooning. In our way, we are.
Trivia: On 4 July 1900 Britain's Admiralty agreed to have the Marconi company supply and install wireless sets for 26 ships and six shore stations at a cost of £3,200 per installation (about $350,000), with an additional annual royalty. Source: Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.
Currently Reading: Benchley --- Or Else!, Robert Benchley.