Saturday, Sept. 25
• 5:45 p.m. - Photos are taken. We smile so much our cheeks hurt. I see a snapshot that a relative took at the same time as the photographer shot his, and I look...short. Just really short. G. is six-foot-four and his bride is five-eleven. At only five-seven, I think of myself as being tallish, but I look as though I'm standing in a hole. Meanwhile, I look around and notice that G.'s grandmother (my step-grandmother) is wearing the most spectacular outfit in the room. It's a crisp, airy, iridescent pink organza number that wouldn't be out of place at the Oscars. I hope I still have that much style when I'm in my eighties!
• 7:00 p.m. - In two shifts, the bridal party piles into a real, honest-to-goodness black stretch limo and is transported half a block to the hotel reception hall.
• 7:15 p.m. - G. is a little stressed out because the band isn't here. They were supposed to show up at 5:00 or so to set up, but they're nowhere to be seen. The attendees are all milling around in the reception hall and getting drinks from the bar, but there is an odd silence. Shrugging, G. turns his attention to the matter at hand--our grand entrance into the room. He collars his friend Phil, who has had a few drinks, and surprises him with a microphone and a sheet of paper. Phil is on MC duty.
• 7:20 p.m. - The bridal party mills aimlessly around in the entranceway because none of us has any idea how we're going to be asked to proceed into the room. Especially puzzling is the fact that there are five groomsmen but only four bridesmaids. As Phil starts introducing couples, we find we're all lined up backwards and have to do some elbowing and fumbling to get re-organized. Then Phil announces me and I suddenly discover I am to proceed into the room with a man on each arm--and G. has gone out of his way to pick his two best-looking friends to escort me. I laugh to myself: This must be what it's like to be escorted onto the stage of The Graham Norton Effect. The similarity hasn't escaped my Northern-Irish cousin-in-law's notice, either. He takes me aside and says, "Now all you need is a really flaming Irishman to ask you a lot of embarrassing questions."
• 7:45 p.m. - The band shows up, loads in, and starts playing loudly and inappropriately just as the women in K.'s family are performing a beautiful traditional Slovak ceremony of replacing her bridal veil with a white flower.
• 8:00 p.m. till very late - From here on, it's what you'd expect: great food, lots of hugs, a cake-cutting with the obligatory stuffing of cake in each other's mouths, a drunken bridesmaid (not me!), slightly embarrassing parental dancing, and happy fatigue. G. and K. eventually wave and exit because they have an early flight to Mexico in the morning. Real joy and still more hugs.
Sunday, Sept. 26
• 11:15 a.m. - Mom and stepdad take me and the s.o. to an outrageously expensive but decadent brunch at Pickwick & Frolic. Among the items before me are a slice of prime rib and a bowl of Bananas Foster. Wow. We stagger out in a food coma.
• 1:00 p.m. - On our way out of town to visit my grandparents, the s.o. and I go to Jacobs Field and watch the Twins beat the Indians. It's the last home game of the season, yet the crowd is unfailingly polite--nothing like those rowdy Georgians!
And that's the weekend that was...