It Was a Shotgun WeddingWe hardly knew the bride, but somehow we ended up at the 'important people' table at the reception. And afterwards we were sitting on the deck of the grooms parents ... who we didn't know at all.
It began on Sunday, my wife and I dropped off the kids at her sisters house to attend my friends sisters' wedding. When we arrived we found that one side of the room had many more seats than the other. We guessed that the groom must have had more invitees than the bride. After everyone had shuffled in, it looked equally balanced. You couldn't have counted more than 70 people in all. Small weddings are cool.
Following the ceremony there was a short break where everyone was escorted outside. This was so that the whole marriage 'set' could be whisked away, and transformed into "party mode". Once everyone rolled back in, drinks were served, and tables were ready for eating. My wife and I stayed outside for quite a while, and when we headed inside we found that all the tables had a few people at them all ready. This was awkward because we didn't know anyone. There was a table in the rear, with only the priest sitting at it. He was slugging down a couple of beers, and laying back. He didn't mind us pulling up a chair.
After a while, our buddy Jeremy joined us at the table. After hanging with us a bit, his dad came after him. "You are supposed to be in the reserved section", said his dad. He added "you all are just as family as everyone else here". And with that, we were moved the the best seat in the house. The "immediate family table" which is overlooked by the stars of the show, April and Jason (bride and groom). It was strange, because we were seated with the parents of both bride and groom. My wife and I knew the bride's parents. But that was about it.
We found the grooms parents were very down to earth, and appreciated us joining their table. After a short discussion between the parents we learned that neither side had a lot of family that they kept in contact with. A brother or sister, a cousin, and that was about it. The remainder of the guests were freinds, neighbors, co-workers, and the like. Everyone kept thanking us for coming, and I got the feeling it's because they wanted to fill seats and make a nice party out of the event. The company was good, the food was great, and the beers were free. Did I mention the kids were away for the night? Let the good times roll! ;-)
After the buffet line and several beers. Make that SEVERAL beers, the music played and the dance floor opened. My wife and I haven't danced together in ages so we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately the DJ didn't seem to have anything from the past 30 years. I'm not kidding either. He was all about the 1950's. Now, I like oldies as much as the next guy. But when they are playing those dance songs of the 1950's, nobody in the room knows how to "wooly bully", or "charlie brown". I think at any given time, there were about 5 people on the floor. That devides into two couples, and one drunk male or female who doesn't realize they are alone.
When they started playing a really awful love song from the eighties we realized that this was our chance to get a slow dance in so we took it. The music picked up a bit. Pretty soon the DJ had worked his way into the 1980's and beyond. Hell, near the end of the party he played some songs that were only a few months old. A couple of times while on the dance floor my knees reminded me that I am fat, and old. It was quite a work out for someone who is horribly out of shape. I need to get my ass back on the treadmill!
When the party was over we helped the family load up all the decorations, etc from the party hall. We were waiting around for our pal Jeremy to finish up so that we could go out and see a movie or something. Jeremy was invited to the grooms parents afterwards, and so were we. We went ahead and packed up a few items into my car. Which wasn't much, we were driving the Beetle. And off we headed to the grooms parents place.
This house was something! From the outside it looked pretty damned big, and it was in a pretty ritzy neighborhood. I stood in the yard and made several attempts to pass off the cake we had brought over. It was the very important bridal cake. That piece that they have to freeze for a year, and eat on their one year anniversary. So I was afraid of dropping it, or otherwise fucking it up. Eventually they told me to take it into the house and hand it off. When I got inside, I was greeted by the groom's mothers' younger sister. She was a wreck. Aparently she has had some marital problems (her husbands an ass). She had been drinking half the night, and crying the other half. So here is a tipsy ... make that drunk ... middle aged woman getting ready to take this cake from me.
Now, I know what you are expecting to hear. She ruined the cake? No. That would make a great story though. Yet, this story isn't so bad either.
She reached out, put her hands under mine, and gripped my hands which were still holding the cake. It was a bit awkward. Then she leaned forward, staring me in right in the eyes. Her makeup was beginning to run, and she was beginning to speak in "long vowels" that you only hear from really drunk people. She asks me, "that little girl outside in the burgandy dress ... is she your girlfriend?". It was very sad. Here is a woman who is so drunk, and depressed that she thought she wanted to take me home. She must have been really mad at that guy. I explained that the young lady was my wife, and she apologized, slipping away with the cake. I think someone must have gotten the cake out of her hands and got it safely into the freezer. Mission accomplished.
I headed back outside to hang out with the attractive young lady in the burgandy dress (my wife). We were commenting on how great the house looks, and it came up that they were building a pool. So before I knew it, we were all standing in the back yard of a strangers house, looking into a half finished pool. I looked around at the desk, the pool, the gigantic yard, and I thought ... these people are loaded.
A short while later we got the grand tour of the house, and it was amazing. When you see a house like this, you can't help but wonder "what do these people do for a living?". The owners (the grooms parents) were suprisingly down to earth. They were probably the most down to earth wealthy couple I have ever seen. This place had a living room, that overlooked another living room. Their bedroom was about the size of the house I grew up in. And just when you think you have seen it all ... a couple of doors opened and we were told "this side of the house isn't done just yet, we just moved in a few weeks ago". There was another SIDE to this house? Good Lord! There was also of course, a full basement. And I mean FULL. Simply amazing.
So after the grand tour, we slipped back outside to hang out on their desk. It was a good night to be outside. It was just warm enough that you didn't need a sweathshirt, and the bugs were nowhere to be found. It was strange talking to people, because nobody had any idea who we were. But everyone at this party was overly friendly, and didnt seem to mind shooting the shit.
After a while, the poor drunken lady emerged from the basement. Aparently, she had been hiding down there crying and someone kicked her out to go cheer herself up. She ended up in a chair next to my wife and I and had a nice hour conversation with us. This woman was telling us all about her kids, and her days in high school. She was definitely suffering from some mid-life ... crisis. I don't want to call it a crisis, because that cheapens the whole experience. She was just having some rough times. At some point she starting talking about the grooms parents, and how they used to be broke. It's always nice to see someone so wealthy, and then learn that not too long ago, they had nothing.
It seems that this couple began making money by running a popcorn machine in their garage and then selling it. I'm not sure what came next. But all these years later, they own several restaraunts around town. And they are definitely not hurting for cash. It gives hope to the poorest of us all.
After the party started to fold, we headed to Blockbuster with our buddy Jeremy and rented a movie. It would prove to be one of the worst movies I have ever rented. Something from National Lampoon. Then we stopped at the Stake and Shake and were served one of the worst meals we have ever had. Maybe we should have gone straight home from there?
At any rate, it was a day that will stand out in my mind for the rest of my life. It was an experience. There is something about seeing a bride and groom get hitched, seeing a marriage in despair, and seeing a couple moving towards retirement and still loving each other. The good, the bad, the new, the old ... it all makes you appreciate the people you have in life.
M29 | 08.25.04 - 2:36 am | #