Highway to Happiness: A Little Dance

Wedding Recaps

Once our DoC introduced us and we entered the Owl’s Nest, we went straight into our first dance.

Considering we’d just spent 15 minutes (give or take) with all eyes upon us as we completed the marriage rites, I can’t explain why the same pairs of eyes watching us dance felt so awkward but it did. Still, I was glad that we decided to go ahead with the first dance and share that moment together and with our guests. I still love our song, as well, and it’s just another memory to call up when I hear it on my iPod.


Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot


Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you’re far away
Little things mean a lot


Don’t have to buy me diamonds or pearls
Champagne, sables, and such
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
’cause honestly, honey, they just cost money


Give me a hand when I’ve lost the way
Give me your shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on


Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven’t forgot
That always and ever, now and forever
Little things mean a lot

And with that, we could sit down and truly relax for a bit! (After scurrying down the front steps and up the back steps to get to our seats–it was just too crowded on either side of the table to move around them and I wasn’t exactly in the mood to climb under a table, even in my less-bulky outfit.)


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Highway to Happiness: Until the Wheels Fall Off

Wedding Recaps

Having finished my rapid change, we headed back out to the porch and a few things registered:

  • The golf cart wasn’t where we’d left it
  • It was at the far end of the lane like the driver had taken it down to turn around, but it wasn’t moving
  • “I don’t think the wheels are supposed to point like that”
  • Up pulls the shuttle bus

Unfortunately, Kara didn’t get a picture of the broken down cart but it looks like a slightly less extreme version of this:

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jan Tik

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jan Tik

Turns out, the front axle snapped when he was turning the cart around–it wasn’t until the end of the reception that we saw the flatbed carting it away (they had to get a crane out to get it up onto the flatbed). Some of guests later reported that they saw the driver sprinting up the hill and wondered what it was all about.

Was this a pivotal moment in our day? No. But as unexpected things go, it’s pretty memorable and definitely makes for a good story among the guests. You can’t even blame anyone, really, all you can do is mark the moment and move on.

Image via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Image via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Which is exactly what we did!

Meanwhile, back at the Owl’s Nest, our guests were finding their seats with the aid of a quickly put together seating chart. Since my original plan to make champagne jelly as favors didn’t pan out, the cork-patterned fabric I’d planned to use on the tops of the jar instead went to wrap the backer board of a large frame. Another benefit of the short guest list is that we really didn’t need a complicated seating system: everyone could easily scan the six tables for their name and know exactly where they needed to be.


I will say I was a bit selfish when creating the seating chart. With no real head table or rules to follow, I figured Roadie would want to sit next to his mother since it’d been longer since he’d seen her (FiL Road Trip came down to visit us the previous November) and I figured what’s good for the goose is good for the gander so I sat Dr. Aunt (the only out-of-town relative on my side) next to me, and we worked the family and friend-units out from there. This worked out quite well and I don’t think anyone batted an eyelash at Mama Leadfoot being at to the corner of the cross table instead of right next to me. (Especially since she got to sit between her two sons and she and I see each other five days a week at work!)

As the last guests found their seats, the shuttle dropped us off right at the base of the stairs where we waited for our entrance cue.


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Highway to Happiness: Presto Change-o!

Wedding Recaps

After we’d hugged our last guests on their way to the Owl’s nest, we hopped in the waiting golf cart and scooted on down to our cottage to take those posed getaway pictures that we’d wanted to do earlier. All’s well that ends well, yes?

But is that the only reason we stepped away for a moment? Not hardly. I had a wardrobe change to make!


See, about 3 weeks before the wedding (while I was home, alone, bored out of my mind, and energy-sapped from the untimely bout of pneumonia) I had mustered up enough energy to try on my wedding dress to check how much to hem my crinoline. Sitting down for a bit, still in the dress, I realized that I wasn’t really interested in sitting in a boned bodice for the duration of our brunch–it wasn’t that it was truly uncomfortable, just that it was structured and I don’t often wear super-structured clothing. And then there was the unfortunate habit of boned bodices to scootch up into your armpits the longer you sit in them.

And that’s how I became a 2-dress bride at the very last minute!

I’d ordered a total of three dresses to choose from, returned one as soon as it arrived and kept a second one that was cute, just not right for the reception. The “winning” dress was a simple, flowy empire-waist taupe dress from Jessica London that matched my shoes pretty spot-on, and had some satin details to keep it from being too plain. It worked fairly well with the cardigan, too, and was incredibly comfortable, especially after the confines of the big, poofy ceremony dress.

After finishing up our getaway pictures I dashed inside and, while I didn’t time it, made what I’m sure is the quickest dress change outside of musical theatre or runway shows. Roadie came in with a question from the photographer if we wanted one more photo before I changed and I was already 3/4 done–I didn’t want to keep our guests waiting any longer than necessary!


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Highway to Happiness: The Group Hug

Wedding Recaps

With a big, happy sigh of relief we made our way over to the pathway between the fountain and the Owl’s Nest to hold our informal receiving line.

All photos courtesy of Pink Shutterbug Photography

All photos courtesy of Pink Shutterbug Photography

Since our families followed us out, they were the first to make it to us and something very unexpected happened:

It went from Congratulations to GROUP HUG in a fraction of a second.

It went from Congratulations to SWARM! in a fraction of a second.

A big, noisy, gigantic bear hug from the lot of them!


Even though a receiving line was not part of our original plan, I’m very glad we decided to add it to the schedule. Not only did it help move people in the right direction, as planned, but it also made up for the earlier lack of being able to greet them as they arrived and grab some photos together. So, yay for redundancies in the schedule and just yay in general for having a moment set aside to talk with each of our guests in turn.


Of course our guest list was small and we certainly could have made the rounds between courses (at least in theory), it was reassuring to know that we could just kick back and relax during the reception.

So while our family and friends headed to the Owl’s Nest, we had one little side trip to make before we joined them…


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Highway to Happiness: The Rings and the Rest

Wedding Recaps

Since the vows were, of course, the only thing we didn’t go over as part of the rehearsal, after they were said the rest of the ceremony felt like a downhill slide all leading up to the kiss.

All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Jennifer and Todd will now exchange rings to symbolize their commitment. Rings are derived from humble beginnings of imperfect metal to create something striking where there was once nothing at all. It is customarily worn on the ring finger as it was believed that a vein ran straight from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart. The wearing of the rings is a visible, outward sign that they have committed themselves to one another.


We each, in turn, took our ring book, untied the ring and placed it on each other’s hand while repeating the following:

I offer this ring, symbol of unity and eternity,
as a token of the love I am declaring here today.
I offer with this ring my own commitment to you,
my loyalty and my love.
I promise to be a good partner for as long as love lasts.

Thanks to some very helpful commenters when I last posted about the wine blending, I’d stumbled across the perfect song for this part of the ceremony: Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, the biggest challenge was deciding which version to go with. There were several instrumental and choir renditions out there, but the one I was most charmed by was by Johnny Cash. We’d put an explanation in the program about the ceremony, rather than have Friend-ficiant L have to narrate what we were doing, and it was a nice little pause.


Then it was time for the final piece of the ceremony puzzle: the handfasting. Even though this is becoming more and more popular among today’s couples the majority of our guests had never witnessed it before. Everyone found it fascinating, though, so I guess that’s point for us for putting on a good “show” for our guests.


Jennifer and Todd have chosen to conclude the ceremony with a handfasting. In centuries past, when towns were spread out and priests would travel from place to place, there wasn’t always an official handy when a couple wanted to be wed. Necessity being the mother of invention, couples would bind their hands together in a simple ceremony to declare their intentions, with the community as witness to the new union. This is where we get the phrase “tying the knot.”

In a collaborative effort not unlike the marriage we are here to witness, both Jennifer and Todd have had a hand in creating elements of this rite. Jennifer created the cord in the style of three intertwining vines, one each for the past, the present, and the future. Once tied these cords will reside in a wooden box Todd made specifically for this purpose and will have a place of honor in their home together.

Jennifer and Todd, please join hands, right to right and left to left, forming the symbol of infinity. Like a stone may your love be firm; like a star may your love be constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage, let the strength of your wills bind you together, let the power of love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you inseparable. Enjoy closeness, but retain your individuality. Support one another with patience and understanding. Freely give of your affection and warmth.


May this cord draw your hands together in love, may the vows you have spoken today remain sweet in your mouths.

As your hands are joined, so are your lives.

By the power vested in me, and by the love you both possess and profess, I now pronounce you husband and wife. It is my great honor and privilege to be the first to present to you Todd and Jennifer [Road Trip].


You may start your marriage with a kiss.

And there we were: married!

And there we were: married!


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