Now my children are tied for having the best wedding ever. Adrienne and Matt were married almost four years ago in a perfect NH lakeside ceremony. Sam and Marianna were married on Sunday in a perfect, East Tennessee farm ceremony. The last week of wedding prep was very very busy, too busy to be writing about what I was doing, just doing it. The culmination of all the months of planning and decision-making and preparations and lists was one of the things I love best — a wedding, the grandest kind of party.
The wedding was at Evereux Farm in Bean Station, a beautiful piece of land owned and stewarded by Rob and Lisa Ray. Being long time friends of Marianna’s family, they graciously offered to host the wedding on the farm. The sweetness of the land, an open slope under tall trees falling away to a pond with Cherokee Lake and tree covered hills on the horizon, was the perfect setting for a country wedding. The biggest worry was the heat, but the day cooled off just enough by the time of the ceremony, and the sun had swung west far enough so the guests were sitting in shade. By the time everyone was dancing under the tent no one cared anymore about sweat and fallen hairdos.
The rattlesnake who’d been living in the stone wall behind the tent was caught and captured on Thursday when we were out at the farm for the tent set up. Luckily, “Alan,” as Sammy named him when he and Rob Ray drove him to a far off hill to relocate him, came out for a nap in the sun during the afternoon. Rob raked him into a garbage can and off he went. And lived on in name only at the Rattlesnake Bar.
The wedding included a continuation and expansion of the dress swap tradition. At Adrienne’s wedding, my sister Meg and her daughter Amelia and I were all admiring each other’s dresses at the beginning of the reception. So we decided to swap dresses throughout the reception, all being about the same size, and did a three-way swap, all of us wearing one of the three dresses at some point in the evening. We promised we’d do it again at the next wedding, and we did. Then Pam, Marianna’s mother, wanted in on the fun, so she joined the swap, and at one point I was wearing Pam’s dress and she was wearing mine. Was this the first wedding ever when the bride’s and groom’s mothers swapped dresses during the reception?
Every wedding has its last-minute cancellations and guests who never RSVP and then show up. And having an old college friend call you the night before the wedding to say he’s here, he’s coming, then show up with an uninvited and unannounced guest isn’t that unusual. But having that friend show up with a woman wearing four-inch heels that get caught in the soft grass of the farm and a poofy net-skirted dress with a tiny strapped top that shows off the spider tatoo spanning her chest, and who turns out to be a porn star at ease discussing her current work (girl on girl only these days) like others were discussing their graduate degree programs or new jobs is pretty unique. Porn star wedding crasher — a new one for all of us.
Emilio was the ring bearer and was almost unbearably cute. I’ll let the photo tell that story.
On Sunday morning I drove out to the farm with Adrienne and Emilio, so I could help put Emilio down for a nap and so Adrienne could help with “day of” task management and take her turn getting her make up and hair done. I took the opportunity to go for a long swim in the pond. As I walked down the slope to the water, a heron lifted up and flapped its long wing beats off across the open fields. Eric comes to me in herons, as they were a favorite bird of his. The moment was only one of many moments of Eric’s presence, noted and silent, throughout the whole weekend.
And finally, the highlight of all highlights, my son is married to a wonderful woman. And my daughter is married to a wonderful man. And I’m married to a wonderful man and his wonderful daughter Melia was part of the whole family wedding weekend and now there are sisters everywhere, because Marianna has three of them and we all have Melia too. Lots of love. Such blessings.