November 1, 2012 by Julia
Well, my baby bro got himself hitched this past weekend! When Tyler proposed to Brittany on their one-year anniversary, it wasn’t too surprising – we knew from the start that this girl was different. She is the only girlfriend of Tyler’s that our family has ever met, so when he actually brought her to barbecues and holidays and such, we were in shock. The good kind. Because Brittany is warm, personable and generous. We’d never seen him like this. They were a good fit from the start.
Jack missed all three of our October weddings, but he did get to come to the rehearsal and dinner this time when our babysitting fell through. We thoroughly enjoyed both the practice and the amazing dinner (best lasagna of your life), but the drives to and from totaled 2 ½ hours and were a bit rough, involving carsick vomit, a mad baby soaking himself through with a water bottle, a screwy GPS, hunger-induced meltdowns, and a frazzled mom (me). When we arrived at the restaurant, I was all, “Wine. Now.” Then everything was fine, and not just because of the wine. The choice of Italian restaurant was perfect; plus it was good to be out of the house at night, enjoying ourselves as a family. Mom put together an adorable slideshow of the lovebirds growing up, too, during which Dad yelled across the room, “You know, Tyler, Brittany’s really pretty!” Fun, and true.
As a bridesmaid and soon-to-be sister-in-law I was privy to wedding plans and lovely Pinterest boards displaying lace, rustic, natural woods, and fresh, light flowers in cream, blush pink and sage. We were calling the look Shabby Chic. I’d also describe the wedding style as classic, from the white chapel to the sweet colors to the reception traditions of throwing the bouquet and tossing the garter. Everything was just beautiful.
Getting ready with the girls was fun. I don’t actually enjoy doing my own hair or makeup (does anyone? it’s work), so it was nice of Mom to treat us to having both done professionally. On the way to the salon I was getting pumped up with Janet and Outkast, but Fiona felt that “Oh Susanna” would make better party music. I’m not really a bad mom for continuing to “Shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture” while promising she could jam out to Oh Susanna on the way back, just an annoying mom. This is a character-building practice; it prepares children for the real world, which is filled with people who might annoy them.
We made it to the venue without a problem this time (no vomit, but Fiona wasn’t wearing her flower girl dress just in case.) Upon arrival, I worked on a chalkboard sign indicating that guests didn’t have to sit on the groom’s or the bride’s side during the ceremony. I used to handwrite signs all the time at an old job, so it wasn’t too hard.
The bridal cottage was a delight, cozy and supplied with mimosas and snacks. I was a little nervous about the ceremony, since Dennis and Fiona and I were all in the bridal party, but everything was going so smoothly that mostly I just took pictures of the beyond beautiful bride and the adorable, adorable adorable (not to mention adorable) flower girls, who were in girl heaven with each other and would not leave each other’s side for the entire day. Seriously. Fiona could not be parted from Abbie. I tried to make Fiona’s hair look like it had at the salon five hours before, but to no avail. It’s just impossible. I dare you try to keep long hair on a 4-year-old from looking a mess (unless you’re a pageant mom, in which case, I dare you to make better parenting choices). Anyway, it did not matter one bit, because as you can see, the girls were unbelievably lovely.
Before we knew it, it was time to line up on the steps of the chapel. I was the first bridesmaid to march down the aisle, thinking: not too fast, not too slow. But I was probably too fast. When Fiona and Abbie floated down in their gowns, they studiously dropped flower petals, and then joined Mom in the front row, because Fiona could not bear for Abbie to sit separately with her own family. (This was all worked out in rehearsal beforehand, thank God.) Poor Mom was tasked with keeping the girls in their seats while watching her youngest son get married, but she said later she didn’t mind. Dad was playing the piano behind us bridesmaids. Dennis was standing directly across from us, looking dashing in his tux. My sister Lisa was next to me in a matching gown, along with sis-in-law Destinee and the other maids. Brother Ben was by Tyler’s side as best man. Such a family affair!
And then when a glowing Brittany appeared, she and Tyler instantly teared up. I’d heard Tyler say before the ceremony that the one thing that makes him cry is seeing someone else cry; plus they’d both cried at the rehearsal, so it was pretty much a given that they’d be emotional here. Everything looked perfect, and after months of stress, the moment of truth had finally arrived. Of course they had to cry.
I fully support crying at weddings, but I was feeling too happy and peaceful to be near tears myself. The beauty of the setting, and having so much family around made me totally calm. Until. Until I made the mistake of thinking about Tyler as the goofy baby of our family. I thought of this super-cute picture of him pretending to talk on the phone, before he even knew how to talk. I thought about him saying the random hilarious crap he used to, like when he was surprised: “A-juh, a-buh, a waaaa-waaaa?” with accompanying hand motions like he was stretching taffy or something. I thought about how we don’t really say hi when we see each other, we just push breath out loudly, as if to say: here we go… Or when Dennis and he and I would pretend to order a triple cheeseburger with no cheese: “Yeah, I’d like a triple chee, no chee, and I’ll take a double chee, no chee, single chee with triple chee, large fry no chee” etc. I’m sure that all translates hilariously here. Anyway, this is the stuff that brought me to tears, to the point that I had to wipe them away. Also, this: seeing Mom cry, thinking about when Jack is old enough to get married. My son! He’d better find a good woman, that’s all I can say. SOB. Dennis said afterwards that Lisa and I were perfectly synchronized in our expressions as we slowly broke down. I don’t know how he didn’t laugh at us.
The vows Tyler and Brittany had written were heartfelt and funny and involved promises about sports viewing and tolerating floral print dresses. And then it was done. Celebration time!
We (the bridal party) hid in the bridal cottage while the chapel guests made their way to cocktail hour on the adjacent reception hall’s patio. It was good to hug my brother and say congratulations, and mean it. Our family is medium/mild on the physical touchy-feely scale, but we are a bunch of softies inside, and we are high on the talky-feely scale, I’d say. So the hug was a bonus. We save them for special events.
We took pictures in the chapel for a while, and it was basically like a family afternoon at my parents,’ only in formalwear. Everyone looked so pretty.
The parents were eventually dismissed and we bridesmaids and groomsmen did our silly/sassy/cute shots outside.
The only problem was when I was required to do sassy. This was not ironic sassy, or funny, overdone sassy – that shit is easy peasy. This was REAL sassy, like Vogue sassy. Um, I am not capable of this, sorry. The photographer kept giving me direction, like, “Uhhh…okay…try putting your shoulders down, um, put your bouquet on your shoulder like you’re carrying it, don’t stick your hip out, look off into the distance…uh, no…” At one point Lisa and Destinee and I were cracking up and were like, what is happening? Although they and the other ladies seemed to have no problem conjuring the sassy. So hopefully I didn’t bomb that photo – sorry in advance, Brittany!
Every once in a while someone would bring us a plate of appetizers and we’d converge, trying to chew hot egg rolls before the next shot.
Finally it was time to make our grand entrance into the reception hall.
Fiona had to make her entrance with Abbie’s family rather than Dennis and I, so when the DJ announced, “Lisa, Julia, Dennis and Fiona” as only the three of us walked in, people may have been slightly confused. No matter. Tears were averted – and averted again, by scooting Fiona’s chair at our table over to Abbie’s table. We were basically on our own until the moment Abbie left, which was a tragic event that could only be (partially) remedied with…Sour Patch Kids. (I’m thinking I should seek an endorsement deal at this point.)
But clearly, the entrance that mattered was Tyler and Brittany’s, and they immediately went into their first dance, looking endearingly happy.
Ben’s toast during dinner was pretty funny, and revealed events from our childhood that I’d either never known or blocked, such as the time Tyler finally beat the older Ben during one of their “fight tournaments” with boxing gloves by knocking him out cold for 15 seconds. Ben woke up to screaming laughter, and he knew his little brother had become a man.
I was itching to get on the dance floor and make a fool of myself, so once again I encouraged family members to chug wine or cocktails with me and then go out there whether they felt like it or not. Peer pressure. You know. It works.
I think the previous two weddings of this month had warmed me up somewhat, dance-wise, because I had a great time. I don’t know if I looked good or ridiculous or what, but I wasn’t taking any of it seriously, and it was just so much fun. People were laughing at me and Ben, who also tends to go the mock-cool route, and then we all actually started to have actual dancing time when some Motown hits came on. I mean, who can resist dancing to those classics? Dennis told me that my dad said to him at our table, “I’m glad Julie can get out there and express herself.” Dennis also told me afterwards that I was the most interesting person to watch on the dance floor. Those comments could go either way, but I choose to take them as compliments. I’m thinking I need to start clubbing to stay warmed up, in case we need to attend a sudden wedding within the next year.
There was also a moment of gratitude, as weddings often inspire in me. It was when Fiona and Dennis and I were in a sort of dance-hug. My life is filled up to the brim.
I even felt grateful for everything when Fiona was in full-throttle exhaustion sob as we made our way out of the reception to go home. Two things made me laugh when I shouldn’t have. Upon seeing the getaway limo for the bride and groom, she very seriously cried, “I wish I had that car…why can’t I have that car!?!” and then, “Daddy, you stepped on my dress!!! Everything is terrible…!” And then she yelled at me for laughing. I could see her point. I’m sure I’ve said similar things in my lifetime, possibly even last week. We threw a couple of Sour Patch Kids at her and she fell asleep in the car within minutes. (After we checked to make sure her mouth was empty of Sour Patch Kids, which could pose a choking hazard while sleeping.)
I know Tyler and Brittany have many moments of fullness and gratitude ahead of them. I am so glad that you “kids” found each other. Your wedding was full of light, and humor, and emotion. I hope you are breathing a sigh of relief on your honeymoon beach right now, because you got hitched without a hitch.
Congratulations! And I am SO excited to have you as a sister-in-law, Brittany.
And…that’s a wrap on the October Wedding series!