Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Anniversary Dance

By the age of 16 I knew that I did not want a boquet toss at my wedding. I could not, with good conscience, force friends to participate in an activity I so thoroughly loathed. There has been once in my adult life I have willingly participated in a boquet toss, and that was at my friend Heidi's wedding, as the friendship was stronger than the hate of the activity.

In lieu Sweetie and I opted to have an anniversary dance, where you call all married couples up on the dance floor and slowly eliminate people (if you've been married less than one day, sit down), until the couple that has been married the longest is left out on the dance floor, and they are presented with the boquet.

Once the guest list was compiled we set out to determine who the lucky winners would be and determined that it was George and Betty, who celebrated their 60th anniversary earlier this year. This was FABULOUS news, because in addition to George and Betty being really wonderful people it allowed me to perpetuate a bit of an inside joke between my mom and them.

Once upon a time there was a party of some sort (perhaps a birthday party for Betty? I'm not totally sure on this point) at a Red Robin which George was hosting and my parents were attending. Drinks had been ordered, and as luck would have it Mom chose a drink that happened to come in a Red Robin coffee mug and for the price of the drink you got to keep the mug. A friend of Mom's had ordered the same drink. George picked up that round of drinks, and gave Mom and her friend a hard time about how he had bought the mugs as well. So Mom and her friend both gifted the mugs back to George at some point. And they've been gifted back and forth several times over the years.

As luck would have it, Mom was in posession of the mug when we figured out the George and Betty would be the last ones standing for the anniversary dance, so in addition to presenting them with the boquet, we presented them with the mug - filled with Hershey's kisses. The story gets better, as Mom's friend was in posession of her mug as well, and after the dance she told me said mug was delivered to George and Betty's hotel room while we were all at the wedding.

Upon the completion of the dance George decided to lay some words of wisdom on Sweetie: "One bit of advice, 'yes dear, yes dear, yes dear.'" Betty commented that she KNEW it was worth it to get us a nice present for the shower! They are such fun people!

I hope Sweetie and I have 60 years of happiness ahead of us, and that we're such fun when that day comes.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Bride's Side

A couple of things Sweetie missed in his previous post:

The Tri-City pitcher who threw 12/13 balls? We might have had something to do with that. After he walks the first guy and then his first three pitches to #2 were balls we started chanting: BALL THREE, BALL THREE, BALL THREE. Guess what? He threw a ball! We started again: BALL FOUR, BALL FOUR, BALL FOUR. Got a lot of the crowd to chant along with us. The pitching coach came out for a conference on the mound. When he finally got pulled and the new guy came in we tried to get it going again: BALL ONE, BALL ONE, BALL ONE. Mr. Tri-City guy, if you happen to stumble across this blog, I'm sorry, but part of coming up through the minors is learning to deal with heckling.

Also, there is a key piece of the story Sweetie left out with Dad of Swank and "What's in the Car?" I am a former employee of the Tri-City Dust Devils. As such, I've got a lot of Dust Devils swag still floating around the house. I don't really hold any allegiance to the team, as the reason I am no longer in baseball is they basically tried to turn me into a slave, but the printed version of the mascot is cute and the BP cap is REALLY cool looking. Sweetie had offered to get me an Everett cap before the rehearsal dinner to wear during the first pitch, but I decided I'd rather wear my Dust Devils cap. Dad decided to wear a Dust Devils golf shirt that night (he probably still roots for the team. He's loyal to his teams beyond fault). I was joking we'd be like the Montague's and Capulets - Aquasox and Dust Devils - but hopefully without the suicide at the end of it all.

When it came time for "What's in the Car?" I walked Dad down to the appropriate section of the Stadium. Anytime you do an onfield promotion for a baseball game you're going to be stuck just sitting around for a little while, because you never know how long an inning will be, and need to be on the sidelines ready to go. The Aquasox guy who would be emceeing "What's in the Car?" noticed the Dust Devils wear, and I explained to him how I used to work for the team. So Dad gets onfield and it goes something like this:

Mr. Aquasox guy: "We're here for What's in the Car, and I've got Dad of Swank here with me this evening. He's got a Dust Devils shirt on, so I'm not quite sure how we let him out on the field, but anyway here we go. The clue tonight is PLASTIC. Would you like this brand new Aquasox hat or what's in the car? Actually, I'll give you $20 cash to get a new shirt if you take the hat, so do you want that or what's in the car?"

I'm yelling at my dad to take the cash (just to see if the guy would really cough up the dough), but Dad opted for what's in the car. Won a $50 gift certificate that would kill Sweetie if we got within a block of it, so Mom and Dad will get to do dinner on their own next time they're up in Seattle.

The baseball rehearsal dinner

My wife and I were worried that the rehearsal dinner (at an Everett AquaSox baseball game) was going to be too good. We thought people might show up at the ceremony or reception and think "gee, that was okay, but were you at that baseball game?" Well, thank goodness the ceremony and reception also kicked butt, because the rehearsal dinner was breathakingly awesome.

The main issue (as it was the whole weekend) was traffic. The dinner was supposed to start at 5:30, but nobody made that...mostly, people arrived at 5:45-5:50 or so. No hour was pretty long for grilled chicken anyhow. People gathered their food (including two strangers who then sat under our tent while we made the toasts and gave out weird is that?).

I hadn't planned my toasts to my brother, college buddy, or parents--figured I'd just speak from the heart--but I should have prepared something. I was completely at a loss for words. How do you thank the people you're closest to for a lifetime of love while being pithy and funny? I fell short, but I think they all got the message.

Swankette wanted to get her arm warmed up for her first pitch, but I'd forgotten our gloves. Fortunately, one of the best men brought a pair of gloves, and someone else had a we ducked out of the tent and played a little catch.

Then, the waiting. We had to sit aside and wait for her first pitch and my anthem singing. It's easy to get nervous while waiting there. Swankette started to get cold feet...not about the marriage, but about throwing from the rubber. The previous first pitchers (the AquaSox give out a LOT of first pitches!) were throwing form the grass in front of the mound. Swankette turned to me and said:

"Do you think I should throw from the rubber?"
You should do whatever you want, dear.
"No. I need your opinion. Should I throw from the rubber?"
Do what you'd like.
"Seriously! Am I ready?"

I finally suggested she walk to the base of the mound, and if it looked easy, she could step back to the rubber. She did that...and wound up splitting the difference, pitching from the mound, but not as far back as the rubber. It reached catcher J.B. Tucker on the fly. WOOHOO! Not bad for someone who was only throwing 45 feet a few months ago.

The catcher takes a photo with first-pitch deliverers, and Swankette had said she'd say: "This is my last night as a single woman." I would have even accepted a last quick grope--but Swankette wound up saying nothing.

Then my anthem. It went quite well. Joe, thankfully, had reminded me to keep my hand on my heart. I remembered to take my hat off and put it there, held the microphone in my left hand, gave myself the liberty of a few phrase-ending fermatas (fermati?), quieted down on "gave proof" and smiled on "flag was still there," and then got to "land of the free."

I'd promised myself I'd go up the fourth on "free." But I was wondering if I could pull it off.

When I started "free," I thought I'd not go up...but then I figured, what the hell, when will I sing an anthem at a pro ballgame again? Went up the fourth. Hit the note. Cool. There was a minor hiccup getting off the note, but nobody says they noticed.

My sister says my autistic nephew recognized my voice and just went bonkers.

I have a picture of me singing with the whole party in the stands in the background. My friends and family are reverentially looking at the flag...except for my mom and dad, who are watching me. It's a wonderful, frame-it, keep-it-forever picture.


So then comes the ballgame.

I never knew this, but the gazillion promotions that people go on the field for? If you're one of the groups at the ballpark, you get preferential treatment for those. So wedding people were on the field constantly!

First came my brother Dan and his five-year-old son Henry. They were put in competition with a stranger in "Fishin' for Tuition." Henry had to throw plastic fish towards Dan, standing 15 feet away, and Dan had to catch them in a fishing net. Henry said he'd throw them as quickly as he possibly could. He definitely did that...but he wasn't looking at his dad. So while my brother was standing east of Henry, Henry leaned over the fish bucket and chucked fish after fish over his shoulder...NORTH. Everyone started was so cute. At the end, all 49 of us started chanting "HEN-RY! HEN-RY!" Which got most of the stadium chanting it as well.

My brother later reported this exchange:

HENRY: Why is everyone saying my name?
DAN: I guess they're just really happy to see you out there!
HENRY: Then why aren't they saying your name?

Next came a remote-control car race. My Uncle Rick had to manipulate his car from third to first and back to third, and if he beat a stranger, he'd win $100. Well, both guys had trouble getting out of the box, but the stranger got out to about shortstop, then turned right a little bit. While he was trying to correct himself, Uncle Rick T-BONED HIM. Hard. Then literally ran him over. This disabled the stranger's vehicle, and Uncle Rick walked away with a hundred-dollar bill.

They selected the Dad of Swank to play "What's In The Car?" It's like "Let's Make a Deal". They give him an AquaSox hat and offer to have him trade it for "what's in the car," which could be good or bad. His clue was "plastic." He elected to go with what was in the car...and it was a $50 gift certificate to Bucca di Beppo's restaurant. Good choice!

Patrick, a seven-year-old friend of the family, ran the bases against the mascot! Patrick was adorable as usual...won. This extends the mascot's eight-year losing streak.

Sweetheart of the Game? My wife, of course. She got flowers from an Everett flower shop. This was the second time and second Northwest League ballpark at which she was named Sweetheart of the Game.

Our buddy Monika won the movie trivia contest by correctly identifying an audio clip from Some Like It Hot. That's a couple of free pay-per-view-cable movies, ice cream if ever she returns to Everett, and something else. And that's not one they gave to us...Monika won it fair and square!

So all of this is happening, and everyone's laughing, joking, scoring the game on the scorecards we'd made up as gifts (or doing the word search, crossword, and maze we'd put on the back of the scorecard). A Tri-City pitcher comes and throws 13 pitches...12 of them balls. Tri-City wins anyway.

Then--the fireworks. The best fireworks show I've ever seen at a minor league game, and I've seen a few. It was beautiful, the music was was a FANTASTIC way to transition from the game into the wedding day.

I kept saying to anyone who would listen that this was exactly what we had in mind from the very beginning. It completely set the mood for the weekend, reflected our personality, gave people a chance to hang out together and was perfect. The whole weekend was unforgettable...but this was unforgettable and completely unique to our weekend. We'll treasure this experience, therefore, in a unique way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Diet Coke Girls

My years of event planning served me well in some aspects of the wedding, and one of those was the scheduling of the day. Plan yourself down to the minute, but allow ample time for each activity so you stay on schedule. That paid off best when it came to getting ready. The hairdresser said to allow two hours to do three hairdos (Mom's, mine and Kaphine's), but it didn't take her nearly that long. So hair started at 12:30 and the limo was coming at 3:00. That meant once the hair WAS done it left plenty of time for the four of us (the hairdresser stuck around) to just sip on our Diet Cokes and visit and chill. It was just like we were all getting together at someone's house for a nice visit. Except three of us were dressed in sweats or similar casual-wear with stupendous looking hair.

Just sitting, chilling with the girls like that, was just wonderful. All the stress and insansity and running around town was made worth it in that half hour, and similar moments throughout the day.

Because as special of a day as this was, and as big of an occasion as it was, in large part it was also just a big excuse to get to chill with family and friends for a few hours.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


In reflecting on the big day one of the things I was most thankful for were my attendants.

Not only are Kaphine and Matt my two best friends that aren't related to me, but their yin and yang was perfect to keep me sane during the big day.

Kaphine was my protector and professional futzer. She played with my hair, carried my bag, fixed my train, bustled the dress, and generally just did stuff all day long. Just look at the photos - many of the group shots have her futzing to get hair, or a boutineire or something else just right. Half of the photos of Sweetie and I greeting our guests outside of the church have her right behind me, playing with my hair.

Matt was my calm in the store. He's been through this before, so he's an old pro. And he just exuced this sense of calm that was contagious. He knew when to crack a joke to release the tension, or when to give a shoulder rub before the stress exploded out of my ears.

A friend of a friend is serving as a bridesmaid later this year. She was asked not to tan if there was a chance of getting strap marks, as the bridesmaid's dresses are strapless and would ruin the look. She's been asked to grow out her hair, so all the bridesmaids can have matching dues. And she's being paid cold hard cash not to dye is some crazy color, because you aren't allowed crazy colored hair when standing up in a wedding.

Me, I'm glad I chose my friends for the support they've shown me over the years, and the continued support they'd show me through the day and through our lives together, rather than how cute they'd look standing up there at the altar. Of course, we all looked fabulous, but that was just a fringe benefit.

What do these activities have in common?

Washing my hands.
Carrying suitcases.
Putting on sunblock.
Removing gloves.
A few other things I'm forgetting.

Answer to come...

One Little Gloat

Friends of the family attended a wedding this last weekend - one of their children's friends or some such. And apparently, while at this wedding (which I'm sure was wonderful and beautiful in its own special way) they couldn't stop gushing about the Wedding of Swank.

Sweetie and I wanted a memorable and fun event for everyone involved, and I think that proves success.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lost and Found

A woman's pink jacket was left behind at the reception. It's currently in the hands of Mom of Swank, and the investigations both her and Mom-in-law have persued thus far have found no one who will claim it as their own.

So if you're missing a pink jacket (from what I've been told I am guessing of medium or smaller size, but that's just supposition) let us know and we'll make arrangements to get it back to you.

Ah, Traffic

First off, the apology:

Dear wedding guests: We are terribly, terribly sorry that it took over an hour to get from the wedding to the reception. Seriously, it was supposed to be about a 15 minute drive. We didn't know about the parade that would be occurring directly between the two locales until about 2 weeks before the wedding, and that was only thanks to the fact that the boss's best friend's son getting married the same day. Had we known when we were scheduling everything we would have made alternate arrangements.

Now that that's out of the way, the unforseen traffic also led to one of my favorite random memories of the day. This one gets top billing because we got the proofs from the photographer today, and in addition to being a beautiful moment, our tres fabu photographer captured the moment PERFECTLY on film:

So Sweetie and I planned to have our photos taken at Kerry Park between the ceremony and the reception. The park is about 5 minutes away from the reception site, so between the bit of extra travel time and the time to take the photos, it would be the perfect amount of time for us to arrive at the reception and make a grand entrance once everyone else had arrived.

Except we had the limo driver who knew all the back roads through town to escape traffic. And most of our guests were out-of-towners traveling the worst possible route traffic-wise, but the best possible route Sweetie and I could come up with in terms of ease of direction.

Tangent Moment: While at the public park there was a family there with a girl who couldn't be more than 4 or 5 who had a disposable camera and desperately wanted to take a photo of the bride and groom at the park. The parents were whispering something to her along the lines of, "No, you can't do that." We shouted out "It's OK if she takes a picture of us." So she did. But then she wanted to take more. And it was a camera with real film. And as much as this little girl wanted to take photos of the girl in the big-ass white dress and the boy in the tux, mom doesn't want to spend the gazillion dollars it costs to purchase a camera and develop film to have photos of us! So sorry if we created a monster that night, mom. We're young (he!) and in love, we don't have kids yet so couldn't think about the further implications our assent would entail.

Anyway, back to the real story. So we get to the park. The photographer gets there 10 minutes later. Spends a good 10 minutes setting up his equipment. Gets photos of us with the city as a backdrop. Get's photos of us with Mt. Rainier as a backdrop. Gets photos of us with the cool limo as a backdrop. We're getting near done with the photos, and I hear a familiar voice behind me call out, "Hey, can you tell us how to get to the party?"

Friends of the family from Portland (the people who, outside of my relations, have known me longer than anyone else attending the wedding and the person who has one of the best Swankette haircut stories ever on the planet) have SOMEHOW arrived at Kerry Park. Now, the park isn't necessarily FAR from the reception site, I just have a difficult time imagining HOW someone could get lost in such a way as THAT is where they would end up. But end up there they did.

So we stopped for a moment, and I gave him directions. (Thankfully from this location the directions were drive up there, turn right, drive a while, turn right and you're there). It was priceless! And the photographer got a shot of the two of us, both of us pointing up the road. I believe the conversation was something to the effect of:

Me: "Drive up that way to the stoplight"
Him: "I'm driving that way up to the stoplight?"

So much for the grand entrance. But I'm glad to give it up to share that totally random moment.


I want to record memories of the wedding, so as to hold on to them at all time, but rather than writing one monster post detailing every exact detail of the day, I envision a series of snapshots of memories, feelings, experiences I want to hold on to. It's probably going to take me several days to get all these out, as there is work that must be done and we are currently cleaning up from the detritus of the wedding bomb that has exploded in our condo, but I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorite memories of the day. I've sure enjoyed reading and hearing about everyone else's experiences!

Yeah, I cried.

I cried a LOT. It started...well, crap, it started at the damn rehearsal, when my kid sister was reading from Song of Solomon. I was crying, and then I was amazed I was crying, so I started laughing at myself for crying, and both my sister and the minister asked me why I had the giggles. They thought I was laughing until I cried, but actually the reverse was true...I cried until I laughed.

During the ceremony, my voice checked a little when I put the ring on her, but I totally lost it when she put the ring on me.

Then my big sister cried during the prayers, which didn't help me much.

Then--and this one blew me away--the MINISTER cried as she was banning our hands together with the sash. Those of you who don't think it's important to spend some quality time with your minister before the wedding...this pretty well cements that it is. That was an intense and wonderful it well should be!

I had it together by the offertory, but when my friends started singing "Go Ye Now In Peace..." well, Swankette knew I was in trouble, and I sat there, quaking wildly. I was so overwhelmed by all the love. I loved EVERYBODY that day. Joey, the kid who beat me up in second grade? Loved him. George W. Bush? For an hour or so, loved him. Why not? God had blessed me, and knocked me loopy with hunks and gobs of His love. It was ricocheting between my bride and I, bouncing off our families like a beach ball at a concert, growing and coloring the choir, then reproducing like a geometrical function, filling up the church, the city, the universe. My love was indiscriminate and infinite. I LOVED EVERYBODY.

I then lost it again as people exited the church and hugged us. So many people kept asking me if I was okay. Um...YES!!! Of COURSE! The okayest I've ever been! I was utterly overwhelmed by everyone we love--SO MANY of them!--supporting my deep-forever-love and I so loudly during the vows, sharing communion, and then hugging us! What kind of a question is "are you okay?"!!!!!

Thank God for my buddy Andrew, who hugged me and said, somewhat relieved:

"FINALLY. A groom as emotional as I was."

That's one of the key memorable moments for me. Thanks, Andrew--I hope to have a family as awesome as yours soon. Thanks, friends. And thanks, Bride, for being the focal point and generator of all that love.

(Yeah, that's syrupy. But I'm entitled. We've only been married nine days.)

More to come!

Call for Submissions

If you were an attendee at the Wedding of Swank and you took photos, especially those of the digital variety, Sweetie and I would very much appreciate you e-mailing us copies of the photos.

1) So we can have them to love and cherish forever and ever; and

2) So we can share with those who were unable to attend the wedding, while waiting for the photos from the photographer to arrive.

Thanks much! And we promise to share others photos with you as well.

We're Ba-ack!

Well, the hubby and I are fully honeymooned and back in Seattle to begin our real lives in wedded bliss. Expect more complete posts from both of us later, but some of us have to be at work in less than 8 hours and really should be getting off to bed soon.

In the meantime, if you haven't found them already, several people have blog posts related to our wedding out there right now and you should go read some of them.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Final Countdown

So insomnia is not a wholely terrible thing to have when you are an anal retenstive procrastinator planning a wedding. Helped me get a lot of necessary stuff done over the last few nights.

Friends and loved ones are in town. We have rehearsed, Sweetie cried (as did I, but it was his crying that got me started), pitches have been pitched and anthems have been sung.

I think the priest and her assistant are a bit trepidatious as to how things will go today, as during the rehearsal yesterday there was a lot of joking around going on. It was so we could all get it out of our system then so today will be fabulous, but they didn't totally believe us when we told them that. The priest has indicated that if something happens and she gets the giggles it's a done deal.

I had forgotten to bring the stand-in boquet to the rehearsal (paper plate covered with bows from the shower), and folks think it was on purpose. But really I had thought about it several times over the last week - if I don't bring that damn thing people will be mad - but leaving the house yesterday with the whining cat it REALLY slipped my mind. The upside is that the brother got it in his head that we needed flowers to practice with, so went out and scored us some. Sweetie had an ad hoc boutineire of a flower shoved through a button hole in his polo. I got a stem of something that I probably should know the name of, but don't. It was fabulously sweet.

There's one bit of the service where I'm a bit worried about my physical composure. We kneel on a kneeler pad, and the height of the step on which it sets, combined with the width of said step, and the big-ass dress and heels I'll be wearing make me a bit trepidatious. I was a bit shaky kneeling there yesterday, and that was without the wardrobe. This is our little secret for now, as no one involved needs to know until after the fact.

The rehearsal dinner was perfect - our friends and family got to do lots of on-field promotions and scored pretty big as a whole. During the picnic two random people showed up and started partaking of our food and enjoying the toasts and thank you's and such. Sweetie and I were seriously tempted to go great them with open arms, but didn't. Other than that the rehearsal dinner was perfect. Well, the Aquasox got creamed, but I was barely paying attention to the fact that a baseball game was going on, I was enjoying the friends and family too much.

Today will shortly become a whirlwind - set-up at the hall, make-up, hair, dress, limo to the church, and then I'll be me a Mrs. There will likely be details to follow.

Friday, July 29, 2005

We're here!

Rehearsal today, wedding tomorrow!

Thanks to all readers of this site...there will be a full report after the honeymoon!