Warning: This is long. This is about friends and their weddings. With details. If you don’t like either or both of those things, well, check back in a day or two, when I surely will be ranting and wailing about being jobless, or how my tummy hurts, or how it won’t stop raining in Seattle. Or something. But this is a big mushy wedding entry, okay? Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Well, yall, I have been remiss in my Journalling Duties. Remember when I said that if you have a wedding anniversary or a birthday, I’ll write a little something about you? I have let not one, but two anniversaries go by within the last month or so, and it’s time to set that right. Shall we go chronologically? Let me just remind you that I went to five weddings last summer, so this is likely to be a rather common feature here on Ampersand in the next couple of months. Assuming I make it to my journalversary (go, me, with the crazy journal slang!), I don’t know what I’ll do the year after that. At the rate many of my friends and acquaintances are going, soon yall will be having babies, and then I guess I’ll write about them. But until then, let me tell you all about the Weddings of a Former Roommate and A Perennial Key Girl.
Former Roommate First! Have I told you about my college roommate Airy? No? Oh, man, yall, you are just missing out on this girl. You don’t even know what is possible in the world until you know this woman. I met Airy, oddly enough, on my first day of college. I was late to orientation, because I had the brilliant idea that I would just fly from Miami to Claremont by myself on the day of orientation, without my mom, and get there just in time. With five huge duffle bags full of stuff like my phone and my cut off jeans shorts and my high school senior yearbook. Well, I had a hard time carrying all that stuff, not to mention getting on the van for the school, which dropped me off at the school across the street (not hard to do at the Claremont Colleges) and of course I was late. I dropped all my stuff in our room at the end of the D2 hall in Sanborn dorm, and raced up the Mounds to the Grove House…I didn’t know that these places had names at the time, of course, but this is before I became a college tour guide and could spout such things easily and on demand. Anyway. It was a sunny Southern California day. I was very sweaty. I looked around for my Mentor Group, as they are called, and they were all sitting on the stone steps of the Grove House…and I ran towards them…and this girl with beautiful golden hair looked up and mouthed the word “Chiara?” across the field, but sort of in slow motion, and I sat next to her, and she was my roommate. Then I cried all night on my first night in college. And right now we’re going to fast-forward past everything we did together during college, which really needs its own entry as well as a release form from her, and we’re just going to go to to her wedding last April
Airy married a very nice fencing instructor with a wonderful accent named Simon who looks great in tights. I know this because that’s what he wore to his wedding…they had a sort of Renaissance theme, and Airy wore a beautiful dress she made herself, and Simon wore something that I think was blue that she also made. The best part, hands down, of the entire wedding apparel thing, besides the fact that Simon carried a sword, was when, after the ceremony, she merrily took off her wedding dress sleeves, which had been conveniently velcroed in place. She had a convertible wedding dress, is what I’m saying. I’m saying she had Easter Eggs for wedding favors. I’m saying that the day of her wedding, she appropriated a live plant from a city planter thing in the little downtown Davis (with someone’s permission, I’m pretty sure), and carried that as her bouquet, and then planted it with Simon (in her wedding dress) during the ceremony. I’m saying her dad toasted the happy couple in Vietnamese. See where I’m going with this? We danced a lot and Carl and I were a big hit during this sort of folk dance where you form up into lines and dance down the middle…former Mudd Occasional Ball attendees, you will know this as the Sir Roger De Coverly…and when it was our turn to dance down the middle? Carl and I POLKAED down the middle! Unh! That’s right! Polka, baby! How you like me now? So that was a very fun wedding, very silly, and totally Simon and Airy’s style…I mean, I only met Simon that day, but it was totally Airy’s style, and thus, of course, a lot of fun. Oh, and the most funnest thing about that wedding? The morning of the wedding, Airy came by and knocked on my hotel room door, and she and Simon and I went to a little farmer’s market and bought all the bouquets and everything at a flower sellers’. It was so cool…she just chose a bunch of flowers, and then I guess wrapped them up and gave them to the bridesmaids, and they were beautiful, I was so happy she invited me along, and that was that. Clearly I have not been writing enough about this woman, I see, and so I’m going to have to write her an email and see what aspects of our college days are appropriate for online journal consumption. Airy, I’m jobless right now, and any little contribution to the preservation of your good name would be GREATLY appreciated, you know what I mean?
Now, Key Girl Ashley’s wedding to the lovely and talented Thomas was very different from Airy and Simon’s, but it was equally “them” and I think that’s the thing that makes a wedding good. They had a very whirlwind courtship and engagement and everything, and it was all very romantic and sweet. They’d actually met in, like, 1992, when Thomas’ church and our church went on a mission trip to Jamaica. We didn’t really know him then, but we thought he was cute, if memory serves. A year later we all went on another mission trip to the DR, and Ash and I would get up early, and sit in the dining area and gossip and write in our journals and there would be Thomas, running around the camp. Running, running. He’d run by, we’d say hello, we’d go back to gossiping, he’d run by again, ‘Hi, Thomas,” so on and so forth. Nice guy. Good runner. Again, like Airy, Ashley really needs her own entry, so I will cut short lots of details about her and say that after eight years, when she and Thomas were on another mission trip, this time as leaders, and hooked up, and she called me to tell me, I was like “Thomas Tomslastname?Oh, man, he’s cool!” And they got engaged. And they got married in a style that was unbelieveably fancy and cool in every way, and their anniversary was on Saturday, and I said I would write an entry about them when I saw them in Orlando, and I’m late, and here we all are today.
Now, one of the sad things about being a continent away from many of your dear childhood friends is that you don’t get to do a lot of the fun bridal stuff with them becasue you only come in on the day of the rehearsal dinner and then you go home again to Seattle, and you don’t get to participate as much as you might like. All the Key Girls are married now, and it’s kind of sniffly for me that I missed all their engagement parties and bridal showers and everything. However, I did get to go with Ashley to get her dress, because she got engaged while I was home for Christmas, and she happened to pick her dress at the first place we went. I hadn’t ever been to a bridal salon before, and boy was I sorry not to be more dressed up. It was a very nice salon, the kind where they put you in a pink room and they ask what kind of dress the bride wants, and she says, “Uh, something pretty?” and they bring her various things. I have to say, I was pretty unenthused about a lot of the dresses she tried on…she looked beautiful in all of them, as one might expect, but nothing really yelled “This is it!” I was vehemently anti-beading until the snooty lady brought in this dress which can really only be described as Billie Holliday Goes To Heaven. Beaded bodice. Bias-cut. Soooooo gorgeous. And that was that.
The wedding itself pretty much followed the theme of “Sooooo gorgeous.” Thomas said later that all his guy friends were like, ‘Thanks a lot, dude,” because their girlfriends now want a wedding just like it. It was held at the beautiful Vizcaya, where everyone in Miami wants to get married. Matt, the guy who married them, gave the best wedding sermon ever. I got my hair done by the greatest gay Cuban hairdresser that has ever been seen or will be seen again in the history of the world. There was a lot of dancing and very good food, plus some fantastic blue chocolates for favors. I saw My Friend Omar and My Friend (Key Girl Manya’s husband) Landy dance for the first time, and I haven’t yet got the image off my retina. Ashley and Tom did a really cool first dance, and Ashley’s mom took all the pictures. It was just great. One of the sweeter things about this wedding, for me, was that it was the first time Carl had been to Miami and met the Key Girls. I was a little nervous about the whole thing, for reasons of “mixing the worlds,” but I remember thinking that it felt so natural to have him there with my oldest friends and my family. Carl, you will all be happy to know, made a hit twice during this wedding: once at the rehearsal dinner when he was the only guy there able to successfully create a Black and Tan, some sort of beer thing…he explained his triumph modestly: “Well, my dad is a fluid dynamicist.” And then the next day at the wedding itself when Ben, the ring bearer, whom I last saw somewhere in the vicinity of my very second entry, fell and got a bloody nose or something, and Carl ran and got ice for him and cleaned him up. I was so proud.
So, there you go. I consider myself something of a wedding expert, if only because I have been to quite a few (been a bridesmaid five times, thanks very much). I think they’re generally really fun, and the best thing about them is seeing people you love announce and confirm and declare and declaim their love for each other, and feeling, somehow, as if you’re part of that, this big crazy thing called looooooooove.