Helen was awake at just after 5am and I followed shortly after that as well. By 8am we were ready for breakfast again. We thought we would find a place outside of the hotel but the range is pretty limited around the hotel. We did walk down Main Street which was closed off for a farmers market. Beautiful produce (baskets of peaches for example) but no one selling breakfast (they missed a trick with that). So we headed back to the hotel to have breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.
After breakfast it was time to get ready for the wedding (some of us take longer to get ready than others). We left for the Church just before 11am. The wedding ceremony was at Downtown Presbyterian which was pretty close to the hotel. The Church is not very traditional (for American Church’s at least) as the building is a converted warehouse. The ceremony was ‘unplugged’. I thought that meant no electricity (understandable for South African’s!) but it actually meant, turn off you phone and participate in the ceremony and not take photos and post onto social media. Apparently it has become quite an issue in the US that people live stream the ceremony onto Facebook, SnapChat stories, Instagram etc. So Melissa & Andrew requested that no photos be taken during the ceremony and that people rather be present.
American’s have strong traditions in how a wedding is conducted. All the wedding party including parents & grandparents are part of the procession into Church. My brother’s youngest daughter (Victoria – just under 2 years old) was flower girl but she wasn’t going to walk in by herself so my brother had Melissa on his arm and the flower girl on the other hand. The pastor conducting the ceremony did a superb job. His talk was woven into the vows and the ring exchange which was the first time I have heard someone do that. The tears were flowing from Helen from when my sister-in-law came in (brought in by one of her sons). The groom (Andrew) pretty much cried through the whole ceremony. It was a very touching and godly ceremony and really encouraging to see them start their marriage on such a note.
We were asked to stay behind for some photos with the bridal party. Only 3 of our direct (wider) family were missing – Stephen, Michael and Daniel – all too busy watching cricket no doubt! We then headed for the reception which was at the hotel we are staying at. Drinks to start while the photos continued. America has the stupid law that only people over 21 can drink alcohol (it really makes no sense that you can be in the army and die for your country but you can’t have a beer). Some instances of underage drinking might have been noted by the cousins (maybe helped along by their parents obtaining the drinks for them).
At the reception we were again seated with my sisters and brother-in-laws (and one niece) which made for easy conversation and an enjoyable lunch. It also meant that when the bar opened my brothers-in-law were the first at the bar … got their priorities right! Another American tradition is for the bridal party to enter after being announced by the DJ. The bridesmaids and groomsmen come in as couples and all do a unique entrance with a little dance or swirl or whatever they decide on. Helen looked surprised but it’s my 2nd American wedding so I was expecting it this time.
Lunch was served (which was pretty good) and after the main course we had the speeches. The leading bridesmaid and groomsmen both do speeches and toasts followed by my brother (father of bride) and then the groom. Then the dances took place with bride and groom going first and then the moment I was waiting for – my brother with Melissa. I have never seen my brother dance (or at least not that I can remember). While I was expecting him to end up on the floor at some point, he did actually did quite well … #impressed David! The DJ called for all fathers and daughters to join them and so I took Chloe up (though she complained she didn’t know how to dance!). My one brother-in-law had two daughters there and none of them moved a muscle … #losers! After that Andrew and his mother danced and the DJ also invited all mothers/sons to come up and join them. I did make a point to invite my Mom up though she declined. Stephen/Michael … where were you?? Daniel where were you? … Jason was #loser too.
When Melissa & Andrew were ready to leave we all exited the hotel and lined up outside to blow bubbles over the departing couple. There was also an ice cream truck (think genuine American ice cream truck) as part of the farewell. Very creamy, sweet ice cream but as they say in US ‘a neat idea’.
By this stage it was 5pm and we were pretty tired. We had agreed to meet up for a final farewell at the place my brother and parents are staying at. We got there at about 7:15pm and just enjoyed a chilled evening chatting. We got back to the hotel at around 9:30pm and were all pretty tired and fell asleep quickly and slept to about 6am this morning.
Until tomorrow …