At least, the best wedding I've ever attended, including my own.
Lovely Niece and -- ooh, should I give him a blog name? Let's see... oh, maybe later -- he who shall be known in the short-term as New Nephew made it official last weekend. The bride was simply gorgeous... here she is an hour or so before the ceremony, held at our home church:
No photos during the event itself -- it was a thoughtfully planned and meaningful worship service, and even if I'd wanted to take pics, I was kinda busy with singing. It was a great honor to have that role in the event. (My 19-year-old nephew walked by me afterward with his girlfriend and ordered, "You're singing at my wedding." So I take that as a good sign. Also, one of my mother's best friends was there, and she said I sound like my mom did. Loved hearing that.)
The bride and groom included sweet individual touches in memory of several people. Candles were lighted in the official remembrance of six people listed in the program, but most people probably weren't aware that the bride's bouquet included a single sunflower in memory of her little sister; that her grandmother's Bible lay on the altar; and that the groom was wearing his grandfather's boots -- the ones worn to walk the groom's mother down the aisle at his parents' wedding.
One of our hometown national park's renovated bath houses made a great reception site, as it's now an art museum -- an elegant setting for a joyful evening. Here are Lovely Niece and New Nephew during their first dance:
The DJ did a nice job of keeping things understated and elegant as far as the music mix was concerned. But a few hours before the wedding, we managed to arrange a little musical surprise for the groom.
You see... Last year, after my oldest nephew's wedding, The Alpha and I met up with Lovely Niece and he who was to become New Nephew, plus another couple who were to become their honor attendants, at a local establishment featuring German cuisine. We walked in to find a tuba/accordion duo onstage. I don't remember exactly what they were playing when we arrived, but their repertoire included a mix of genres, all polkafied. Before we even got to our table, New Nephew stopped, pointed, and announced, "I want them to play at my wedding!"
That's when it all started. It took more than a year to bring the plan to fruition.
After the engagement was announced this summer, planning rolled into high gear, and we kept teasing Lovely Niece and New Nephew about hiring the band for their reception. I became a Fan of The Itinerant Locals on Spacehook. We even checked to make sure they would indeed be local, not itinerant, on the date in question. They were, and their gig that evening ended at 9:00. But we didn't book them. We weren't sure how long the reception would run, and the bride and groom had decided on a DJ, after all. Wouldn't want to step on any toes.
Then, a few hours before the wedding, Lovely Niece was in the Bride's Room of the church, having her makeup done, and I was sitting nearby, checking Spacehook on my iPhone to pass the time. Guess who popped onto the screen with a status update? Yes, our favorite polka duo was promoting their 7 to 9 p.m. gig at the Brau Haus. Two blocks from the reception location.
I informed Lovely Niece of this opportunity. Should I go for it? As a special surprise for the man who would by then be her husband? She gave me the nod.
Via the comment field on the status update, I asked the Locals if they'd like to stop by a wedding afterwards. Their response was enthusiastic: "We'll have the kids with us, but we are game--that sounds like fun. We love weddings! Kids ok? 9:30ish ok? Just go through the front door?" A couple more exchanges, and we had secured a visit from the entire family.
When they walked in, New Nephew's jaw hit the floor. At that moment, The Alpha and I officially sealed our status as The Cool Aunt and Uncle. At one point he was hollering at us, "I love y'all SO MUCH!"
I leave you with a selection of video clips. My only regret is that I didn't have the camera set on high resolution.