Brother of the Bride (Suzy & Sky’s Vermont Wedding)

20 Aug

I felt truly blessed to be included in my sister’s wedding in Vermont last weekend*. I had the privilege of being a groomsman for the third time in two years, and while I was honored to be standing in the wedding of a good friend in the past, nothing felt as special as watching my family walk down the aisle. It was another weekend of incredibly long travel, but it was completely worth it to share in the love of Sky and Suzy.

*Me too! I felt especially lucky to be included in these festivities that meant so much to Zack.

Here we are, all suited and dressed up in between pictures and the ceremony. It took a while to get to this point, though. After waking up before 6 am on a Friday morning for the second week in a row, we flew to Dallas and then on to Boston where it was pouring rain and now after 3 p.m. EST. The plan was to hop into a rental car and drive three and a half hours into Vermont to make it for the 6:30 pm rehearsal dinner in which I was scheduled to give a speech. But before we could even take the shuttle to Hertz, we find out my cousin Jon and his girlfriend Lynae’s flight from Boston to Vermont was canceled due to weather*, so we scooped them up and got on the road. I’ve always looked up to Jon, since he was three years older than me and showed me how to be cool growing up, so I was happy to have him and his awesome girlfriend along for the long ride. Since it was pouring rain and we were facing Friday afternoon Boston rush hour, what should have been three and a half hours took close to five and a half.

*The weather was scaring the crap out of me. Reports of possible tornadoes?! I’m glad Jon & Lynae ended up traveling safely with us instead of in a 5-seater baby plane.

Here’s Jon and Lynae looking elegant at the wedding. At one point Jon got a feel for the Phish cover band and said, “Are they really not going to play wedding classics like ‘Shout?'” Nope. But the “Tweezer” and “Tweezer Reprised” ruled.

We didn’t make it to the rehearsal until after 8:30 (14 hours after we’d left Austin) and found the entire party was already good and drunk. We ate what was left of the dinner buffet and tried to catch up with a tall drink or two. I went to the bar and asked for a crown and crown on the rocks and Caitlin asked for something big and girlie*. The bartender poured me a full glass of crown over ice and poured Caitlin a fancy shmancy girlie drink as I checked my wallet to find only 20s. I thought to myself, “You know what, I’m gonna put some good energy out there this weekend by giving this guy a $20 tip on the open bar.” I put a $20 down and he signaled to me, but I waved him off to let him know it was all a tip. We made a couple rounds around, talking to my already drunk family and my sister’s friends. It reminded me of when I used to work until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights and had to play catch up before the bars closed at 2. Luckily, this was just the rehearsal, so we decided to just take it easy. I went back for a single crown and a smaller fancy shmancy girl drink and the bartender told me it was $16. Oh, so the open bar is now closed. And it may not have even been open the first time when I waved the guy off after my $20 “tip.” Whoops. Let’s try again tomorrow.

*Actually this isn’t true. At first, I asked for just a Coke because I was exhausted and trying to force myself awake, and the bartender gave me a really hard time about it. “Really? Just a Coke? That’s boring.” Thanks, guy. The next night, he also literally refused to give Zack water, but handed us two shots instead. BOO.

This is the pretty side of getting ready. Suzy smiling lovingly as her dear friend Cali gently lifts her veil into place. I was glad I was there to catch the moment. The ugly side of getting ready is when a hair appointment runs late and you have all of six minutes to get your dress and make-up ready. That’s the situation Caitlin found herself in. Through no fault of her own, she got back from her hair appointment at 2:54 and we had to be at pictures at 3*. She got ready as fast as she could, but that’s an impossible amount of time to get ready for anything in, let alone a wedding. My dad was understandably eager to get there and was asking for the rental keys at 2:56 to start the car. 3:00 came so fast, I had no choice but to head to pictures with him and my aunt while Caitlin was still getting ready. I felt terrible about it and sent my aunt back in the car five minutes later to get her**, but couple that with the fact that I didn’t have my tie that I was supposed to be given as groomsman and it was a tense time before pictures.***

*This being said, I had a blast at my hair and nail appointment. Zack’s Aunt Tabby treated Lynae and me to our appointments, and I got to bond with the ladies and relax before the big day. It was one of my very favorite parts of the weekend.

**Aunt Linny to the rescue!

***I want to backtrack here for one second to also mention the delicious brunch we had with some of my favorite relatives:  Tabby & AJ, Torrey, David & baby Ellie, and Jon & Lynae. We all went to Roots, which had lots of vegetarian options for me to pick from. Their bean burger was OK, but the app that stole the show was a cheese fondue that filled my belly to the brim.

Sky, Suzy and my dad looking sharp at pictures

We got about half an hour of pictures taken outside, before it started to drizzle. It was the usual photos grouping different members of the wedding party and family members that you’d expect, without the “OK, now everyone jump as high as you can!” posed pictures I’ve been forced to (totally love) doing in every other wedding party. We came inside for an hour or so before the ceremony, as Suzy and Sky signed their Ketubah (which officially made them bride and groom) and we waited for the ceremony, while keeping an eye on the rain. What comes next was one of my proudest moments of Suzy all weekend. There’s about 25 of us (wedding party and family) gathered around this kitchen after the Ketubah signing. The flower girl is crying, it’s just starting to rain and somehow Suzy is totally keeping it together. I’m going have to dissect this minute-long clip second by second to really break down what a bad-ass my sister is.

We start with the Rabbi (who Suzy has just met for the first time an hour ago) saying “So, at this point, um…* as Suzy jumps in to say “It stops raining,” as she gestures it with her hands. There’s mumbling from the crowd as Suzy scans the room for her wedding planner and asks “Where’s Chelsea,?” locks eyes with her and asks coolly, “What’s up, Chelsea?” As she asks if it’s still raining and where the guests are, watch her smile through it and not be phased in the slightest. At 0:25 she shrugs and says, “Let’s go.” The baby’s crying, but she’s locked in. She says “go, go” to the wedding planner and shakes her hair into place at 0:29. A lot of brides would be losing it at this point, but not her. She calmly reaches for a water bottle at 0:50, takes a long, careful gulp, cautious not to mess up her make-up and tilts her head and smiles. That’s my sister.

*This rabbi…hilarious. He threw in a joke near the end of the ceremony about getting through hard times with carnal pleasure (no I’m not kidding).

As I said in the intro, I was proud to walk in Jonathan and Sam’s weddings, and I was happy for them, but it’s just a different feeling when it’s family. As soon as I saw my dad walking Suzy down the aisle, I lost it. All my memories of them over the years came rushing to me and I had tears rolling down my face and looked around and saw all my family in tears and then I just smiled a lot, and took it all in.

After a short and sweet ceremony (with no rain!), the new bride and groom walked away, hand in hand as the guests threw lavender at them. This is my favorite picture of the weekend. Suzy looks so radiant as some of my favorite people smile wide behind her. We were ushered into the tent, where we were seated at tables named after Phish tour stops. We were at Deer Creek.

Suzy delivered an endearing welcoming speech from the heart, with no notes. You should watch it. It’s less than two minutes and is a charming intro to their first dance.

My dad killed it on his six and a half minute toast that started off with him wondering how he could ever love anyone more than me after I was born, before Suzy arrived. Great question. His speech was  sweet, spread the love around, brought a lot of tears and got the biggest laugh of the weekend at 3:55.


I made sure the MC had me on the list to give a speech and I got to go after the maid of honor. The theme was that I had no memory of life without Suzy and I ended it by saying I hoped our kids would  have no memory of life without Aunt Suzy and Uncle Zack in it. Even the camera woman told me it made her cry, so I got that going for me. One funny mess-up is that I printed it out, but the fourth page only said “Cheers” on it, so I left that page behind. And then forgot to say “Cheers” at the end*.

*Zack had worked really, really hard on his toast. He tested it out on me, but it only made me cry when he was delivering it the day of. He loves his family, and especially his sister, more than anything, and it shows.

The horah was off the chain. Being a jam band, they made this one of the longest horah’s of all time. They even sandwiched a Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” into the middle and then went back into the Horah for the chair lifts*. Gotta love a good horah. I thought the band was killing it all night, mixing in some Dead and Phish and keeping the dance floor hopping. At one point, I was dancing so hard, a circle formed around me and I did a couple moves before spinning out of the circle. Suzy’s friends raged to Disco Biscuits and we stayed until the very end, dancing up a storm. My legs were sore for four days.

*It was my first-ever Horah, and I have to say I adored the mixed-in “Ring of Fire.” Great touch.

Flower Girl in the zone.

We had a quick brunch Sunday, said our goodbyes and drove my dad and his college buddies to Boston Logan Airport to start another 12-hour travel day home. I’m as proud of my sister as ever, thrilled for her that it was “the best day of her life” and wish her a lifetime of happiness. Cheers!

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