Or: How I Have Virtually Assured Myself Of The Irrelevance Of The Information Contained Herein By Merit Of Waiting Until A Full Two Weeks After Bride And Groom Returned From Their Honeymoon To Post This Drivel
I am many things to many people, but those that know me best know that there is one thing that I am not: punctual.
Sure, I have excuses as to why I haven’t posted my summation of the trip down to South Carolina to attend Brad and Lauren’s wedding – I’ve been busy at work, my wife and I have been preparing for the arrival of our child, tectonic plate shifts, etc. And yes, there was free wireless at the hotel, meaning that I could have begun my summary while still in the midst of the celebrations, but alas and alack, my
slackerlybetter instincts won out.
It is, therefore, with a mix of pride and chagrin that I hereby present My Account of Brad and Lauren’s Wedding Weekend.
Wednesday, May 11th
Wednesday evening was spent driving to meet our good friends Andy and Andrea in Virginia. Andy was in the wedding as well (Brad, Andy and I have known each other since middle school), so we intended on carpooling down to Charleston, SC. Unfortunately, Andy and Ange’s babysitter bailed at the last minute, so Ange had to stay up “north” with their son.
Thursday, May 12th
Early Thursday morning, Andy, my wife and I piled into Andy’s Jetta TDI and hit the road. We gobbled up the mileage and I must say there’s something extremely psychologically satisfying about getting 50 miles per gallon. That little TDI can book, I tell you whut.
We arrived in Charleston around 4pm or so and checked in at the Holiday Inn and, of course, my bad customer service mojo kicked in. The room we were assigned had a balcony door that was slightly off kilter, meaning that it wouldn’t shut the whole way, thus allowing both the charming sounds of high schoolers on Senior Week excursions playing by the pool and generally making public nuisances of themselves and the lovely humid seaside Charleston air access to the inner reaches of our room. I tried several times to shut the door, as did Andy, the both of us using varying amounts of force, speed and combinations thereof to attempt to secure the services of said door in keeping our room a bit more sanctuary-esque, to no avail. Not being particularly fond of either 17-year-old flirting-by-proxy or of sleeping amidst clammy sheets, my wife and I decided that I should call the front desk and ask for a maintenance worker to come up and have a look.
A “maintenance” worker arrived in the course of about 5 minutes and proceeded to perform the exact same actions I had previously attempted, namely slamming the door in every conceivable way. Gee, if only I’d have thought of that! Slamming the door! How stupid of me to neglect that particular course of action!
After a certain amount of door-slamming (by the hotel employee) and glare-giving (by Yours Truly), the “maintenance” worker then sheepishly explained that he was really just a driver for the hotel’s courtesy shuttle and he’d send up a real maintenance worker short order.
Five minutes later, the second (real) maintenance worker arrived and proceeded to perform the exact same actions as the previous worker and I had previously performed while simultaneously giving me a series of “How stupid can you get?” looks until he, too, realized that the door was, in fact, entirely non-functional as a barrier to either air or the sound waves carried on air. With a defeated look on his face, he told me to go to the main desk to ask for another room, which I promptly did. The replacement room ended up being a mirror image of our previous room, the only difference being the added feature of a door that actually closed the whole way. Guess I should have asked for that particular upgrade when I checked in…
After taking care of the room issues, we briefly bumped into Brad’s parents and relatives and said our hellos, then Andy and I headed for the lobby where we met up with Brad and the rest of the crew who was planning on attending Brad’s bachelor party – all told, around 10 guys or so (let’s see: Brad, Andy, Brad’s brother-in-law Roger, Brad’s cousin Marcus, Wha [what, no link love from Wha?], Nobrainer, Lawtonfunk [Will Lawton – no link love from him either!], Adam and myself, I think. Somebody remind me if I forgot someone.) . We all piled into two Jeep Cherokees and headed off for Brad’s Bachelor Party Extravaganza.
I’ve been told that it’s bad form to take any photos on a bachelor party excursion and so good taste prevents us from posting any pictures in this space. Plus, I completely forgot my camera and all of Will’s pics came out looking like they’d been taken by a 50-year-old wino after a serious bender.
However, all is not lost, as I have enlisted the services of a top-shelf graphic artist who has graciously agreed to render an account of the evening and following morning based solely upon my verbal account. Below is his painstakingly detailed version of the events of Thursday evening and Friday of the weekend in question:
7pm, Thursday – Red’s Ice House for seafood and Yuengling “bomber” bottles. In retrospect, starting the evening off with seafood probably wasn’t the brightest idea.
9pm, Thursday – South End Brewery and Smokehouse for pool, bourbon and cigars.
11pm, Thursday – Off to the City Club where a bachelorette (there for her bachelorette party, of course) absconded with Brad. He, as any red-blooded American man would, refused to refuse offers of whatever sweetened adult beverages the bachelorette and her crew were offering. I blame them for the events that followed.
1am, Friday – The evening was officially over.
1pm, Friday – “Hey Brad, cranberry juice and…”.
5pm, Friday – Wedding rehearsal.
6pm, Friday – Rehearsal dinner.
1:30am, Thursday through 7am, Saturday – A rough approximation of my general mental state and overall self-perception.
Friday, May 13th
After the fun of Thursday night, Friday was spent by Andy, my wife and I collecting the requisite tuxes and accoutrements from the After Hours location in the mall. Apparently, I’m extraordinarily broad-shouldered, as my tux jacket fit just fine in the shoulders but left roughly enough room in the rest of the body to fit another whole me. Back to the shop it went and a replacement was ordered.
We all stopped back at the hotel in order to drop our tuxes off and get changed into decent clothes for the wedding rehearsal.
Andy and I then headed off to the church, while my wife trailed along with Andy’s parents who were in town for the wedding and were invited to the rehearsal dinner but not the rehearsal itself. EDIT: Ahh, the perils of waiting so long to post. My wife has pointed out that, in fact, she did accompany Andy and myself to the rehearsal, as the Wetherns didn’t arrive in town until Saturday morning.
The church the rehearsal/ceremony was held in was gorgeous. It apparently is the oldest standing Catholic church south of the Mason-Dixon line, dating all the way back to the 1790’s. Quite a site (and sight) for a wedding. The rehearsal went off without a hitch, with the exception of a couple of digestive difficulty-related pauses on the part of Brad. Once the rehearsal was complete, we all made our way to the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. The food was excellent, as was the wine and conversation and to top off the night, the gifts Brad selected for his groomsmen consisted of very fine examples of each of the groomsmen’s favorite spirits (i.e., “Adult Libations”), with mine being a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera Reserve. I’m saving it for when Brad and Lauren make their eventual pilgrimage northwards following the birth of our child, as a whiskey that fine deserves to be opened in honor of a purely celebratory occasion.
After the dinner, ’twas back to the hotel for us all in order to prepare for a very early Saturday morning.
Saturday, May 14th – The Big Day
Saturday morning dawned early and brought with it the Inaugural and Final Brad Rochford Invitational Golf and Spirits Scramble™. Brad’s soon-to-be father-in-law had reserved early tee times for just about every male attending the wedding at the Patriot’s Point Links golf course and so we all piled into several SUVs and headed for the course. The order of the day was captain’s choice and so my foursome of Brad, Andy, Will and myself decided to play a round of “best ball”. The morning started off foggy, but it soon burned off and we were treated to amazing views of Ft. Sumter and the nearly-completed Cooper River Bridge. Collectively, the four of us shot an 83 over all 18 holes and Yours Truly managed to avoid completely embarrassing himself by sinking two putts and having at least one tee shot and one follow-up shot played as “best”. Of course, the rest of the round was pure krep, but then who’s counting?
After finishing up the golfing, the younger among us headed back to the hotel where we picked up my wife and then proceeded to the closest IHOP in order to observe the now-traditional Wedding Day Chocolate Chip Pancakes At IHOP. Brad awoke Saturday morning feeling much refreshed and, seeing as he hadn’t eaten any solid food for roughly 28 hours or so, hit IHOP with a vengeance, not only downing the chocolate chip pancakes but a steak sandwich as well. He also returned to his normal, jovial, smiling self, which was a relief. I really and truly believe that Lauren would have held me personally responsible (read: stabbed my corneas out with a shrimp fork) had Brad’s general bachelor-party-induced nausea continued into the wedding day itself.
After IHOP, it was back to the hotel to get into our rented finery, after which we groomsmen (Andy, Will, Roger, Todd, Eric Larsen and myself) and Brad headed to the church. We made final arrangements for the ceremony and began seating guests as they started to trickle in. I kept a close eye on Brad and I must say that, out of all the grooms I’ve seen and/or served, Brad was by far the calmest, most collected, most anticipatory one. It gladdened my heart to no end to see him so certain and happy with the way things turned out.
The ceremony itself was brief and beautiful; the bridesmaids all looked stunning in their dresses, the flowers were wonderful, the music was good and the Scriptures touching and meaningful. In fact, the only hitch in the ceremony came when the bishop introduced the newly-married couple to the audience: he said something to the effect of “I now am proud to present, for the first time in public, the new Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Roch…mont…ford.” Ooops. (On a side note, from here until the day I die I’m going to be asking for “Mr. Rochmontford” every time I call Brad’s house. *grin*).
With the ceremony concluded, the groomsmen and bridesmaids hung about the church for a few minutes and then hopped into a horse-drawn carriage in order to be conveyed to the yacht club for the reception. Brad and Lauren followed behind our large carriage in an open air carriage of their own. The ride through downtown Charleston was quite a bit of fun, as passerby waved to us and cars honked their horns in recognition of the newlyweds.
We arrived at the yacht club and milled about smartly for a half hour or so, awaiting the arrival of all of the wedding guests. The reception was a cocktail affair, with buffet-style appetizers, a few tables to sit down at, an open dance floor ably commanded by a live band and a full bar out on the patio overlooking the Charleston harbor. The wedding party entered to the strains of “Another One Bites the Dust” and general applause.
The reception itself is largely a blur – I recall running into a couple of friends from back in the day, one of whom I hadn’t seen since high school. I recall making my toast to Brad & Lauren, although I don’t really remember any of the phraseology, although all who heard it told me it was one of the best toasts they’d ever heard, so I guess it must’ve been good. Heck if I know.
Once the night wound down, the wedding guests that remained gathered outside to toss rose petals on the new couple as they made their way from the doorway to a bicycle-drawn rickshaw that was to convey them to their bridal suite. Andy, my wife and I then stuck around and helped move wedding gifts from the hall into the Meyers’ cars. We were all beat at that point, so we headed back to the hotel and basically crashed into bed.
Sunday, May 15th
My wife and I rose at a decent time and joined Andy in the restaurant on the top floor of our hotel for a late breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Rochford and most of the Rochford clan ended up wandering in to wards the end of our meal, so we got to chat a bit and show them some of the pictures I had managed to snap over the course of the weekend. We then said our goodbyes and proceeded to check out and pile back into Andy’s TDI for the trip home.
We decided to stay with Andy and Ange on Sunday night, as I just couldn’t hold myself together enough in order to make the 4 hour drive home to PA, so Andy, my wife and I took it pretty easy on the way back to Virginia, stopping every once in a while to stretch our legs and snap a few pictures of the gorgeous North Carolina and southern Virginia countryside.
We got back to Andy and Ange’s place late Sunday and just crashed in their guest room. All was quiet and bliss as we hit the sheets.
Monday, May 16th
I had to be at work for a 2:00pm staff meeting, so my wife and I rose early and saw Andy and Ange off to work and then headed home to PA. The trip back was almost without incident, except for the fact that a very large power line was apparently knocked down near the Plymouth Meeting turnpike exit, meaning that we and every other living soul on the Eastbound PA turnpike had to exit and Valley Forge and take the Schuylkill instead. Joy! I dropped my wife off at home and sped off to work, turned in a half day’s worth of effort and then came home to crash into my own bed with my own sheets and my own roof over my head. The weekend was beautiful and fun beyond all belief, but never has my own bed felt so wonderful.
…And that’s the end of my account. As a thanks for reading my endless recitation of the weekend’s events, please enjoy the brief photo gallery I threw together from the shots I took.