The day of the wedding has arrived. It is barely dawn, the cloud outside is thick and the breeze is cold. The temperate in the room is cold and I am awake before my alarm is set to go off. I wonder if Thomas is awake yet.
Today is starting early for us, but it started earlier for the Bride and Bridesmaids. Their scheduled time to wake up was 06:15, I was still sleeping then. Downstairs, in a place that everyone can see it is an excel spreadsheet, labeled the “Master Plan”. It lays out the schedule for the day, where everyone is to be and what they are required to do.
Roger and I get ready and walk down to the Faust’s house. Ron is walking around in his red boxer shorts, organising breakfast. Thomas is chatting to Mum when we walk inside, he is eating breakfast and drinking coffee. He doesn’t look nervous at all. We take some of the left-over breakfast that the ladies had started on for breakfast and enjoy some of Ron’s cooked bacon.
For the Groom and his men, the first item of the day is some photos. Our sister Purdey, the Photographer, arrives and things get serious, breakfast is forgotten and we are required to be in position for photos.
We start by posing, stand about near the stairs, get dressed in our suits, smile and laugh, and then help the groom get dressed. Yes, despite the fact that Thomas is 25 and has been dressing himself for at least 10 of those years we are to help him get dressed.
We four groomsmen help Thomas put on a jacket, smile and stand close. With the Groom’s photos finished Purdey disappears to the next place on her schedule. We finish breakfast, finish getting our suits on and leave home, according to the schedule.
The grounds for the wedding are beautiful. Thin trees, bare from a cold winter, surround the grounds of a castle. The ground is covered in leaves that had fallen months ago and had been covered with snow. The nice weather during the last week brought the green leaves, and small flower buds out from their winter slumber.
These trees surround a castle which was converted to host weddings. Wooden palisades and a small pond are at the bottom of a long path which separates two wedding venues. The castle, which makes a lovely spot for photos, and the upper venue, with large glass panes opening onto the wonderful trees, castle and pond outside.
We followed Purdey around and stand for photos. Hide behind trees, stand on the bridge, smile. More photos. More photos. We try and relax, even though it seems difficult. The wind is cold and the suits don’t stop the chill from coming through.
The sun shines from behind the clours and we sit on the rocks, waiting for the bride and her maids to walk down the path to join us for more photos. The groom is blindfolded for the ‘first sight’ photo, and then the whole wedding party walks around the castle for more photos.
The ceremony is both beautiful and funny. The bride walks down the isle in a flowing wedding dress to meet her waiting groom. The pastor talks about their life between two countries, how they met, how they dated and how they got to be standing in front of everyone here. After the confession of love and the kiss, the bride and groom update their Facebook relationship status from the alter.
Beautiful and funny.
The ceremony was broadcast over the internet, for all of our immediate family, who could not make it to America. At 2 o’clock in the morning, sitting under heavy covers they watched a wedding ceremony on the other side of the world.
We moved right onto the photos after the ceremony, in accordance with the Wedding Time Schedule. The photos were done in an ordered fashion, we did what we were told and they were over with no hassles. Then it was on to the reception.
Music. Dancing. There was plenty of food and lots of talk. We celebrated the bride and the groom. We talked to new extended family and friends and tried to soak in the culture of weddings in the US of A.
I assume that because of the plethora of embarrassing tales from their younger lives, the speeches from the Matron of Honour and the Best Man took place at a small family gathering last night. Today the Father of the Bride, the Father of the Groom, the Bride and the Groom each gave their speeches.
Between the speeches and goodbye circle, while sitting back watching the MC pass the microphone, I realised that it would be the last time I saw Thomas and Sarah for a long time. I made my brain slow down and repeat, “This is the last time, for a long time, that I will see Thomas and Sarah.”
Since the first invitation to be a member of the wedding party, traveling 16,000kms overseas, and standing beside Thomas as he was married, I had not thought about the bittersweet departure. After all of the things that had happened, everything we had talked about, at the finish of the reception I didn’t know how long it would be before I saw my brother again. I had never had to consider that before.
The reception ended soon after the speeches and dancing, good things cannot go on forever. The Bride and Groom said goodbye and then departed, they did have a long way to drive to find the coast for a week away.
Lifting and Lilting
It felt like a the pressure of the wedding had been lifted, but there was a sadness in the empty place. The reason for traveling overseas had finished, we had come all this way to have it finish so soon. Months of build up and planning, all done a week after we landed in America.
There was something to look forward to. Left over food and drinks back at the house of our new extended American family. Southern food and southern hospitality.