The boy is married.
Saturday began with another huge, family-style breakfast featuring scrambled eggs, huge strips of thick-cut bacon, hash browns, fruit, and some amazingly buttery country biscuits. All one had to do was slather some apple butter on those biscuits, pile on bacon and eggs, and make a sandwich. The dining area was crowded and noisy with friendly banter. Mentally, I was ticking down the hours to the 5:30pm wedding.
A bit before lunch, my brother David and I decided to drive out to the local general store to restock the fridge of the resort's hospitality suite. Much of the food provided to us came right out of Sean and Jeff's pockets, so David and I thought we'd pitch in. The folks at the general store proved friendly and helpful; one woman at the counter greeted me in Korean: she and her husband had lived in Seoul, at the Yongsan garrison, and their daughter had been born in Korea. The only hitch was that the store's soda cans cost us a dollar each, which was unreasonably steep. David and I opted to restock with only a dozen cans of soda instead of two dozen.
I made a discovery while at the store, however: a bottled cream soda called Saranac Black Cherry Cream which, when I tried it later, tasted incredible. I'll be buying several more bottles for my buddy Mike and his family when I leave the resort. Cream soda always feels retro to me, and it has the weird effect of transporting me back to the 1950s, an era before my time.
Lunch was sandwiches, pita chips, and crudités, courtesy of Sean and Jeff. I had planned to avoid lunch as the wedding time got closer, but in the end, I succumbed to temptation and ate a small wrap sandwich and a small roast-beef-on-croissant sandwich.
The weather got substantially colder and cloudier during the day; the wedding's location still hadn't been finalized: indoors or out? It was at last decided to stick to the original plan and hold the wedding outside on one of the resort's massive decks. There was some worry that the guests might quickly become uncomfortable, but we all knew the ceremony was scheduled to last only about half an hour.
As the afternoon went on, we were summoned to two photo sessions: one called "rustic," the other "formal." In the first case, these were outdoor shots with us in casual wear, taken by intrepid photographer Rodney; in the second case, we got into our formal wear (suits and dresses for everyone else, but a warm, thick hanbok for me). Lots of posing; lots of complaining by the womenfolk about the cold, about the way their dresses were soaking up water from the ground's damp surface, and about how their high heels were sinking into the soft ground.
It was a relief for all of us when Rodney finally told us we were dismissed, and we dispersed all over the grounds, having agreed to meet at 5pm in the appointed mustering room. The final half hour found me fanning myself in the room's heat; I was probably the only person happy to be outside for the ceremony itself. I entertained the ladies by going through a variety of foreign accents: Irish, Scottish, and so on. Jeff's nieces giggled.
And then, just like that, the coordinator told us it was time to line up in order for the processional. We did so, listening to the prelude music, and made our orderly way onto the deck, where sixty guests waited in the chilly air for us. Our backdrop, aside from the beautiful, fall-colored mountains, was a tasteful array of floating candles.
The ceremony itself went pretty well, in my estimation. I intro'ed the musical numbers and the readings; Jeff's sister read Jeff's selected reading (a Neruda poem) with great emotion, and my brother David read Sean's selection (Björk's "Hyperballad") with verve and humor.
I kept my homily short and sweet, starting off with a joke about how the idiot with no experience of marriage would now say a few words about love and marriage. I talked about M. Scott Peck's notion that love is an action, not a feeling; I went deeper and said that love was the mysterious source of action. I moved on to talking about how Mom's trial with brain cancer had taught me the meaning of love as the willingness to give absolutely everything, unhesitatingly, for the one you love. And I concluded on a Zen note, observing that real love is lived in the context of the ordinary: like Zen, it's nothing special, even while being extraordinary.
Sean and Jeff had created their own vows, which were lengthy. They read the vows of sets of cute cards, each becoming emotional, but never losing composure. I led the group through the declaration of intent and the exchange of rings, and all too soon, I was saying the pronouncement while the couple kissed and we all stood awash in celebratory applause.
We did the recessional, filing out the way we came. The inner circle of the wedding party went up to the spouses' suite so I could do my duty and sign the marriage license. Photog Rodney snapped away.
After that, it was all about the partying and eating. I kept myself apart for most of that: I'm not that sociable a guy. But Sean and Jeff both told me later that everyone thought the ceremony had been amazing. Personally, I have to thank coordinator Christine and her daughter Morgan, who did all the work behind the scenes to make sure everyone followed protocol. I was just an emcee, but all of us were part of a happy, harmonious whole.
Dinner was magnificent. I think it was provided by the resort. The cake-cutting ceremony, followed by dessert, was sweet and tasty; my favorite confection proved to be the seasonal pumpkin pie.
And thus, sated, I returned to my room and just relaxed into bed, my role in this wedding now done and done. Little left to do but meet a former student on Sunday, hang out with my buddy Mike, and prep for the Monday trip back to Korea. Back home.
Wow. My brother is married.