Our two families, the bride's and the groom's, meshed seamlessly, with a tangible energy of love and joyfulness infusing everything. The parents of the bride and groom in particular traveled together, with our new in-laws transporting us between camp and our hotel on Friday night, and my husband being our designated driver on Saturday evening. My son had been wound tight in the lead up to the day, because that's how he is when he's concentrating on getting everything done, but he has friends who know him well, who grew up with him at camp, and one of them, Liam, an avuncular bearded Brit, who is now the director of camp and lives on site with his wife and young son, took my boy in hand. "Come with me, lad," he said on Friday afternoon, taking him by the shoulders. "There are many people here who can move the tables and set up the chairs. Right now, I just need you to relax."
My daughter Kai and niece Leisa had made us all pledge to be "the easy family," meaning we would solve logistical queries on our own, rather than having my son Raddy have to concern himself with such details as when the bus was scheduled to depart the hotel where they had a wedding block for guests reserved (the hotel concierge knew the answer) or how to actually find the open sided lakefront chapel on the winding paths of that sprawling camp and conference center in the woods (my daughter in law had put up signs). My daughter said it best. "I think the best thing we can do for Raddy is to be happy and have a good time," she advised, "because we all know he tries to take care of everyone, and if he sees we're not okay, that is going to stress him out and he's going to try and make things okay for us when he should be focusing on himself and his bride." She was so right. And so I pulled a zen-like state of peace and calm around myself like a cozy cloak, resolved that I would just roll with whatever happened, happily letting everything just be.
When the man and I arrived for the wedding rehearsal on Friday afternoon, to be followed by the welcome party for guests who were already in town, my son came over and bear hugged me, thanking me for being "so chill." "I told Kai and Leisa that I needed to call you and make sure you were still alive," he joked, "because I hadn't heard a peep out of you all afternoon." Their response: "You're welcome." I really could go on and on about the weekend, with its sublime late summer weather and beautiful loving vibe, and everyone's fascination with the familial bond among the now grown "camp kids," who turned out in force, but I think I will just stop here, because there is really no way to truly capture how magical it all was, how perfect in the end, and now I have a beautiful new daughter in law who in truth, I have loved from the first day I met her back in the spring of 2015. She and my son understand each other. They laugh easily together. As one of my cousins who was meeting Shannon for the first time said, "They are so obviously made for each other." And I love that our two families, different as we appear, are easy and congenial, too.
The pictures above show the setting, with the wedding ceremony held in the lakeside chapel, the welcome party and reception in the camp's St. James hall, and the dinner in a tent on Pequot Field. What follows is a random selection of pictures people took. I really couldn't choose which ones to post here, I have so many in the shared album we all dumped our photos into. The professional pictures will be better and more organized, but here's my own record of the weekend for now.
The Wedding Rehearsal and Welcome Party on Friday Eve:
Getting Ready on Saturday Afternoon:
Right as dinner ended and everyone was walking back across Pequot Field to St. James Hall for the dancing portion of the evening, the sky exploded with fireworks. They were so perfectly timed, and we have no idea who staged them. "Don't look at us," our newlyweds laughed. "We sure don't have fireworks money." At two-thousand dollars a minute I imagine they don't, and these fireworks lasted at least twenty minutes, right up to the moment the bride and groom took the floor for their first dance. We decided it was just more evidence of a divinely blessed union.