This weekend, we packed up the family car and headed out for a wedding that had been on our calendar for some time. Pat’s former co-worker Brooke, whom he has a particular fondness for, married her beau Nick, whom I happen to have a particular fondness for.
The first time she brought Nick around, Brooke & Pat were getting ready to run a week long trip. They took off to buy food for the next week, leaving me to entertain Nick. He helped me can a half of bushel of peaches, we made a pot of gumbo, drank a 12 pack, talked politics, religion & family and by the time Pat & Brooke had returned, I had decided I was keeping him.
When they showed up last summer to tell us they were engaged, I had Nick rearrange the ceiling fans in my house in celebration. Friends that you share projects with are the best friends, aren’t they?
Nick had proposed to Brooke on some property his family owns in Bedford County. It was so beautiful out there they told us, that they wanted to have the wedding there. There are some areas of Virginia that are so beautiful you simply cannot describe it, you have to just see it to believe it. Bedford County is one of those areas.
Penn’s Mill Farm, where the wedding was held, is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nothing. Lots of winding country roads. Breathtaking views. We turned at the arrow, drove up a steep, freshly graveled road that led to this:
In the middle of a field on top of a mountain, surrounded by hay bales and more mountains were several tents staked together, which served as the site.
The setting was breathtaking. Mountains every way you looked. There were a few houses in the valley over yonder, but for the most part, it was all nature.
The groom surprised the bride with a horse drawn carriage to bring her to the ceremony.
The ceremony was short and sweet, with a most perfect backdrop.
I think I took about 100 shots of the landscape.
As twilight started to set in, Edie commented on how the mountains appeared blue. That’s why they call them the Blue Ridge baby girl.
At one point, the four year old niece of the bride absconded with my camera. She took, literally, over 100 pictures. This is one of the better ones.
I mention this because at a wedding we attended years ago, there was fun with cameras. There may have been tequila shots involved, but my friend Greg & I started picking up abandoned cameras on tables, taking pictures and putting them back down. The bride and groom at that wedding said they received well over 50 pictures of us, sent by various guests for months afterwards saying “I don’t know who this is, but clearly, they were having fun.” It was only fitting something along the same lines happen to my camera at a wedding at some point.
There was a whole crew of Pat’s former coworkers and their better halves, some of whom I’d never met, despite the fact that I’ve hosted their husbands many times over the years. There were friends I hadn’t seen in forever, mostly because life and kids have gotten in the way. We have always packed Edie up and taken her everywhere with us, so she spent the day hearing about all the times her parents brought her to this or that. Her first overnight trip away from home was with this group. There was a point in time during her terrible two’s that only Deidre could get her to go to bed without a meltdown. We were the first ones of this group to have kids and we were the only ones to bring our kid along this weekend. We’ve always brought her along though, so this is nothing new. Our friends are her friends too you know. Everyone was amazed at how much she’s grown into a little lady over the last few months. I know she had to have gotten sick of hearing this, but she smiled and accepted the compliment graciously every time.
When Edie saw the horse and carriage coming up the drive, I heard her mutter, “I’m gonna need one of those”. When she saw the pink shiny Toms the bride was wearing, she took notes. My baby girl might only be 10, but those wheels are already spinning on what her ‘princess’ day is going to be like and Brooke, you have just written a few pages in her playbook.
This was, hands down, one of the best weddings we’ve been to. It wasn’t just that the location was stunning, that the weather, despite being hot and muggy was really sort of perfect, that the food was plentiful and amazing and just kept coming late into the night and that there was an endless supply of alcohol. Yes, it was a kick ass party, as we knew it would be. Brooke and Nick are the type of folks that have never met a stranger, so their wedding was full of kindred spirits that had not met yet. A good number of folks camped out on top of that mountain, meaning the party went all night long. (I do mean ALL night). There was a bonfire, there was a picking circle, there were fireworks. There were late night ribs smothered in the best damn bbq sauce I have ever had. The port-a-john was the best I’ve come across – it was airconditioned and had real stalls, that flushed. It was the cadillac of port-a-johns.
What made it such a great wedding was the couple throwing it. Together they radiate a love and contentedness that you see when two people truly fit together. It was one of those days where everything in the universe seems complete and exactly as it should be. It was magical and a perfect reflection of who the bride and groom are. Congratulations Brooke & Nick, and welcome to your happily ever after.