Tuesday, June 08, 2004

This past weekend was the wedding of Galpal (from my May 25th post). Feel free to read back for a refresher.

I have been looking forward to this wedding for months. Ex-Hubby and I, who are both singing in the wedding as part of a quartet, talked things over about bringing dates and whatnot, and he assured me that he would be fine with me bringing my bf. So, my sweetie came with me. I've lost around 15 pounds, I had a new black mini dress, I had a beautiful romantic weekend in Block Island with my bf, including being part of the perfect wedding of one of my closest friends. Everything should have been perfect.

Would I be writing about it if it was?

Aside from the fact that I forgot the directions, schedule, and all paperwork sent in regards to this event, the trip started off relatively fine. Saturday AM bf and I had a long, relaxing ride through 3 states as my sweetie drove us to the Block Island ferry dock in Point Judith, Rhode Island. We enjoy each others company and entertain each other sufficiently for long road trips, and when we're talked out we like the same kinds of music. after about three or four hours on the road, we parked the car at Point Judith, got some fried clams for lunch, had some local homemade ice cream, and got on the boat to Block Island. Nice pretty boat ride. It lasted about an hour, and we unloaded in the Block Island southeast harbor.

I had booked us a room at The Bellevue House B&B. The inkeeper is delightful, and of course it's adorably furnished as a quaint island B&B ought to be. However... the room was about 8x10 with a full-size (as in too small) bed, no alarm clock, and a space heater, without which we would have frozen to death. The temperature was in the 60's. We shared a bathroom with 6 other rooms. They served a continental breakfast. Which is probably all I could expect for 70-something bucks a night. We laughed about it and decided it was fine for just one night.

Bf couldn't stay the whole weekend. We were both bummed about it, but the Sunday of Galpal's wedding just happened to be the same day as bf's dad's 65th birthday AND retirement Party. It's a once-in-a-lifetime Family Event. His sister drove in from Kentucky. He HAD to go. I understood... but it put a damper on things. The main reason I was so unafraid of this wedding - and all that my Ex-Husband's presence might entail - was having my sweetie to dance with, drink with, and leave with. Nobody should have to do a wedding alone... especially under circumstances such as these. But... I tried to be understanding and supportive. I put on a brave face. How bad could it really be?

As the day progressed, the weather got worse. I had to leave my sweetie to his own devices for about an hour while I participated in a music rehearsal and then the wedding rehearsal. The wedding was held at this place, not far from my B&B, so I walked across two farmsteads to get there. Of course it started to rain. By the time Ex-Hubby, the tenor, the soprano and I met at the venue, the clouds were roiling across the sky and a freezing cold wind was blowing. "It's coming," Tenor said, looking upward. "If it doesn't come now, it will come tomorrow." We all stared at the sky. The wedding was supposed to be outdoors, on the sizeable patio, overlooking the ocean. The Spring House Hotel does an average of 60 weddings per year, and they had an indoor contingency plan, but...

Soprano was late, so I tried to make polite conversation with the guys. EH was oddly cold toward me. I played it cool, but he was bordering on rude. I was perplexed. I had been looking forward to seeing him, reminiscing about watching Groom pining away for Galpal when they first met... lots of great memories we have with this couple! But when I tried to talk to EH, he actually walked away from me. "Are you ok?" I asked sotto voce. "Fine, just fine," he lied.

I really didn't get it. I'd been nervous about him seeing me with my bf, but that hadn't even happened yet, and besides, he'd said he was fine with this! Finally I just left him alone; it seemed to be what he wanted. After I got over being stunned and confused I realized that my feelings were very hurt.

Other than that, everyone was well-behaved. We sang through the two songs and smugly congratulated each other on how great we sounded.

After a half hour of that, the formal wedding rehearsal took place. Utter chaos. The minister barked orders. Galpal was confused. The flower girl whined and refused to participate. The nadir was the minister lecturing us musicians about why this bride was being presented by her parents instead of given away, or some such politically correct version.

"Musicians - Attend!" She cried. Everyone went silent, listening. She then proceeded to lecture the four of us for a good 5 minutes about the giving away of women as chattel in ancient times and how the wording has been changed to reflect the woman's modern satus as a fully recognized individual. "Why is she lecturing US?" Soprano whispered. "Have we been giggling too much?"

"It's my fault, sorry..." Tenor muttered. We all looked confused. Apparently Tenor had asked the minister if our cue for the second song was right before the bride's father was to give her away. Now, I'm a feminist and very much believe that the traditional wedding service needs alteration, so I totally support the change in wording... but forcing us to stand out there in the freezing wind like that, not to mention putting someone on the spot for asking an innocent question... our lips were turing blue. We hated her.

Whatever. At 7:30, we all headed to this place for the Rehearsal Dinner.

I hitched a ride with the Bride's parents, who graciously offered me a ride in their car. This saved me from having to ride in EH's car, uncomfortable for many reasons. When we arrived at this gorgeous Hotel overlooking the harbor, it was getting dark. It was gloomy, rainy, and resembled a horror movie. I frantically searched for bf and there he was in the lobby. I was tense. God bless bf, he was all smiles. He gave me a quick hug and kiss, took me by the hand and in we strolled.

Or, we tried to. The entire dinner party was on the outdoor terrace of the hotel. There was about one foot of walking space between the tables. There were about 50 people there... we all got to know each other VERY quickly. Once the sun went down, the temperature plummeted to the 50's. It rained harder. In record time, the staff hermtically sealed us in by encased the entire terrace in thick plastic with a doorway that zippered closed. It kept the rain and wind out, but not the cold. We made conversation through chattering teeth.

Now, the Groom's family traditionally is responsible for the rehearsal dinner, so I have to assume this was the case here.

It was a barbeque buffet. Chicken, ribs, potatoes. I had never met the groom's family before, but this supports the Groom's Family theory - typical Jersey Italians. I felt right at home. It might as well have been my own family. You see, growing up in a coastal state, they think barbeque is exotic. "Da good stuff." They think seafood is boring. "What, you get that everywhere!" It's a whole different type of provincialism.

Personally, I think it's a crock. Barbeque is cheap, people. And a buffet is always cheaper than a sit-down dinner. This affair stank stingy. There were huge bottles of wine on each table that probably cost about $5 at the A&P. There were monkeys on the label. Cheap monkey red or white. It tasted like vinegar, but we were freezing, and it was alcohol... Oh, and no vegetables anywhere except for an unimaginative green salad. (No, dears, corn-on-the-cob is not a vegetable.) Dessert was a choice of chocolate sheet cake or carrot sheet cake - about 2 inches square per serving - arranged in a sort of design on a large platter to make it look nice. At least the coffee was served to the tables by friendly if somewhat harried waitstaff.

So here we have a bunch of people in summer clothes sitting outdoors in coats, layering napkins over our laps to stay warm, drinking $5 wine for the alchohol warmth and trying not to get finger food on our nice outfits, trying to carry plates of messy food through about one foot of space between two rows of tables, praying nobody decides to get up in front of us. Add to this that bf and I were the youngest ones at our table by a good 15 years.

We left as soon as I had sucked back two cups of coffee. As we were ducking out, we passed EH's table. If he noticed me or us, he made no indication. So out we went. STILL raining. Bf and I got a taxi to drive us the 4 or 5 blocks back to the B&B while we bitched mercilessly about the experience the whole way. I think the driver was amused, but it was hard to tell. Block Islanders don't like people to not have a good time on their island.

The real drama was Sunday. I'll write about that tomorrow.

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