I have never seen my friend Tim look so happy. That moment everyone talks about–when the groom first sees the bride start down the aisle–happened just as everyone said it would. Tim looked as if he were about to cry, explode from happiness, and faint from nervousness all at once. I almost burst into tears just to see it. A small edit: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look that happy.
Children, that’s the look your partner should have on your wedding day.
The wedding was in a church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. I drove from Minneapolis with two friends, and drove from Sauk Centre to Fergus Falls with those same two friends plus Ben. He still goes to Morris, the lucky dog. It was a long three and a half hours in the car, punctuated by a visit to Keith’s Kettle for lunch.
Keith’s Kettle is advertised via billboard for about one-hundred miles of highway, and every billboard features a color photograph of Keith himself, smiling and pink-faced. It has long been a goal of mine to pay a visit to the famed establishment, and now I have. My chili was actually fairly delicious, if you’re looking for a recommendation. And we saw Keith himself, greeting diners from the front desk. He was wearing the exact same polo shirt he wears on the billboards.
When we arrived in Fergus Falls, we piled into the church bathrooms to change. I called dibs on the shower stall, and was able to shimmy into dress and heels with relative ease.
Then we found the groomsmen, two fellow Morris graduates and former Pine Hall (my freshman dorm) residents, and were brought in to hug the groom before we found our seats.
It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, draped with white tulle and navy silk. I fumbled a little through the rock version of “Amazing Grace” (rather unlike the solemn Catholic version), but that was largely overlooked. Tears were shed again (in case you’re looking to tally) when the bride and groom distributed roses to their parents and grandparents.
The reception began with an announcement asking guests not to clink glasses in order to get the bride and groom to kiss. We at table five, self-dubbed the “kids’ table” (made up of a smattering of Tim’s friends from elementary school, high school, and college) hid our disappointment and politely obliged. A half hour later, the mother of the groom came by our table to say hello and to tell us quietly that if we clinked, she would pretend she didn’t hear. So we clinked and cheered at the resulting kiss. An hour later, the bride walked by and told us quietly to clink again. Not wishing to deny the bride anything on her wedding day, of course we complied.
After cake was eaten and another round of hugs swept the hall, we piled back into the Prius for the ride home. King was with us now, squished between Ben and I in the dreaded middle backseat. It was just like freshman year. We played twenty questions. King and I sang about the ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall until Evan made us stop. We talked endlessly about how happy Tim and Morgan had looked. And how much older they had looked, suddenly. How impressively distant from the rest of us unmarried, freshly independent, jobless folk.
As we passed illuminated billboard after billboard plastered with Keith’s welcoming grin, I could almost believe that we had been on just another Perkins run in Alexandria, and were now on our way back to campus.