Monday, August 08, 2005

Down-Home Country Wedding in Gilbert

Seems it's the year of the wedding for us. This one, however, was a little closer to home. Not just in the same town we live in, but it was Bret's cousin, Leigh.

We were concerned. Not by the match up of course. Seems the Rodeo Queen found herself a nice cowboy. We have met him a couple of times, and he's just the sweetest thing. But we knew this was taking place at a local barn that was converted into a reception hall, and that the wedding was taking place outside. In August. In the middle of monsoon season, when it is not only signature-Arizona hot, but muggy and stormy every evening as well. I was worried about the Grandparents having to sit in the heat. I was worried about exposing my children to country music (sorry, but you can take the girl out of the city...).

By that afternoon we were hoping that a storm wouldn't blow in more than anything else. I couldn't help but think of my wedding day and those concerns that engulfed me. But as we made it to the site, the sun was shining (blaring), and people were staying in the hall keeping cool until the ceremony was about to begin. Bret's grandparents had arrived all ready, and Janet had a beautiful ring of flowers on her head, which I found out later was from her 60th wedding anniversary (this is significant later). We arrived with the bulk of the Cutler family, then something really funny happened. A young woman came up to Bret's dad and his wife Nadine, and hugged them. It turned out to be a second cousin who no one had seen since before even Bret and I were married. I had never met her myself. Blast from the past, as they say. That's not even the funny part. After she walked off, Bret's dad asked me what cousin that was. I looked at him like he was kidding and said, "uh, it's Faith, Bert." The light went on, as he had kept the scenario going as he went through the motions of hugging this person who was a stranger until 5 seconds after I told him.

Then it was time for the ceremony, and we all went and sat down. Valina flew in for the wedding, and my girls sat with her. They had missed her! I was sitting next to Bret, until he realized he wouldn't be able to video the wedding from our seats. So I got to sit all by my lonesome for the ceremony. I knew I should have brought a date! Teeheee... It was certainly hot, but we had no reason to complain when I looked at the father(s) of the bride, and all the groomsmen. Decked out in black, topped off with black hats. The setting sun hit them just as they reached the altar.

It was short, sweet, and absolutely beautiful. They had a violin/cello duo playing, which again took me back to my wedding. I also realized that we were the last Cutler wedding before this one, 12 1/2 years ago. Leigh was barely in high school then I believe. Of course, I was barely OUT of high school, but that is another story altogether...

The reception was of course, your typical reception fare. With that country twist, but I'm happy to say they had a great mix of just about everything. The most profound part of the evening started out as a dance. Silly actually, all married couples dance, and they get picked off two-by-two based on how long they have been married. The last two couples on the floor- one who had been married 39 years, and the Cutler Grandparents.

Married 63 years.

When asked "advice" for the bride and groom, they both had only one thing to say.

"Just love," said Janet.

"Say I love you when you wake, and say I love you before you sleep," said Bert.

By this time, when I looked at the Cutler's who had all gathered together, there was not a dry eye to be found. Bret's dad, he seemed to touch me the most. The Cutler men always seemed to have this rough, brooding demeaner to me. But on the inside they are just mush, and I love that. Then it went a step further, and they played their wedding song, and this time I didn't have a dry eye.

As my husband and I danced with the other Cutler generations, I looked up at him and the sparkle of tears in his eyes as well. He looked at me, a tad embarrassed, and said, "I just love them."

Big mushy Cutler men.

Then there was your regular dancing. Allison really enjoyed dancing with her daddy. Sam danced with her Nana Sue, me, and her sister as the evening went on. Allison went out and was christened to the "Rock Lobster" by her Aunt Val.

Just before we left the reception, I was a bit worried that this wedding would force some "birds and bees" talk between me and my older daughter. They did the bouquet toss, and I teased Bret telling him I was going to go out and try and catch it. (I can't imagine why he didn't appreciate that!) :-) THEN was the garter. Oy. Allison had a front row seat, and I thought back to my wedding once again, when Bret took mine off with his teeth.

Welllll.... the groom lifted the dress, and disappeared right under the skirt. After a bit, he came up and looked around mockingly, claiming he hasn't found anything yet, then dove back under. Now, I found this quite funny actually. I was thinking he should have had a flashlight or something, and come out with different props every time during his "hunt". But Allison was standing right there, a bemused but obviously confused look on her face. As good parents, we quickly explained that the bride wore a garter, it was tradition, and got the heck out of there. LOL!

More photos here.

It's amazing how weddings bring out the best in people. For me, it actually felt just like any other family gathering we have had with all the Cutler's, full of love and laughter- just better dressed.

After all this time, though I was not worried in the least, I found that I am still proud to be one.

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