A few weeks ago, Jeff and I decided, for various reasons which I will not go into here, that we didn’t want to wait until our original wedding date of May 11, 2007, and decided to elope on March 17th. After all, St. Padraig’s day IS my favorite holiday, and what better way to celebrate then by getting married??
The only reason Jeff didn’t want to elope was because he wanted his parents there, so we decided to ask them along. Because my parents don’t get along (correction, because my mom hates my dad like the Sunnis hate the Shiites), we had decided to invite my dad, and just tell my mom later that we had eloped. The judge that we had already hired for the May date told us he was free, and would open up his courtroom to us for no additional charge (luckily, as after his fee I couldn’t afford an “additional charge”). I got Sarah moving on the dress, we got a license and rings, and we were all set to go.
Our plan was to go to Stillwater to get married, and have dinner later at Jeff’s sister’s house. Alison (sister) had bought all sorts of hors d’oeveres and I was making a big Irish dinner – stew with Guinness, a corned beef and cabbage, and I even baked soda bread.
Friday, I took a half day off to go get a pedicure and my nails done with the lovely Sarah, and then went home to have some final single time with my sweetie. I was craving Baja Sol, so we went to pick that up. When I got home, there was a fantastic flowery gift from Barb and Andrew. I would have taken a picture, but my sister has my camera for her trip to Poland this week. I’ll have to try the camera phone….
While we were polishing that off. my dad called. His first words were, “Is it snowing there?”
“Uh, no. Is it showing there?”
Turns out that the Harrisburg airport was shut down, and his flight for the next day had already been cancelled. In fact, flights had been cancelled for the next 48 hours, and there was no way for him to get out, as all the “nearby” airports were closed, too. He wasn’t coming. (Barb, this makes me glad that you didn’t buy tickets, as it sounds like your airports were closed, too.)
Well, that sucked.
So, I had a bit of a cry, because I was really looking forward to having him there, and then I started thinking about getting married all alone with no one there, and that didn’t make me happy either. I asked Jeff, “Do you think we should tell my mom?”
He thought we should. So I did.
“Hey, Ma. What are you guys doing tomorrow?”
“I don’t know – did you have any ideas?”
“Well, Jeff and I thought we’d get married – wanna come?”
As you might imagine, the answer was yes. What I did not count on was the fact that she would be delighted and wanted to know what she could do. I told her we were going to Alison’s for dinner afterward, but she thought that we should go to The Lexington, which was a favorite of my grandpa’s, or maybe somewhere in Stillwater. She was going to call my aunt Annette right that minute to get some information on stuff in Stillwater. I told her to go ahead and invite them along, too.
Ma called back a few minutes later and said she couldn’t get a reservation at The Lex, and that Annette thought everything else in town would be full, so Annette offered to cook dinner – for all 15 of us – at her house. On less than 24 hours notice. I know that she has a metric fuck ton of relatives, and that she regularly holds dinner parties for 35+ at her house, but still.
We confirmed with Jeff’s family, and we were ready to go!
That night, Jeff and I went to Alison’s for a dinner of Pizza Luce, provided by her very lovely new boyfriend Mike, and the four of us watched The Break Up. Then Jeff went home and I stayed with Alison, as I didn’t want him to see me on the day of our wedding. I’m not traditional about many things, but that’s one of them!
Alison let me sleep in, and I woke up to the sounds of her typing (as I was disoriented, and without coffee, I was trying to figure out what.the.hell the cats were doing that made that kind of a noise…). We went to breakfast at the Edina Grill (two thumbs way up), and then to Southdale to fix the Undergarment Emergency. While we were there, Alison also picked out another shawl for me to wear with my dress, as she was afraid the one Kristy made for me wouldn’t keep me warm enough in the 30 degree weather we had.
While we were getting all this stuff ready, my mom called me to let me know that my aunt had looked at the directions we had for the ceremony location, and that while I thought I was getting married in the historic courthouse:
I was really getting married in the new county building:
Then I went to get my hair done with the third most important man in my life, Alan at the Galleria Rocco. It was fantastic, as it always is with him.
Then Alison and I went back home, and I did some power knitting to calm my nerves while she took a shower. We wrestled me into The Contraption, and put my dress on so I could do make up (didn’t want a big face smear on the inside of my dress!)
We drove to Stillwater, and got there about half an hour early. Even though we were way early, and the judge wasn’t schedule to show up until twenty to four, we were not alone…Jeff and his parents were already there, and his sister Rachael and her husband Steve pulled in right after us. Since I didn’t want Jeff to see me, Alison and I took a little driving tour of the immediate area until Jeff went inside.
Judge Armstrong got Jeff in and had the paperwork signed (Steve and Rachael were our witnesses) and then moved everyone into the courtroom. I went in to sign the paperwork, and then we just waited for the rest of my family to show up so we could begin.
Judge Armstrong let me go in the front door of the courtroom so I could “walk down the aisle” to where he and Jeff were right in front of the bench. My family was in the jury box, and Jeff’s in the “visitor” section. They all wanted to take pictures before we even started:
And then the ceremony began:
And ended, per tradition, with a kiss:
We hung around the courtroom and had so
me pictures taken:
With Judge Thomas Armstrong
With our entire families (l-r): My parents, my sister Meredith, my sister Lauren, my cousin Katherine, my aunt Annette, Jeff, my uncle Ted, me, Jeff’s sister Rachael, Rachael’s husband Steve, Jeff’s sister Alison, Jeff’s mom Kathleen, and Jeff’s dad David.
Then my aunt took us on a little driving tour of Stillwater for some photo ops:
It was very bright out, and I’m making funny faces in all of them. Hopefully someone got better ones!
Then we drove to the Lowell Inn for some more pictures. My aunt pulled me aside and told me she had picked the Lowell because when my Grandpa first came to Minnesota, it was one of the places that he wanted to see, and he really liked it. She said that not only was it beautiful inside for pictures, but she had arranged a champagne toast for all of us. Awww!
We took lots of pictures of all the different family configurations, and by then I was getting hungry (and sick of my shoes), so I asked if we were heading back to my aunt and uncle’s. My mom said, “Well, I don’t know…why don’t we just eat here?”
Turns out, they had totally been pulling our legs about dinner at Annette and Ted’s, and my mom had reserved the Garden Room for us for dinner.
AND a cake!
(It’s a replica of Mom and Alan’s cake – she arranged the woman at Byerly’s to make it at the very last minute.)
We had dinner, and chatted for a while, and then cut the cake (the best part of any wedding!) Being a traditional sort of gal (at least when it comes to weddings), we fed each other the first piece.
And, as man and wife, we went home to start our new lives together.
(All of these pictures are from my sister Meredith)