Hutchinson Horses, Romantic Red Roses and Good Ol’ German Brew

“You and all your questions…what, are you writing a story on my wedding?”

“Oh!  Did you want me to blog about it?!”

“Well…ahh…”

If you couldn’t tell, she practically begged me for a post, OK.

I mean, it was the least I could do, after being so graciously welcomed into her beautiful home, church and family…

AND hopefully someday her couch to stay on during my still-in-the-works first trip to Germany.

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! Warning !

17th post is pretty thick, even I think it may be too large of a log to saw through.

I must admit, I’m already witnessing some pretty pathetic symptoms of withdrawal;

Sadly missing the pure action of toasting… raising my German white wine filled glass in the cool, love-misted October air.

 Prost! (cheers! in German)

***

I hadn’t attended a wedding since I was three or four years old.

My sister and I were the chubby little flower girls who just did what we were told, bribed by the words “if you are good, you get cake!”

We were happily clueless, self-assured that it had to have been somebody’s birthday.

Now, at the age of 22 and impressively more knowledgeable cake endeavorers, my sister and I headed to our friends wedding, hardly joking about just how ready we were to crash it.

As we cruised along the long dusty highway, we made sure to take full advantage of the many unpleasantly humorous smells and the sweet sight of hungry grazing horses of all different shapes and splashing colors.

***

We made it loudly KNOWN that we were the culprits, the obnoxiously proud twins blasting country love songs and bumpin’ to old school Nelly tracks.

Oh, don’t forget about Mariah Carey. I am almost positive I will never allow myself to, after hearing JK screech the lyrics of “I Can Make it Through the Rain,” lets just say… more than a few times.

I attempted to do a finger count of how many animals I had seen made road kill along the way, but gave up after two full hands.

Then, once again, I let my mind escape into my own world; fixated on the fact that I was heading to Lindsay Whalen’s hometown of Hutchinson and how upset I would be if I wasn’t able to AT LEAST scream at a TV scream during the last quarter of the WNBA finals game.

I did indeed luck out.

EVEN BETTER YET, I kissed the TV after witnessing the Lynx snatch the championship title over the Dream, remembering the glorified feeling as if I was in my very own; dancing right beside Maya Moore and the rest of my team on the Atlanta court.

***

But that is not even a fraction of the reason my weekend was full of overwhelming joy and fulfilling feelings of forever.

***

It took my attendance at a beautiful Fall wedding in rural Minnesota to gratefully remind me of just HOW blessed some madly are; to be handed the freedom to wander, search, discover and someday, even have the chance to share their place of happiness in the world…

with no one other than the one they love.

I think to be happy for one’s self can be one of life’s greatest, yet simplest accomplishments; but to fully allow yourself to enrich in someone else’s happiness, now that is a truly indescribable feeling…

a delicate blessing, hand-crafted by God.

I still can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what it was this past weekend that made me feel the overflowing emotions of gratitude and bliss.

Maybe it was because I am an emotional sappy love, blah blah blah kinda person.

Nah.

It had to have been a whole conglomerate of things that slowly began to correctly add up. Really small, yet completely from the heart type of things that made it, well… perfect.

I only wish I had it in me to explain exactly the way my heart had comfortably opened up to complete strangers; describe my vibrant enrichment in the Church’s crowd filled with family and friends, or even begin to jot down half of the beautiful and roaring whispers I was told by the swaying sounds occupying their backyard of open fields.

***

I hadn’t seen the bride to be in a year and half.

I was excited, thrilled. Although this had been a very long-awaited wedding weekend, I had always felt a close bond with the bride, even when she was falling deeply in love a world away in Germany with the groom I still had yet to meet.

We didn’t know what to expect, only praying for beautiful Fall weather in what we all widely know to never bet a penny on in unpredictable Minnesota.

As we tiredly walked up the gravel driveway up to their beautiful country-style home, I couldn’t help but shake myself awake, thrilled to finally see for myself the bright gleaming sparks of happiness in the brides eyes.

I shivered imagining how warm her hug would feel after my goosebumps had already comfortably set in for the night.

As we made our way through the door, two gigantically gorgeous dogs greeted us; first with harsh barks, then with their baby-face smiles and wet kisses. From that moment on, I knew we had only just begun to soak up the MUCH anticipated lovely weekend bliss ahead of us.

The Wedding Rehearsal

The Catholic Church was beautiful; I couldn’t get myself to sit down or look at any one thing for more than five seconds without something more beautiful catching my eye.

I found myself taking a keen liking to Father John, the bride’s great-uncle.

After he finished his short and funny rant about how no couple should go through a wedding rehearsal more than once, we all knew we all had something to learn from his continuously growing knowledge and quick wit.

I know I did.

After the run-through, I watched him slowly strut his stuff down the church aisle. I couldn’t just let him pass me. I had to say something.

As he approached me, I nervously panicked as he looked into my smiling eyes.

“I like you,” I mumbled.

What?

“I like you.”

“Oh, OK. I like you too. “

After he slowly walked away, I felt my friend’s boney fist sock into my shoulder,

“Ariel, really?! Could you BE anymore awkward?”

Hahahaha.

What?! Everyone knows from the second they meet me; I am an old soul. Don’t worry, we have a common understanding… it wasn’t awkward.

 The Groom’s Dinner

Just imagine my face as we walked in the cutesy somewhat fancy little wine restaurant, Zellas, to see my Lynx game playing up above the shiny wood finished bar.

I was really hungry, but couldn’t care less about the food or my drink order until I had come back from sneaking away to find out the score.

The food was delicious. My sister and I sat next to the father of the bride and the groom’s parents.

I had never made friends with any German people before.

My list of questions instantly began. The mother was quite talkative, I could tell she must have been at least half American. She was full.

Her fully German husband barely got a word in, and when he did, she always unnoticeably talked over him. He didn’t seem to care or notice either.

It was adorable.

They talked about how they had met in Germany when she was studying abroad. Since then, they have raised three boys and had called Germany their home for the last 30 years.

I let JK be her usual social butterfly as she asked their 16-year-old son beside her if he played tennis.

He said he was into music. And he REALLY, extravagantly, was.

He was an amazing Pianist. He would be playing the church piano for the ceremony the next day. He should have been invited to play for the Pope; yes, he was that amazing.

I still have to Youtube him!

The Big Day

We woke up early the next morning.

I forgot to mention that JK and I were previously dubbed as her “personal assistants” for the wedding (it was even in the program!).

We both asked what we could do to help and started pounding away at random chores in the reception tent to prepare for the party ahead.

After the tent tables were set and dolled, we headed inside to get ready to head to the Church to take pictures.

I  semi-panicked looking into the mirror, angered that my hair had frizzled up at the ends and I looked like complete crap. Oh well I thought… it wasn’t my day.

I then made myself agree to the fact that it was perfectly acceptable to allow myself to look a little like death, carry some extra chub and wear semi-chipped off-color red nail polish.

I volunteered JK to help with the bridesmaid’s hair and makeup. It’s not that I didn’t WANT to help, I just am really not that good at doing that sorta stuff.

I found a better fit for my time as I headed down stairs to talk about international basketball with the groom. I think the first question I asked him after introducing myself was, “So, I heard you play basketball?”

As much as we had attempted to get to the real beauty of the game’s logistics, we kept on getting interrupted by someone trying to get his full attention.

At least now I know for myself that he’s a true lover of the game. And I also heard he is also a pretty good guard himself.

Born Ready to Wed

The groomsmen wore black chucks; the bridesmaids firey red rosed flats.

The day was as gorgeous as it could possibly be and the Church was much colder than the outside warmth of the sunny october light breeze.

Although there was a lot of standing and waiting, it flew by as fast as the butterflies we could hear fluttering in the brides stomach.

Jessica and I had fun exploring the beautiful outsides of the Church. I fell in love with the old arch wooded doors and made an apparent effort to open and walk through each one.

As the time approached the start of the wedding, I was asked to record the ceremony with the newly HD camera the bride had just thrown in my hand after his quick dash to the nearest Best Buy.

I agreed and only hoped that the technology would be at least somewhat simple to control. And it was, even on a German computer. Camera in German is Kamera. That is about all I had learned from the computer screen’s foreign language in front of me.

 Bubbles and Chopped Wood

After watching the couples walk up the aisle, I couldn’t help but notice how much more delighted they looked walking back down.

We followed them out the magnificent church doors to greet and congratulate them all down the already dancing party line of guests.

With a bubble bottle in hand, I started to wonder if my bubbles would even come out to be bubbles.

They beautifully did! I was reassured by the smiling elderly man beside me as he gave me the thumbs up.

Next was a German wedding tradition.

The bride and groom had to collaboratively take part in sawing apart a tree log in front of their guests.

Mad props to them both.

With great teamwork, they managed to saw through the thick piece of a thing rather quickly, at least faster than I think I ever could with a strapless wedding dress on.

 German Food and Do Your Dance

I thought the reception tent was beautiful at 7:30 in the morning. I didn’t know how to react as I saw it in its full glory; brightened in a vine-covered glow during the flawless night fall.

The Party hadn’t even begun, until we arrived of course, or should I say until after we had gotten lost for a good twenty five minutes trying to find our way back.

As we walked past the staked red candle lit lanterns and under the garden-vined archway into the tent, we were welcomed by the bridal party table to our right and a much anticipated German family gathering to our left.

As my sister and I searched for a table to sit, I eyed Father John and quickly pulled JK’s arm in that direction with me.

My face lit up as I asked him about his hobby of hunting and his passion and dedication to his faithful rural Minnesota churches.

I also found out that he too is a St. Thomas graduate and made sure to let him know we were part of the same network.

His sister was also a darling. She proudly shared her name, Darla with us. My sister and I knew we loved her right away just after hearing that one thing about her.

The food was so good. I honestly ate as if I hadn’t eaten before.

Just one more reason why I loved the wedding of a weekend; the free hand-crafted gourmet food was an unforgettable bonus.

Oh, and don’t forget about the cake.

JK and I were the first ones in line and wanted to know if we could possible steal one of the cake layers to bring back to our table.

We had no such luck.

When we sat back down at our table, we were greeted by three middle school aged boys that we couldn’t help but laugh and exchange funny faces with.

At first, they had to of thought we were a bit wacko, but I could tell they had taken a liking to us when one asked how my German wine tasted.

I lied, telling him it was nasty as I enjoyed another delightfully good sip.

The age of Internet dating

The father of the groom didn’t fail to show off his German charm as he shared the NOW humorous story about how he had found out about his son’s American love interest through a Facebook relationship status change.

He couldn’t help but smile after looking down to see his wife beside him, knowing that once upon a time, his future wife was in America, unknowing that she would someday fall in love far away from home with a German man.

And then I Saw Her Face, Now I’m a Believer

After  we danced the Cupid Shuffle, Macarena and Electric Slide, JK and I knew it must have been close to the dreaded time leave and head back to the cities.

The bride said we weren’t allowed to leave.

Believe me, I didn’t, for even a moment, want the night to end.

As we watched the children dance under the softly litten white lights, I will never forget the last words I whispered into the blushing beauty’s ear on her day.
“You know how blessed you are, right?”
“Yes… I know. I am really, really lucky,” She replied with an exhausted yet astonished half-smile before hugging me
for the third time
goodbye.
She was always a brave soul, I thought.
And she was at it once again.
Out to prove to all of us, just exactly how brave she really was…and had to be.
She was boarding a plane to Germany that same week.
Leaving her family, friends, gorgeous doggies… America behind;
to live, love and share in her place of happiness…
with no one other than her man, the one she can now proudly title,
“my husband.”
***

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