Well I suppose it's about time I wrote about the son's wedding. I'm not sure I will be able to find the right words to do so, but here goes...
The Story Inn in Brown County, Indiana. Story is about 20 minutes southeast of Nashville, Indiana. Jane and I had heard of these places, but had no clue just what an incredible location this would be. My daughter's wedding was phenomenal in different ways, but as a location wedding, this was simply fantastic. As a pastor, I have never in my life officiated or even attended a more unique, intimate, and absolutely fun wedding. And not just the ceremony, but the entire weekend.
We don't have a lot of pictures from the actual wedding yet (we're hoping the photographer really came through with those) but The Story Inn is a step back in time. It IS one inconvenient place to get to (their slogan), but once you do... it's pretty darn cool.
Logistically, the wedding ceremony itself was held out back of the General Store behind the old barn. Someone constructed an arbor made from sticks and branches found on-site and it stood at the far east end of the open grassy area. Chairs were rented from Violet Vintage in Indianapolis, and that just blew my mind. I was expecting folding chairs, but they were instead all different colors, sizes, and shapes of old wooden table chairs. It was amazing. 180 dining room chairs - none of which matched! Behind the chairs was a giant tent with long wooden tables also rented from VV. Everyone moved their chairs from the field to the tent after the wedding for the reception. Then, where most people hold the ceremony - on the stage of the east side of the old barn - they set up for the band and dance floor for the party to follow. At first I was not so sure about this arrangement, but someone obviously has a much better eye for these things than me because it was perfect. The band was off to one side of the stage, and that made for a cozy, frolicking dance floor (which was packed the entire night).
Most of the wedding party and immediate family were able to stay right there in Story. They have several houses and cabins, and we stayed in one of the four rooms above the General Store (which is actually a restaurant). That made it very convenient. Many of the other guests were able to stay in Nashville at either the Brown County Inn or the Comfort Inn. We had the rehearsal dinner at the Brown County Inn, and I have to say - they treated us exceptionally well, and the food was superb.
Let me see if I can piece together a timeline of events from the weekend. My parents arrived at our house Thursday evening. The Feipels came over and we all had supper together. Then as soon as Carrie got home from work Friday morning we took off for Story. It was probably 10 am or so. I drove my mom and dad in their car, and Carrie drove Jane, Anna and Bennett in our car. Drew had to work, so he brought his niece Erika (who was helping watch the kids) later that night in their car. Story is a 3-hour drive from Fort Wayne, but it's easy to get to. We took I-69 S to I-465 S to I-65 S to Rt. 46 at Columbus. You follow 46 W for about 15 miles and turn left onto 135 S and Story is about 8 miles from there. If you don't turn on 135, Nashville is about 5 miles further west on 46.
After checking into our room we took the 20-minute drive into Nashville and checked my mom and dad into their room. They stayed at the Brown County Inn. It looks a little rough on the outside, and it is old, but they had nice rooms and the restaurant and bar were really nice too. They had no problems and enjoyed their stay there. We left them there and returned to Story for the rehearsal. My sister and her son Kevin came later in the afternoon after flying into Indianapolis and renting a car, and were in a room just down the hall from my parents.
The rehearsal was supposed to start at 5 pm. When 5 rolled around the only people present were myself, Cody and Michael. I would guess it was maybe 5:30-5:45 before everyone arrived, but we still had plenty of time. People were drinking and chatting and having a good time. This was going to be one relaxed and laid-back wedding, so there was no reason for the rehearsal to not be as well.
Once back to Story we hung out in this cool little bar in the basement of the Story Inn. It is small, but decorated real old style. The bar stools are old tractor seats. Dan was our bartender, and we had a super time. They also had a bonfire outside and many people stayed out there. The bartender would come out and serve us there too and it was a fun time. At one point I pulled Isaac off to the side and we chatted for a bit (and shared our first cigarette together). Not sure why I did it, but just felt like it was the thing to do on the night before he was getting married. Anyway, most people left around midnight to 1 or so. I ended up staying out there until probably 2 or 3. I was talking to a guy from Tanzania (Joshua) who was in the wedding, as well as Randy (friend of Isaac and Ricci). We got into some deep church talk and it was good for me, and I think them as well. I finally made my way back up to my room (after getting a blanket for them) and went right to sleep and slept good.
Around noon Ricci's dad got pizza for everyone, and I think Jane and I had our first beer at noon (we didn't have anymore until after the wedding). The bar and restaurant were pretty busy all day with people just passing through. There were a lot of Harley riders and horse riders as well as other folk. From 1-4 they had a Johnny Cash tribute artist playing at the outside part of the restaurant. I sat and listened to him for awhile, as well as hanging with Anna and Bennett off and on.
In the middle of the afternoon I tried to take a nap, but it just wasn't happening, so I took a shower and started getting ready for the wedding. I wore my dark gray suit with the gray and white tie. Little did I know I wouldn't be taking it off until 4:30 the next morning. Once I was dressed I just went outside and mingled with the crowd as they arrived. We had some friends come down, and we know quite a few of Isaac's friends. My family and Jane's brothers and their families started arriving. It was a very casual party atmosphere. In fact, this would be the first wedding where people were actually drinking DURING the ceremony. The weather was perfect and it couldn't have been a better day for a fall wedding. I'd guess the temp during the day was maybe in the upper 60's and even though it got down in the upper 40's at night, once the meal was over and people started moving around and dancing, it was just right. I don't think I ever even sweat the whole time.
As far as the wedding ceremony itself... geez, it was kind of a blur. It started pretty much on time. Jane was doing pretty good until the song Isaac picked for the mother's to walk in on was Jason Ringenberg's 'Whispering Pines.' She had a 'moment.' I was the only one who made a mistake though. I was supposed to follow Isaac and Jane in, but forgot. So I just walked in after Ricci's mom. The wedding party all did great.
I welcomed people there and then read from the lyrics of Storybook Love (theme song from The Princess Bride). Dr. Barlow read a prayer, Micheal Ewing read Colossians 3:12-17, Meredith read a poem, then I gave the message from Genesis 22 - the story of Isaac not getting killed by his father. The basis of it was more about the faith, hope and love of Abraham. My point being the need to place our trust in God to provide throughout marriage - in good times and in bad. Then they did the vows. They had the traditional vows, and also their own written vows. Isaac's was 3 or 4 pages long, but really good. Ricci had actually given me hers that morning and I read them then. It was so wonderful. I ended up giving her a hug after she read hers. Then they exchanged rings, we had a declaration of community support where everyone stood and said "I do," and we finished with a prayer. I guess one other thing we did was instead of just Ricci's father giving her away, we had both mothers come up as well, and all four of us gave BOTH kids away. It was a nice, casual ceremony.
Perhaps the only problem of the night was when I dismissed everyone. Since we had to carry our chairs to the reception area, I tried to dismiss the family first - so they could get tables together. But no one really paid any attention and it was kind of a free-for-all. But it ended up working out alright. If I had it to do over I would probably have the ushers just come in and dismiss people in rows and take their chairs as they left. But whatever.
At the reception we had another really good meal. Ricci's mom and grandma actually made all the pies (they had pie instead of cake). There were several more toasts: Ricci's dad, Graham, a couple or Ricci's friends, her brother Riley, Carrie, and Chris Hunt. They had music playing while we ate and then they had the first dance and all that. Jane and Isaac danced to 'Paper Moon.' I don't remember much of the rest. Then the band started playing, and the dance floor was immediately filled with people. It was filled the entire night. I danced some, and there were even some local people who came and joined the party. It was such a fun time. Wine and beer were free, and I don't know how many bottles of wine they went through, but they ran out. I think they had 5 kegs of beer, but they didn't run out of that. It was a fun time, and fortunately no one got stupid all night long. Ricci's dad bought some Dominican cigars and was handing them out. I had one of those. I am not much of a cigar person, but I smoked on it for most of the night.
I would guess things wound down around 11 pm or so. As the crowd thinned out, the remainder moved to the bar inside and/or the bonfire area. I hung out inside until the bar closed at probably 1 or 2 am, then I went out by the fire. People hung out there for awhile, but somehow it ended up just being me and Drew and Ricci's two brothers, Riley and Jake. We talked for quite awhile (and there's a rumor that we laid in the road at one point, but I'm not admitting to anything). I think we slowly started to fade out, and I guess it was about 4:30 when I made my way upstairs. I don't remember much until around 8:30 am - when Anna was trying to stick gum in my mouth. :) A nice way to wake up.
Sunday morning some of Jane's family came back and we had breakfast downstairs in the Inn. It was mostly family and wedding people and I mingled some more. I was feeling pretty rough though, but I was just trying to take it all in. We had to check out at 11 am, and after that we just hung out in the restaurant. We eventually all said our good-bye's, and Jane and I headed for Nashville to meet my parents and sister and Kevin. We got there just after noon and the town was hopping with people. We had never walked around the artist colony area, and it was packed. We found my parents - they were eating - so we walked around and looked in the shops for awhile. We finally left and went back to their hotel. Deb and Kevin were flying out of Indy, so we stayed until they left at 2:30 pm. Then we headed back for our home. I drove my parent's car with my dad and Jane drove our car with my mom. We made it home in good time, then the Feipel's came over and we had pizza together.
My parents left Monday morning, and Jane and I were kind of in lala land. As I wrote on Facebook, I ate too much, drank too much, smoked too much, and slept too little, but it was one of the best times I've had in a long, long time. Maybe ever. I can't wait to see the pictures from the photographer. That was my only regret - I didn't take a single picture the whole time. Fortunately Jane (and Anna) took these pics before the wedding. Here is Anna bringing Jane her camera bag and purse.
Well, this is one long post, but it was one very good weekend. Hopefully Isaac and Ricci are enjoying their honeymoon in Cancun. Well done.
ADDED LATER: the link to some of the wedding pictures... - http://www.emilyweisphotographyblog.com/isaac-ricci-story-indiana-wedding/
ADDED 10/19/13: the link to the awesome wedding video done by Drew Beaty...