The wedding of the century

Tue, 05/24/2011 - 13:13 — Carrie

I recently went down to Alabama for a secret event. Very secret. Almost no one knew about it. And even fewer people were invited. In fact, the only ones invited were those who almost daily conversed with the two main participants in the event. It was rather odd keeping it a secret. Kinda adventurous, but still odd. I knew I was concentrating too much on keeping it a secret when I almost didn't tell the guy at the rental car counter why I was down in Alabama. ^_^

Anyway. It's a secret no longer. Kimberly Umphress, nee Godin, and Christopher Umphress are now joined in that most holy state of matrimony. Yup. Married. I saw it with my own eyes. I wrote my name as a witness in the family bible. And there's no way they faked that kiss. Tongue

I won't tell the story of how the marriage came to be. You'll have to pester the bride and/or groom for that. I will tell my part of it, though. I first heard of it the night after I returned from my last trip to Alabama (see one of the previous blog posts) for a camping trip. Turns out there was more than one reason Chris stayed longer than the rest of us. Tongue

At first, I was unconvinced. I clearly remembered an announcement made on Facebook the previous Fall that ended up being the joke I thought it would be. Yet, behind that joke lurked a secret suspicion. There was just enough truth in it. And so, when I had the oppurtunity to observe the two culprits together just this spring, short a time though it was, it really wasn't hard to pick up on the fact that something was going on. That, combined with the fact that Kim managed to delay her homegoing by several weeks, and hang out in Texas with Chris for that amount of time, certianly did nothing to turn me off of my suspicions. The seven hour hike the two "got lost" on while camping in March only added fuel to the fire.

So a relationship did not come as a surprise. The engagement did. Most people, when they get married, they're more traditional. "Oh yes, he and I are dating/courting/other-relationship-term." Very few people jump straight from, "I think we might like each other" to "Yes, we're engaged and planning on getting married in about a month and a half"


So yeah, I was a bit surprised. But then, could I really expect different from either Kim or Chris? Laughing out loud

I threatened to crash the wedding if I didn't get an invite, but I needn't have worried. When the invitation arrived it was beautiful. And I'm glad it wasn't in greek. ^_^ I made my plane reservations, took the time off work, and tried to not freak out too much. I didn't have any responsibilities at the wedding, so that made it easier. Well, no official responsibilities that were stated before I got there. Tongue

And so, one cool evening on May, I boarded a plane for Atlanta, Georgia. My flight was set to come in at the same time as Mark's, and we were sharing the cost of a rental car and driving down to Phenix City. My flight was delayed about half an hour. When I got in, I checked Mark's flight on my phone and discovered that it had been quite early. I wasn't sure where Mark would be, but I had to get my luggage from baggage claim, so I figured I'd head over there and give him a call on the way. A few seconds after starting down the hall, I looked around to see if I could figure out where baggage claim was. Turning around, I found Mark seconds from sneaking up and scaring me. Tongue

We got the car and drove down to the Godin's, stopping on the way to get something to eat, and to pick up some things at Walmart. We got to the house past midnight. I was very tired. People talked for awhile, but I remember nothing about what was said. I fell asleep on the chair. I awoke with a start about an hour later and realized everyone had either disappeared or fallen asleep where they'd been sitting. I moved to the couch. I woke up again when people went outside to greet Chris and Bree's mom and other brother, Jeremy. That was about 3 in the morning. I moved to the bed, then, and slept until 7 or so.

The day passed in a blur. It was full of merriment and excitement. Food and festivities. Trips to Walmart for random stuff and secret supplies. Excursions to the treehouse to admire.  Trips to the other house to inspect the cake. We took all the flower garlands and wreaths out to the woods in the afternoon to decorate the Chapel. We fussed and prodded and fixed and tweaked. Finally we got it just right. And then the wind picked up and we knew that it would start pouring any second. In a frenzy we grabbed down the wreaths and threw them (very gently, so as not to wreck the flowers) into the bed of the truck. Halfway back to the house, the garlands were suddenly remembered, and several people leaped out and ran helter skelter back to get them all down. Much laughter and hilarity ensued, but we all managed to get to the house and inside before getting too very wet. It rained most of the afternoon and evening.

Saturday dawned cool but clear. Most people were up late-ish. Everyone seemed to have a hundred things to get done. The cake was busily being put together up at the other house. Cars were coming and going. The photographer was rushing people into the woods for practice pictures. We went on out to pose approprately along with the bride and groom. Then, after a short practice session, those two rushed off to do whatever last minute things they needed to do.

The rest of us were left to complete the decorating of the Chapel in the Woods. This involved much debate and discussion about the proper way to do such things as hang the flower garlands, and hang the arch. The arch especially was exciting to put up. Laughing out loud

Everything looked very nice when it was all done. We were almost completely pleased with the results of our decorating. When we got back to the house, we split up to enjoy various and sundry activities. Mark and I headed back out to Walmart to get some other stuff. With all the craziness going on at the house, it was nice to just get away to where it was quiet. More secret supplies were procured and back to the house we went. I spent some time that afternoon up at the other house helping to make roses for the cake. I discovered that I was excellent at making flowers. The only problem was, I was only good at making carnations. I couldn't make a rose for the life of me. >_<

By evening the activity was starting to wind down. Pizza was ordered, collected, and duly eaten and enjoyed. Then we all were treated to a concert in the backyard put on by the Godin's. It was wonderful. A bit bittersweet, as well. It seemed to be Kim's farewell concert. Very sad.

After the concert was officially over, people continued to play and enjoy themselves. I went into the house with Sara and Chad and we had a wonderful conversation. We were the only ones in the house. The phone rang. I didn't answer it. Then it rang again. I wondered if I ought to answer it, but didn't, feeling bad. When it rang a third time, I was really feeling like i ought to answer it, even though I hadn't a clue who it might be or what I might say. Chad and Sara thought my conundrum was very funny. Finally, I decided to go over to the other house. This eliminated the problem of answering the phone.

Walking into the kitchen where the cake was being put together, I overheard a conversation. Karen's mom was saying "I don't know where Karen is. I keep calling and calling the house and no one will answer!" I exchanged glances with Chad and Sara, who were smirking at me. I felt properly ashamed. Tongue

The cake was very beautiful. Roses were still being made. Attempts were, anyway. Chad tried his hand at it and didn't do too badly. After awhile I headed back down to the house alone. It was quite dark at this point and the night was quiet. A distant murmer of voices could be heard from the backyard. Crickets and peepers were singing merrily nearby. It was a lovely night. Then I ran into Mark, and we decided to do some dancing out on the basketball court. The hope was, once we started up the music more Godin's would come rushing out and we'd have a merry dance party, but it didn't quite happen so. Instead, we just practiced some cool swing moves for awhile. Eventually, Kristian and Sam came out and we had a foursome. It was very much fun. Laughing out loud

When we were all danced out, we went back into the house. A few last minute things were getting done, but mostly we just sat around and didn't do much. Knowing we had to be up early in the morning prompted us to go to bed early. Well, early-ish. Laughing out loud

Sunday came. Wedding day. Everyone rushing hither and thither getting ready. Kim got her hair done by Amber and it came out absolutely gorgeous. Then she sat in the living room in her wedding dress waiting for time to go out to the woods. Chris came in and was met by a general shout of disapproval. He didn't care, and came in anyway. Typical. ^_^

Before we knew it, the time had come. Guests headed out to the clearing. The bride gathered her skirts and made her way out to the truck that would carry her down to the woods.

Then, the wedding. Impromptu flower girl. Singing. Walk down the aisle. Vows. Forgotten rings. Man and Wife. Kiss. Christopher and Kimberly Umphress. It was a very fast ceremony.

Pictures were taken. Many, many pictures. People were arranged and rearranged. Smiles were pasted on, instructions were given, confusion sometimes reigned when no one knew which camera to look at. Then the family members were excused to return to the house to prepare the reception while the groom and bride stayed behind to be shot some more.

Activity. So. much. activity. People rushing every which way putting together food and tables and chairs etc. I was called upon to make the punch. I think it turned out pretty good. I was rather proud of my punch. Laughing out loud

Then! Someone put pinapple in my punch! I was momentarily horrified, before I realized that pinapple would probably make it better. It did. I was humbled. ^_^

The reception went well. Everyone got food. It was delicious. There was a lull. Certain of us looked at each other and muttered under our breath. A couple people disappeared, one at a time (so as to avoid suspicion) and gathered certain aforementioned secret supplies. Then, one by one, we made our way out to Sasha.

Back story: Kim was not as clueless as we had hoped she would be. She had hidden the keys to Sasha, which effectively kept us from moving the car to the back of the house where it wouldn't be seen by the entire reception party. We did, however, manage to get the truck parked between Sasha and the reception. It wasn't perfect, but we hoped it would be enough.

So there we are, trying to remain hidden behind the truck, while festooning the car with streamers, confetti, ribbons, and window markers. Before we'd barely gotten started, however, we heard commotion in the background. Oh noes! They were having communion and we were missing it! Hoping to not be noticed, and realizing we couldn't leave now without drawing undue attention to ourselves, we pressed on. Then the cake! Oh dear, we were missing the cake cutting, as well! Doggedly, we continued, peeking through the windows of the truck at the activity beyond, and hoping our absence wouldn't be noticed.

Unfortunately, when there are only 30 people at the wedding, and only four non-family members, the absence of those four people is noticed. In the midst of our clandestine operation we were suddenly startled by "HA! I caught you!" Turning, we saw Chris standing triumphantly off to the side surveying our work. "Now you have to clean it off!" He said regally. Laughing, we refused, and continued to decorate. The cat being now out of the bag, we took no more pains to hide our work, and liberally covered the windows with hearts and various sayings such as "Honk for a kiss!" and "Just Married! xoxoxox"

Then came the dancing. First it was the waltz. Kris, Jen, Mike and Mark got out their instruments and played a wonderful rendition of Ookpik Waltz. Kim danced with her dad, then Chris cut in. Their waltz didn't last long (although it ended rather spectacularly ^_^) and a few other couples went up to take their turn on the dance floor.

The reception was over. Kim and Chris went inside to get changed and ready for their departure for the honeymoon. We all hung around and did a few dances. That was fun. Then. "They're coming! They're coming!"

Excitedly we gathered around the car. Chris had, by this time, removed the streamers and confetti, but we were happy to see he was leaving the window marker on. Rice was passed out, as well as a couple more secret items. Out of the house they came! Rice flew everywhere! Silly string flew everywhere! Laughter and merriment surrounded us all! We yelled! We waved! We wished well! We laughed! And then.....

They were gone.

Rice lay on the ground. Empty food plates littered the tables. Flowers and streamers drooped from their places.  A stillness hung in the air. For a couple minutes, not much was said. A general feel of melancholy surrounded us all. Well, me anyway. Tongue

We perked up soon when we realized there was more dancing to be done. Laughing out loud

The afternoon was full of cleanup. The clearing was cleared, the reception area was made less receptive, and all the food was packaged up and taken care of. When cleanup was over, games were played and conversation was had. By evening I was exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, I was able to get away for a bit. Smile

When we got back, there was a bonfire going on in the backyard. Gabe, Kris, Jen, Bree, Mark and I sat around for awhile just talking. Around two o'clock we decided to go to bed. I went back into the woods to the chapel to think and pray for a bit. It was wonderfully calm and peaceful.

I slept. But not enough. When I got up on Monday morning, I was feeling like I could probably sleep much much longer than I had. Never-the-less, I got up and started packing. Bree was still sleeping, so I tried to be quiet. Eventually she got up. I finished packing. I puttered around the house. I ate breakfast. I puttered more. I made small talk with various family members. Then it was time to go.

So off we went. We waved. They waved. Then we were gone.

We drove back to the airport. We found food in downtown Atlanta. We returned the car. We went into the airport, through security, and sat around waiting for Mark's flight to get there. Once he was on his flight, I found my way to another gate. It turned out, my mom was at a layover in Atlanta the same time as me, so I hung out with her for a bit until her flight got there.

Then I waited for my flight. And waited. And waited. And waited. My flight ended up being three hours late. When I did finally get home, I was so tired I could barely think. I started to drive home when my car began acting up. It wasn't shifting well. I freaked out. A variety of circumstances came after culminating in a tow truck towing me off the highway and home, charging me an arm and a leg to do so. The tow truck driver assured me that AAA *should* reimburse me for *most* of it. Tongue

I got home. I slept. The vacation was over. It was good. It was fun. Smile

You should have said, "I was

You should have said, "I was pleased as punch."

I for one

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. ^_^

The kiss was totally faked. Sorry to break it to you. : d

Mark gets a fail in sneaking and scaring tactics. ^_^

You only met "some [of] Chris' and Bree's mom and other brother Jeremy"? Tongue

I have to laugh that you call going to Walmart  'escaping to some place quiet' Laughing out loud

:cracks up at phone tale and new pineapple story:

I really *really* wanted to come out dancing that night. Sad I had to finish packing though.. >_<

:smug: Chris warned me to hide the keys to the car a week earlier. You wicked sinners deserved to miss out on communion and  the wedding cake. Tongue

Wonderful coincidence you got to meet your mom in ATL. Laughing out loud


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