DAY 5.5: SATURDAY (THE WEDDING)
Arriving back at the hotel slightly sunburned but none the worse for wear, we showered up and put on our Sunday best (despite it being Saturday, it is known far and wide that it is permissible to wear one’s “Sunday best” on any of the other six days of the standard week).
We made our eighteenth stop of the week at the neighboring restaurant for a quick drink before heading off to the site of the wedding a mile or so away. The place happened to be one we passed during the Tour earlier that morning, a bed-and-breakfast across the street from a park, called the Inn at City Park. The cozy place had never hosted a wedding before, which I found surprising, because the yard and garden area outside seemed perfect for such an occasion.
Surrounded by trees to block out the rest of the neighborhood noises, the place had a very peaceful way about it, nicely augmented by the violinist and cellist serenading us.
Even that wild man Boo!, the ring-bearer for today’s festivities, found the place relaxing.
Let’s get serious for a second. The ceremony was beautiful and it’s probably the first time I’ve ever been on the brink of tears at one; even thinking back to it now gets me a little choked up. The clearly evident love Ross and Kelley had for each other was inspiring and made for a truly memorable event I feel blessed to have been at. The unique ceremony was non-denominational and featured a blend of spiritual Native American sensibility along with the more traditional elements we’re all accustomed to. Very cool (I’m not doing it sufficient justice with my words, so just take that on faith).
This is a good time to point you over to Ross & Kelley’s gallery of the event; their pictures are far superior to anything I could produce. There’s some great stuff in there. Click the image below to check it out.
We hopped into our cars, made the short drive back to the hotel and headed right down the street to the Stonehouse, the restaurant and bar hosting the reception up on their second floor. A dining area and dance floor inside and an open-air area outside featuring a balcony overlooking the street.
And if that mere floorplan wasn’t perfect enough, the fridge behind the bar was fully stocked with Old Chub!
Dinner was great and it was good meeting some of the folks from Kelley’s side of the aisle. Shortly after dinner, her sister gave a great speech that had them both in tears, followed by our man Dannyboy giving a fantastic speech that made all of us EA folks proud. Kudos, Dan; that was a great speech you gave. Almost enough to make all of us feel like adults for a minute or two. It really puts all those “ENNNNNNHHH’s” and “OH YI-YEAH’s” over the years in perspective somehow (about eight people will understand what I’m talking about).
The ceremonial first dance between the bride and groom was anything but customary, as the two broke it down old-school with a choreographed ballroom dance to “It Had To Be You.”
You don’t see that every day. The rest of the reception, as you might imagine, was a whirlwind of dancing (Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” made its obligatory appearance), drinking and cigar-smoking. (The restaurant’s staff did their best to keep us from doing the last and filling up the reception area with acrid smoke.) To top it all off, there was even a coin-operated breathalyzer near the bar we all made sure to enjoy.
As the reception wound down, we wished the bride and groom well and headed back to our hotel rooms to change and discuss what, if any, plans were to be made for what little was left of our last night in Colorado. Most opted for sleep after another jam-packed day. A few of us brave souls decided we hadn’t punished our livers enough and headed out for some more fun. Our first stop was a dive playing host to what I’d call a just-short-of-death-metal band; the lead singer vomiting, er, “singing” into the microphone with insane but good-natured rage. We shot some pool and had a beer while trying to avoid being stabbed. We left that place and made a stop at one of the many food carts set up along the street (a staple of any college town’s bar district) and had some hot dogs and pizza. Day full of drinking + exhaustion = exponentially delicious pizza.
Martha, Jenna and Jamie’d had about enough by this point and headed back to the hotel, while Sean, Dan, Andy and I headed to the Drunken Monkey, a place Ross had suggested we avoid. Screw that; you only live once. I was extremely disappointed with the lack of monkeys there, drunken or otherwise. However, instead of bar stools, there were swings along the bar, so I’ll give them points for that.
We quickly grew tired of the place and its noise and left, opting to head back to the food cart for another slice of delicious pizza. Man, good eats. We stumbled back down the street to the Armstrong, Sean shirtless by this point, and bade adieu to Dannyboy while the rest of us flipped on the TV in Sean’s room to watch Die Hard. That lasted about 30 seconds before Andy and Sean engaged in an epic ninja battle that may have broken the shower rod and toilet paper holder. Sean focused his ninja powers with terrifying force by shrieking, “KEE-YA!” and karate-chopping Andy’s neck at least 26 times in a span of three minutes.
I sat there laughing uncontrollably and snapping pictures while they fought to the death. After the two had exhausted themselves, I said good night and headed to my room to pass the heck out.