Gretchen and I got married last Saturday, April 6th. It was beautiful out — a perfect day for a wedding. Our wedding was at 5 PM at our tiny Episcopalian church we attend. My father was my best man. Gretchen’s best friend, Cindy, was her matron of honor. We had invited about 22 people to attend. It was a small, intimate gathering.
With the organist playing from Handel’s Water Music, we processed down the aisle and then it was Gretchen’s turn to be walked down the aisle by her father. She looked lovely. It was great to see the faces of friends we hadn’t seen in years out there. We had a ceremony that lasted about 25 minutes, and it was wonderful. Nearly perfect. We each said, “I will” instead of “I do,” per the rector. Afterwards, we stayed for some photographs and then proceeded on to the Mayor’s Mansion for the reception. It was lovely. We had a bar with Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Reisling. We also had coffee and tea. We all mingled for a bit, while they played the wedding mix I had prepared — Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Mozart, before later kicking it into gear with the Bee Gees and KC & the Sunshine Band and Queen and the Moody Blues, etc., et al. The food was Italian, and it was arrayed beautifully in buffet format. It sure didn’t look like your typical buffet. Somewhere along the way, we ran out of wine and had to order more. Lushes — hah! Dinner was fantastic and we had a good time talking with people. Then it was time for the champagne toast, and my father gave a really excellent toast. It was very moving. Then cake cutting time. We had a simple two layer cake which looked lovely and we fed each other a piece. We’re not into smashing each other with cake. Gradually people started leaving, and we said our goodbyes sadly, knowing we wouldn’t see some of these people for a long time. Still, some long distance friends said they’d be coming back, so that’s cool. It was a wonderful reception, and I want to give a shout out to the people who were there: our parents — both of us — and Gretchen’s two sons, Sean and Jeremy (and Sean’s girlfriend, Katie). Gretchen’s friends Linda and Bob came down from Maryland. My friends Arnold and Little Amy came separately from Knoxville. Chris D and his wife Steph came from Virginia. Ami I came from Asheville NC. My friend Rachel came all the way from Seattle, which was a pretty long distance to come. Kudos and thanks to her. (She took lots of good pics too. Thanks Rachel!) We also had local church friends Dee and Kelly there. It was nice.
We spent the night there, as it is a posh B&B. Gretchen’s dad put us up there, which was nice of him, especially since he took care of the reception. We had a lovely night and ate a nice, lite breakfast with her parents the next morning before going home to prepare for our honeymoon.
On Monday, we left Chattanooga for the beach at Gulf Shores, AL. We had a fantastic honeymoon and with the exception of one day, the weather was perfect. The ocean and beach were beautiful. We stayed in a large condo at the Beach Club in Gulf Shores. Aside from the fact that one of their restaurants and their little store were closed for renovation, it was quite nice. Since it was a private beach, it wasn’t crowded and the pools were great, as were the hot tubs.
After spending time at the beach Monday and Tuesday, we drove over to Pensacola FL on Wednesday. We immediately went to McGuire’s Irish Pub, which we had heard about. The food was delicious — the second best fish and chips I’ve ever had, after Santa Monica’s Kings Head Pub. We then went to the beach at Pensacola, mostly to say that we went to the beach in Florida. We then went to tour the Naval Aviation Museum, home of the Blue Angels. It was interesting and we saw lots of planes from WW I on to the present. We could have spent much more time there, but we wanted to get back, first stopping at the lighthouse on the way. On Thursday, we went to a place where we raced go karts and that was a lot of fun. I whipped poor Gretchen’s hind end there, never letting my foot off the accelerator. Sorry honey! We then found a really cool putt putt place with a pirate theme. The game was tied after 17 holes, but I made a great putt on the final hole to win by one. Gretchen handled it well, considering she’s a self described poor loser. LOL! We went souvenir shopping in Pensacola and Gulf Shores and picked up some t-shirts and post cards. Thursday night, we went to King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant on the recommendation of Little Amy. I had flounder and shrimp while Gretchen had crab and oyster stew. We were both pleased with the place and the food was delicious. Since Friday was our last full day there, we were determined to grab some more beach time, so we did — and got a little burned. Heh. It was fun though. That night, we went to Lulu’s to grab a bite. I was less impressed with Lulu’s. It was a tourist trap and although it was supposed to be a seafood restaurant, aside from shrimp, all they had was mahi mahi and snapper. I had a burger. Their souvenir shop was virtually as big as the restaurant and somewhat gaudy. Oh well. We went back to the condo and had a cold bottle of pinot grigio. Yesterday morning, we packed up and hit the road to return to Chattanooga, happy with our wedding and honeymoon, but a little sad that it was all over after all these months of planning. We were sad, too, that we probably won’t see this gathering of friends again like we did at the wedding. However, Little Amy, Ami I, and Rachel all said they were hoping to make it back some time this year, so that’s something to look forward to. I also have to look forward to spending the rest of my life with my one true love, Gretchen, my twin soul cubed. We’re a good match and we’re happy together. I guess that’s about it. Tomorrow we start back to work. Tomorrow is also Gretchen’s birthday. I wish we didn’t have to work on her birthday, but I’ve gotten her a cool gift, so I think she’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!