I love a good long weekend. I love them even more when I get to spend the weekend with good friends.
I took off Friday to head to a wedding out of state, and I didn’t expect to have so many FIRSTS happen while I was there!
First Trip to Iowa
While I’ve spent a ton of time in the Midwest, I had never been to Iowa. Check!
Truth be told: I really liked it there. The people were incredibly friendly, and there was something nice about the small-town atmosphere.
My trip to Iowa was to celebrate the wedding of my friends Doug and Ron. I’d met them both in Nashville and had known them both for years… living in Colorado though, I don’t get to see the guys as often as I’d like so I was excited to spend the weekend with them!
They had an amazing weekend planned for their guests. With so many of their guests flying in from out of town, Doug and Ron invited us all to their rehearsal dinner. And, they planned an AWESOME event!
The grooms got engaged at this time last year in Germany at Octoberfest, so they planned a super-fun Octoberfest bash for the night before the wedding.
Excited to have a chance to put together a “trachten” style costume for the night… And, there were SO MANY great costumes in the bunch! I learned that the dress I’m wearing is called a “dirndl” and I also learned that you could find a lovely one on Amazon.com (who knew!)
I can’t even begin to tell you how fun this night was. Despite the fact that it was STORMING incredibly hard outside the barn we were in, we still had an absolute blast! And, if you’re been reading NTTC for a while, you probably notice a familiar partner-in-crime in the pics above.
Yep, that’s friend Donna! She was actually the maid of honor at the wedding and has been a close friend of the grooms for years.
As usual and as expected, we had a blast at the party. And, as another first, I actually enjoyed the beer (Sam Adams Octoberfest – - Not bad!)
First Same-Sex Wedding
Doug and Ron have been together for nine years, and they were ready to make it official! The ceremony was beautiful, with instrumental numbers from the wedding party and lovely readings and music sprinkled throughout. Just perfect!
After the wedding, the guests headed over to the Historic Park Inn for the reception. The venue, a Frank Lloyd Wright creation, was a beautiful backdrop for the event. The ballroom, the lighting, the skylights… all architectural perfection.
Throughout the ceremony and continuing to the reception, so many details made this wedding extra fabulous. The grooms assured everything was just right…
They had even arranged for a photo booth at the front of the hotel as the guest book. I thought this was really clever. Once you took your pictures, you had a chance to make a scrapbook page for the grooms with the new pics. While Donna and I didn’t get very clever with our page, we worked it in the booth itself…
While I loved all the details, the detail I loved the most… was the people. As a single lady, it can be VERY intimidating to book a trip like this… traveling out of state and all.
While I knew the grooms and several bridesmaids, I also knew all of these folks were going to be very busy throughout the series of events as part of the wedding party. So, I would be forced to meet new people or spend some time alone…
I have to say… I feel like I walked away from the weekend warmed by the kindness of new friends that I met, including Kathy below who was one of my faves.
Call it Midwest hospitality, if you’d like… but it was so easy to mingle amongst this group and I loved meeting so many people from so many different places!
The other thing that stood out was the amount of love at this ceremony. Example: I have never been to a wedding with as many wonderful toasts. So many people wanted to stand up and speak, and the words they shared brought me to tears multiple times.
While every toast told stories of friendship between the speaker and the grooms, there were several who spoke of the specialness of the event as well. My friend Donna toasted the happy couple and got loud cheers from the room when she mentioned the great state of Iowa for recognizing this marriage where others do not.
One of the bridesmaids told a story about her son’s reaction to the wedding… and how he was mad that they had to travel to Iowa to see the guys get married. His disappointment wasn’t because he had to leave home, but because Tennessee didn’t allow the marriage. He’s 10 years old, and he gets it. That gives me hope for the future… truly. And, I’m so thankful that there are 14 states that allow gay marriage. I look forward to the day when it’s all 50 and it’s just marriage, without any distinction.
Stepping down off my soapbox, the night went on way into the wee hours… with RIDICULOUSLY GOOD carrot cake served and dancing by all.
And by the end of the night, we all felt honored to have been a part of this very special day and that we had witnessed the marriage of two wonderful people dedicated to one another and deeply in love.
Leaving Iowa the next morning, I found myself wishing them many, many years of happiness together… and inspired by the love I felt in the room. It also reminded me to be patient… my match is out there. And, we all really need to wait for this kind of love… it’s worth it.
Thanks, Ron and Doug, for letting me be a part of this very special weekend. Love you both! xoxo