It was the best of times. It was the best of times. (How’s that for newfound optimism?) Well, finally after 43 years, three months, and one day of single life, I decided to move beyond the comfort of bachelorhood and take the plunge into holy matrimony (and wedded bliss, I’m told). And in the process, I even “robbed the cradle,” so to speak, by snatching my “trophy bride” of 41 years, 11 months, and three days. Even in married life, my jealous friends continue to live vicariously through me. (Was I not supposed to reveal her age? I have so much to learn.) While the wedding weekend went off without a hitch, I must admit that there were quite a few nervous moments experienced in the days preceding. Every couple includes one individual who panics unnecessarily from time to time and another who remains calm throughout any and all “stressful” times. (I won’t embarrass anyone by sharing who is the Nervous Nellie in our relationship.)
My weekend actually started that Thursday evening when I met a few buddies for one “last supper.” That evening we all enjoyed steaks and scotches and I received some last minute “manly” advice. (Actually, my Floridian bro-in-laws chugged an appletini or two, while they intently listened to tales of my rowdy past.) My lovely bride-to-be likewise spent a nice evening with her good friends, where (I hear) they chatted endlessly about floral arrangements, table settings, china patterns, and shared their respective husbands’ favorite dinner recipes with her.
ONE DAY AND COUNTING
By Friday morning, I was perfectly calm and eagerly awaiting the weekend festivities. When all of sudden…I could NOT find the “stomping glass” (the one I was supposed to smash to “smithereens” in the Jewish wedding ceremony); AND we had a last minute cancellation (her friends) which threw our table seating assignments into TOTAL disarray; THEN I received a few calls from out-of-town guests who informed me that the hotel check-in clerks were NOT handing out the hospitality baskets. Needless to say, even the most level headed, “ice in the veins” fellow would be forced to panic just a bit. With those pieces of news, I couldn’t help but think “THE WEEKEND IS RUINED.” Luckily, I rushed to fix these catastrophes before Barb found out. (There is no telling how she would have reacted.) After a thorough search of the house, I found the glass (in the box labeled “wedding stuff”), rearranged the tables as best I could (sorry Aunt Eunice), and headed to the hotel where I proceeded to give the desk manager one serious tongue lashing over the incompetence of his staff. (I believe one of us may have cried?) With these “major” issues miraculously resolved by early afternoon, my justified nervousness passed and I began to enjoy the weekend by visiting with guests (who were finally receiving their baskets).
That evening, we all wined and dined on some authentic Texas Cajun fare (a little known demographic in theLoneStarState) at a rehearsal dinner graciously hosted by my folks. Some good natured ribbing ensued as friends and family tried their best to embarrass us with stories about our respective single days. While her tales were adorable and quite tame (as expected), I’m fortunate she still agreed to follow through with the wedding after some of the exploits told of my “wild” college days (if that library could talk). She actually learned a bit more about my fanaticism for sports (as if my taking off for the Texas/OU football game the day after we got engaged last year didn’t give that away). That night, Barb and I even shared some “impromptu” remarks about our courtship where everyone learned the true story (as opposed to her exaggerated fabrications about my endless fears of commitment, intimacy, and any and all change).
THE BIG DAY ARRIVES
As we had been warned, much of Saturday April 1st simply flew by. Actually, it started and progressed like virtually any other Saturday. I enjoyed the company of some out-of-town buds at a local Bar BQ eatery and even partook in a mid-afternoon jog at the hotel fitness center (once an athlete…). I watched a bit of the Final Four (unfortunately, sansU. ofTexas???), while I put on my new monkey suit (that had somehow already shrunk after just a few weeks). Countless photos followed as the two happy (or rather relieved) families nervously prepared for the grand event. As a stroke of genius, we chose to host a cocktail hour prior to the ceremony (where I engaged in some final liquid courage before taking the grand leap).
And then came the blur (and not because of the liquid refreshments). Apparently, we walked down the aisle, exchanged personal vows (her suggestion), listened to some moving (and often comical) words of the Rabbi and the enchanting voice of the Cantor, stomped a glass, shared a first kiss as husband and wife, and proceeded back down the aisle to a rousing ovation and some sighs of disbelief. We were swept into a sitting room (where some tasty appetizers and a scotch were waiting) before being introduced for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Brounes. We showed off the benefits of dance lessons (that we never took), quickly dined on a fabulous meal, wandered from table to table greeting guests, and literally danced the night away as the happy couple. In reality, we both recollect most everything from the night. Mainly, we hoped it would never end. In fact, when the band announced the last dance, Barb suggested we continue the party with EVERYONE heading down to the hospitality suite. (She was undoubtedly nervous about the wedding night.) I immediately rejected that idea which led to our first marital squabble…and resolution. (By the way…I won.)
The highlights of the honeymoon were many (though often not repeatable in this family forum). We experienced a lengthy layover at the Honolulu airport (carefully timed to catch the NCAA Final game), enjoyed the sights, sounds, and sun of the Big Island and Maui (including the commercial and expensive luau), drank a tropical cocktail or two out of coconut shells, dined on some outstanding meals (including a few helpings of the best onion rings we’ve ever had), embarked on excursions to Hana, a volcano, and on a snorkeling expedition (where Barb learned of my propensity for car sickness, seasickness, and a newfound fear of giant turtles). We even spent a few hours at theMauiemergency room (though that’s a story for another newsletter).
Despite the occasional panic attack (guess who?), the wedding weekend went quite smoothly. Fortunately, we had a host of exceptional individuals who helped us with various aspects of the planning and deserve a plug here. Evelyn Roth coordinated invitations, menu cards, table cards, and, of course, our yarmulkes; Eileen Lee “calligraphied” the wedding invites and handled all associated mailings; photographer David Jones and videographer Scott Charleson beautifully captured the evening for generations to see; Ben at Village Flowery turned the rooms into a wonderland; Mindy Rosenthal scribed the table place cards. The timeless (and tireless) band Midstream rocked the night away. The Four Seasons Hotel (Melissa Bustos) threw a heck of a shindig as guests are still raving about the food and the room accommodations. Cakes and Culinary Creations was responsible for those scrumptious bride and groom cakes. Last but not least, Robin Perlo Berryserved as wedding consultant, advisor, therapist, and friend throughout. She is the best in the biz. Thank you all for contributing to our “best of times.”