One Day in February

On February 27th at 5:30 PM, Jodi and I got married. But it was one heck of a day…

The morning began like any other day… waking up, getting dressed, discovering my car had been broken into. They took my digital tire pressure gauge, a leatherman multi-tool and three packs of gum. They left behind the stereo, the CDs and the $15 in change in the ash tray. However, having somewhere we needed to be, Jodi and I decided we’d report the theft later and for now just empty the car, lock it back up and leave it, seeing as how the thieves were kind enough to not break any windows but just jimmy the lock in such a way as to render it useless on the outside but still operate inside and lock the door just fine.

We loaded up the other car and headed off to some friends’ house, K and P, the ones we’d roped into being our chauffeurs and valets for the day. Once all packed into their car we began the long journey from Atlanta to Savannah.

Upon arriving in Savannah, we were nervous. We needed to check into our hotel early… at noon, but the woman on the phone had said check in was 4pm, 3 at the earliest. Score one for our team as the rooms were ready and we checked in. But another strike for the day, P forgot his suit and has no pants.

Quickly we decide to head to the mall and buy some, he can do without a suit jacket, but he needs pants. Also, Jodi needs a bouquet, so she called up Flowerama (listed in the hotel service guide) and arranges for one over the phone. The shop is on Abercorne which is only a few blocks away. So we pile back into the car and head out. We drive past at least a dozen flower shops and finally reach the mall. We stop, buy P some pants at Macy’s and the girls get their nails done at Le Nails. Back on the road, we keep driving. Finally we find Flowerama. Basically, the farthest point you can get from our hotel while remaining in Savannah, that’s where it is.

Its obvious we are going to be late meeting up with the photographer at 4 PM as planned, so we call and ask to meet at 4:30. She’s fine with it and we get back to the hotel with plenty of time to get ready. While Jodi is putting on makeup, she spills some which I start cleaning up. Crawling around on the floor I didn’t realize that I had gone under the coffee maker drawer and WHAM! I get a nice little red whelt on my head that starts bleeding a little. But fine, we can cover that up or I can just make sure I don’t look down in the photos. Finally I start getting dressed, I open my suit bag and scream something like “Where are my pants?!”

Up until this point, I had totally kept my cool. Now I lost it. I was swearing like a sailor, I wanted to punch and break things, I was going to drive back to Atlanta and kill everyone at the Men’s Warehouse for forgetting to put my pants in with my suit jacket… when I realize… I’m looking at my sport coat. I packed the wrong bag.

I throw my jeans back on and run next door to K and P’s room.

Me: We have a problem. I don’t have my suit.
P: That’s not funny.
Me: I have a sport coat, which is fine, but I don’t have pants.
P: Oh my God, you’re serious?
Me: I’m going to go find pants, Jodi is going to need some help.

And I run to the lobby. I speak with the concieges and explain my predicament. The woman there just goes blank and mutters something about Banana Republic and the Gap. Then the man steps up and tells me to step out the doors, turn left, go down to Broughton, hang a left and a few blocks down will be J. Parker Limited who can hook me up. I run out of the hotel.

At J. Parker Limited I walk in and explain my dilemma. The man there calmly asks, “What color?” I tell him black and he asks, “What size waist?” I answer him and he turns around, flips through the rack he’d been leaning on and pulls out a pair of pants. I try them on. Perfect fit. He marks them, I take them off, and he hands them to the tailor. While we wait we talk about weddings. He thinks we are right in just running off, big weddings are a hassle. He tells me a story of a bride with a $6,000 Irish linen dress whose reception runs out of booze before the wedding party arrives who should have gotten a $500 dress, lied about what it was made of and spent the other $5,500 on more drinks and food. Because honestly, as long as the dress looked good would anyone care that it was Irish linen? As we talked and laughed, my body slackened and I calmed down. Fifteen minutes of waiting at the pants were done. I thanked both him and the tailor and headed back to the hotel.

Everyone else was ready. I got dressed, threw my tie over my shoulder, and we headed to Factor’s Walk, the location our photographer picked for the ceremony. On the way we went over everything. Rings? Check. Checks for the officiant and photographer? Check. Marriage paperwork? … So I sent everyone ahead and ran back to the hotel for the papers.

Finally, I catch back up to the group. We chat a moment and then I inform them that I can’t tie a tie. P makes a valiant effort, but fails. The Reverend Steven P. Schulte steps in and does it up right. I think this is where the laughter started.

We moved out on to the bridge for the ceremony and took a few quick photos. Then the photographer, Nancy Heffernan, moved off to a spot to take shots during the ceremony. Since we had no time to rehearse, Nancy resorted to yelling out instructions as they were needed. “Get closer!” “Back up!” “Not you!” “Move to your left!” “Your other left!” We couldn’t stop laughing.

Reverend Schulte said the words, we exchanged vows, I gave Jodi her ring, she gave me mine… which got stuck halfway over the knuckle. We were going to just force it on when my finger turned purple. Quickly I fought the ring off and left my ring finger red and throbbing. We put the ring on my pinky and vowed to resize it later. We finally managed to stop laughing long enough for Rev Schulte to pronounce us man and wife, and we kissed. We were married.

After the ceremony, we hung around the park at Factor’s Walk for a while taking photos. Then we strolled River Street, getting congratulated by the passerbys and taking more photos until the light faded. We went back to the hotel for Nancy to burn us CDs of all the photos she had taken.

Earlier in the day we had made reservations at Elizabeth on 37th, but now none of us wanted to get in the car and drive somewhere. Nancy suggested Vic’s On the River, which happened to be not fifty feet from where we got married. When Nancy left, we headed out again on foot and went to Vic’s. The atmosphere and the food were excellent, and we sat and ate and chatted over the day’s events and laughed.

I think that if my wedding had been better planned and gone more smoothly, the day would practially fade to nothing in my memories. I’d remember that I got married, and I’d look at the photos and recall some of the day. But the wedding I had… I don’t think I’ll forget a single thing.


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