Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun and "Stupidness", The day before... and the Wedding!

Lovers in Paradise.

Annette and Brandon, the newlyweds. Love this shot.

Before we get into this tale, I want to thank Khara and Emir, the wedding photographers for catching some really nice shots. The link to their site is posted at the end of this blog.

Why were we here again?

Time was flying, and we were so busy doing important things like -


and posing...

...and more shopping...

..and posing in front of cool places while we smoked...

Kim, Len, Me, and a stray girl we called Sam.

...or even hanging out in the restaurant on breezy evenings. I personally was not adverse to bringing my own version of tomfoolery, or borrowing Len's word - stupidness - in just for fun.

Rum makes you wear silly hats and look like a... Stupid Tourist. Thanks to Rachel (with the rum)- she's a great person!

So here we are, in Paradise, and there seems to be no calendar, no clocks. Time is abstract there. Then it hit us... oh shit! The wedding... when is that? Turned out - two days. We actually only had a vague idea of what was gonna happen, and no clue as to when. Fortunately, we came to the room to find -

Preplanned fun for everyone!

- an itinerary for the wedding activities had been delivered. Glanced at it and realized - this was gonna be fun!

The Day Before...

For the guys, the day started as normal. There wasn't anything really scheduled for us, but the girls had a whole day planned out : Spa day, followed by decorating the cake. The cake layers were actually baked in the restaurant, and we brought fondant (shapeable frosting) down from here. I think half our luggage was stuff for the wedding.

The bride has arrived... you may take your seats.

One of the rooms were set up for an aromatherapy/massage, and just below it, at poolside, the women were able to get manicures and pedicures.

Annette looking regal during her pedicure with her friend Amanda alongside.

The guys? We just did whatever. The day wouldn't start for us till later that afternoon. I did hang out at the pool later (yes, there's a pic of that - no, I won't post it. Even I have limits.) After the women pretty much wrapped up there, some of them met in the hotel conference room with the cake, fondant, beer, and "Sunset Juice."

The bride's party decorating the wedding cake with Carib on the side...

The guys - well, we had it a little harder. Open tab at the sports bar, and free pool.

Kim's cousins Neal, Langston, and her cousin Carol's (a.k.a. Urkel) husband shooting a round. Yup, slot machines.

Roman hammering a shot in...

...and the one he almost made. Like standing a dime on it's edge. He begged me not to take this picture. Now they all know, Roman...

Ian, Kim's nephew, goes for the long eight - and scratches. That's okay. I remember when I had my first beer.

A few hours later, we all met in the restaurant for dinner and...

Annette, Kim, and Amanda... my baby and her babies. (Shut up. I liked that.)

... crab races! Crab races? What the hell are you talking about, Ed? It's pretty much what it sounds like. You clear the tables, make a big chalk circle on the floor, and get the racers -

The racers - hermit crabs. They look like rocks, but they move. Unless you have money on them.

The guy running the race takes bets, and they turn the bowl over in the center of the circle with the crabs underneath. There are three races: fastest, slowest, and one where only one person can bet on the crab they pick. The big money race. Then they get a kid to lift the bowl. Brandon's son, Reese, did it first.

4 year old finds a way to get rid of crabs - full story at 11!

I did good the first race - won twenty bucks. Broke even on the second, because my retarded ass crab decided just before he won that he wasn't gonna be the last one out. Okay, still good. Bet it all on crab 5, a fair sized power crab. He'll turn these other guys into bisque. What I didn't know was that when the bowl came up, he'd have a passenger. Kim's sister, Liz, had a crab too, and it was riding mine! He couldn't take the load, though he came in second. Liz's daughter, Brynn, won. I still sense conspiracy.

Annette, attending Crab Race Downs.

The race I won - 2-1 odds.

The next morning we went to breakfast, and being rainy season, we half expected some form of deluge. It comes in hard, pounds the place, then is over in minutes. Usually only once a day. Usually. Preparations began. The kitchen went into overdrive as the day crew began moving the stuff needed to Morne Rouge beach.

Morne Rouge beach, where the wedding was held.

Same tree with paper lanterns... and no event would be complete without a Grenada beach dog!

While they were preparing the site, they set up paper lanterns in the trees. The lanterns had little led lights that made them glow, but everyone forgot one thing. Batteries. The race was on. In the end we managed to gather 96 AAA's....

Assorted goodies, including the cake and rum punch.

The aisle...

Everything was perfect. Beautiful. Everybody began to get ready in their rooms...

Brandon getting his son Reese ready...

Amanda doing her big sister's hair on her important day...

All dressed up and ready to go!

Annette's so happy she appears to be floating. No, wait.... she IS floating!

I didn't see what was going on - they were in the floor above me. So was Kim.

Even I suited up. (Hey, it is Narcissism Central... I even took this myself. No surprise.)

Unfortunately, though most everyone invited showed, Annette's special VIP guests - the Baroness Bronte Beatrice VonBlatt and her brother, Baron Bosworth Beaucefus VonBlatt were unable to attend.

The VonBlatts only fly First Class.

American Airlines insisted that they remain seated for the duration of the flight, not realizing that they are not allowed on the furniture. They did get their money back, though.

Soon everyone was ready... and then it rained. Not any kind of rain. A total fucking deluge. Not good. Fortunately, it only lasted about ten minutes. Unfortunately, it destroyed the lights in the paper lanterns. So much for the batteries. With the wedding about an hour and a half away, we could only hope that everything would dry off. It did.

The entourage exits the preparation area.

We approach the beach and are greeted by this...

Says it all....

What's a Caribbean wedding without steel drums?

The wedding wasn't conventional in the sense that there wasn't a row of turquoise taffeta bridesmaids and overdressed ushers. The wedding party was of three: Annette, Brandon, and Reese. Reese? The boychild? What was he, the ringbearer? No... he was literally part of the wedding. The bond was of three. I found that refreshing.

Len giving away the bride.

Listening as the pastor speaks...

Most often, when a couple marries and a child is involved, the child is either relegated to the front row or maybe given a token task. Reese was an actual part of the bond formed that day...

"I love you when you're sweaty, and way too gross to hold..." Annette, Brandon and Reese read a a book they made called "I love You When"... a touching and funny moment. The caption above is an actual line from the book. After that, they did something else I have never seen...

Finalizing the bond between them.... with spice necklaces.

Grenada is the "Spice Isle," so it only seemed natural to use necklaces made of spices to demonstrate the family bond. It was unique, and while I don't know for sure if it's a common thing there, it is definitely something I would include in a wedding... goes beyond just a pair of gold bands, and the child is part of it as well. Plus, they smell nice.

Then came the scene we are familiar with... like reading of the vows (though they added a comedic touch to it) -

"..if you accept the terms and conditions of this licensing agreement..."

Okay, maybe she didn't actually say that. Then there were the rings -

"With this ring I accept the terms of the licensing agreement..."

Okay, he didn't say that, either. Just seemed to fit, and sometimes I can't stop. Finally, they kissed, locking the bond between them.

And so begins their life together... as husband and wife.

Annette's bridal shoes - she lives in Nebraska. Ruby slippers... girl's got a sense of humor.

A great beginning for some great people.

The reception was held on the beach, with buffet style hors d'oeuvre - everything from lobster salad to samosas to shrimp and chicken kabobs and too many other foods to name. The Grand View kitchen staff really came through...

The buffet table... unbelievably good food!

There was one more formality, the witnessing -

Li'l sis Amanda signs off on the witnessing as the pastor, Brandon, and Annette look on.

Everyone made it through the buffet line, got their drinks, and champagne was brought around. It was time to toast the bride and groom, and the man to do it was Len. The man is funny...

Len proposing the toast just as..

..and as he hit his funniest line, there was a huge BOOM! And this is what we saw -

Ironic that the wedding took place on the 4th of July...

A full blown fireworks display. It was unbelievable, and a total surprise. One of the final events after the display was the cake cutting, also a family event.

Reese cuts the first slice.

Not long after that, we all went back up to the hotel for an after party - just a few drinks at the sports bar. It was a great day, a great event, and everything - including the fireworks - was handled by the Grand View Inn. Thanks. It was a day that none of us will ever forget.

And Annette, Brandon, and Reese? I wish you all a wonderful life together... and maybe the VonBlatts will get to Grenada one day, too.

If they can lay on the floor.

Much love to the two of you...

images courtesy of kabloom studios where so indicated by watermark.

Sponsored by:

"The Morne Rouge" or "Sunset Juice"

free poured shot or so of rum (none of that measured shit)
REAL juice or juice blend - preferably orange, mango, and passionfruit
club soda
Ting (where available) or Sprite

In a tall glass, drop in some ice, pour the rum, add some club soda (till the bubbles rush up,) then add some juice till you get about an inch and a half from the top. Top it off with Ting, stir, and enjoy!

Best made with:

Westerhall Plantation Rum and Ting Grapefruit soda... two of Grenada's many fine beverages.