Today is my tenth wedding anniversary. Sometimes it seems like I have been married forever, and other times it seems like yesterday. It is true that many things have happened during the past ten years, and I hate to admit that many have slipped out of my sieve-like mind. However, my parents' fiftieth anniversary is coming up later this month. I can only imagine the things that they have experienced and forgotten.
As I described in one of my first blog entries, the date we were to get married was largely down to what was then known as the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), what is now USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). I was in England and B. was here in New Jersey. We had no idea how long it would be before the INS approved our Fiance Visa, but we knew that we only had 90 days following approval to get married. We got our approval in December 1998, slightly earlier than we had expected, which meant that with the holiday season just around the corner, I had to make travel arrangements, and we had to plan a wedding.
Fortunately, B. and I had similar ideas for what we wanted from a wedding. We did want an occasion, rather than a simple official marriage. However, we wanted a wedding we could enjoy ourselves. We had heard all too often about couples who had big weddings and who had not enjoyed the day themselves, because the event was geared towards other people.
We agreed on the venue we wanted. The Palmyra Tea Room in Bound Brook, New Jersey, was a great place that we used to visit together. It had a wonderful Bohemian feel to it, with mismatched chairs, tables and china. It had an adjoining art-gallery, lots of books, tasty food and great people. Fortunately, although they had never done a wedding there before, they agreed to do it for us. We were to have the wedding in the art-gallery, and then we would move into the tea room itself for the reception. They would close for the day and provide the food.
The other preparations seem to have disappeared in a blur from my memory, but one thing that we were proud of was that B. and a friend actually made their own paper for the invitations. Since both B. and her Mother suffer badly from allergies to many flowers, we were to have artificial ones, and again, B. and a friend made the arrangements.
I do not have a large or particularly close extended family, and my parents don't fly, so my Brother was to be the sole family representative - and my best man. On the other hand, B. does have a large, close family, so the Brits were a little outnumbered. Fortunately, B's family are a lot of fun, and a rehearsal dinner ended up with most of us sitting underneath the tables, playing with kids. My stag night consisted of My Brother, a friend and I at our house with a bottle of Power's Irish whiskey. It was more fun than you might imagine, and we even managed to break some furniture!
The wedding itself, as planned, was a lot of fun, even for us. We had friends there who we had met on the internet-based music community where B. and I first met, so that did balance out B's huge family a little. One of them acted as DJ for the ceremony and reception, so the day was filled with the music we loved. The local Mayor presided over the ceremony, we drank "champagne" from a local winery, and a singer-songwriter friend performed for us.
The one sad part of the whole thing is that The Palmyra Tea Room is no more. It fell victim to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when much of Bound Brook was completely submerged. Because of the huge cost of repairs, and apparent disputes with the landlord over responsibility for those repairs, it never reopened its doors.
One day, I'll write about our honeymoon, because, like our wedding, it was a little unusual, but so "us." For now, I want to take this opportunity to wish my dear Wife a happy anniversary. The first song to play after our wedding was "Love is the Ride" by Lucy Kaplansky. And it has been a ride. Sometimes, a joy-ride, sometimes a little bit of a white-knuckle ride. But I could not imagine sharing it with anyone else.