Tara’s wedding day. Well, Rich and Tara, but it’s all about the bride. Troy and Jason drop me off at The Parker a little after 2pm. The ceremony isn’t until 5:30 but Tara said to come and hang out while she and the bridesmaids get ready. Have I mentioned that I love The Parker? It is such a neat place. It’s a jumble of classy and modern and chic and cool – I feel like I’m in another era. Definitely the most magical place to have a wedding – that I’ve attended. The man at the front desk hands me a map of the outside and draws my route to Tara’s villa. The path is winding and a bit confusing with high bushes and greens so you feel almost enclosed, making it somewhat easy to get lost. There are about eight villas – half with boy names and half with girls. Tara is staying in Lola. I find it easily and knock on the massive door.
Tara’s younger sister, Regina, answers the door. She looks at me like she doesn’t know me – because she doesn’t. Hi! I’m Lindsay. She lets me in and I realize, I really don’t know anyone except Tara. I’ve met her cousins, but they don’t really know me know me. It’s a huge suite. To my right is an area with two sinks and a mirror – the bridesmaids are crammed in here applying makeup and fixing their hair. To my left is a sitting area with a couch, a big red chair, and a swinging chair hanging from the ceiling. A coffee table in the center is littered with pizza boxes and leftover food. Straight ahead is the bedroom – four poster bed and some old-fashioned looking dressers. A bathroom in the bedroom currently seats three junior bridesmaids getting their hair done. In the middle of all this sits Tara in a white bathrobe, having makeup applied to her face. The photographer, Betsy, is close by, snapping shots at will.
Tara seems excited and happy, but calm. All good. We catch up briefly about the trip so far – sounds like she had an amazing time last night at the rehearsal dinner with around 50 people in attendance. She knew she’d have all her family and friends in California, along with Rich’s family and friends – all probably for the first time, but I’m sure the actual experience of it was incredible.
If I feel a little out of place being the only girl in the room who is not in the wedding, Tara doesn’t let me. Even on her wedding day she is concerned about other people more than herself. I leave briefly to visit Rich – he’s at the pool with some friends. He’s extremely relaxed and chilling out in the shade. Two of his friends from home are next to him, along with an Aunt (I think). I sit down for a minute, but man, that sun is hot. Once I start sweating I head back to Lola’s.
Tara asks if I can do something for her. YES. Please, let me do something. She wrote Rich a letter and asks if I can deliver it. Oh, this is an important job. I’m on it. The letter is written on paper from The Parker. On the way, I flip it open and see “Dear Rich,” followed by Tara’s fast, messy handwriting. I immediately close it. I would never read it, but I couldn’t help myself from peeking!
The bridesmaids are in their dresses when I get back – a pretty, gray, short J. Crew dress in a bunch of different styles. Now it’s time for Tara to change into her wedding dress. It’s beautiful – similar to the recent trend with its sweetheart neck, but unlike anything with the gown covered in flowers. Betsy takes a bunch of cool pictures and now they’re just kind of waiting to go outside for more pictures. I’m waiting for them to leave before I get dressed and ready – don’t want to be in the way. Olivia – one of Tara’s younger cousins and a flower girl – asks me where my dress is. I point to the closet. My dress is hanging next to a solid dress bag. “Is it in here?” She points to the dress bag. No, it’s the tan and white one. She looks in the closet again, then back at me. “Why do you have a different dress?!” Because I’m not in the wedding! She is so cute. “You’re not?” Haha no, and now she’s probably wondering why I’m here.
They all file out and I’m left alone to quickly get ready. I walk over to where the ceremony is, outside on the croquet lawn. Yes, the croquet lawn. No one is here yet, so I meet the bridal party next door in which is basically a holding area until they walk out. There’s a man next to me who I’m pretty sure is Mr. Oslin. Are you Tara’s dad? “Yes.” I introduce myself and we shake hands. “Oh, hi Lindsay, great to see you.” I guess we’ve met before and I don’t remember – or maybe he’s met one of my sisters. Regardless, he’s super nice. Then Tara’s Uncle Paul and Aunt Olenka walk in. They both walk over and give me a hug and kiss hello. Talk about welcoming the outsider. I snap some more pictures and start to see people arriving outside. I should join them. Say bye to Tara – I’ll see you out there!
Troy and Jason walk over looking dapper in their shirts and ties. What are you guys drinking? “Vodka lemonade. They have a cart over there with lemonade, water, and vodka lemonades.” This. is. amazing. Drinks before the ceremony? Add that to things I want for my wedding. There’s music playing through outside speakers, but not like cheesy, boring wedding music – actual cool music that we really listen to. It’s setting the mood.
We’re told to take our seats, cocktails in hand. When it’s time to stand for the bride, a new song is played. Again, not a traditional wedding song. Tara and Rich have played it for me before – it’s a really pretty song. I look to the front and see Rich take a deep breath when he sees Tara, obviously trying not to cry. I look back and see Tara take a deep breath before she starts walking. Didn’t think I was going to cry but as Tara passes me I get all choked up. It doesn’t help that Rich is practically a mess up there, and when he finally has his hands on her it looks like he doesn’t stop talking to her for the rest of the ceremony. I can’t hear what he’s saying, but I think I can read his lips. He keeps repeating, “I love you,” and I think also, “You look beautiful.” It’s the sweetest thing. The ceremony is short and simple and to the point, and before I know it, Rich and Tara are married. Yay!
We’re herded over to an outside cocktail hour. Another pretty, grassy open area with low tables and high tables and of course, a bar. The featured cocktail of the evening is a strawberry margarita. I stupidly (or smartly?) stick with wine. Still, by the time I stand up to walk into the reception my body feels tingly. Troy, I think I’m drunk already. “Me too.” We find our table – all unfamiliar faces except for Tara’s cousin, Craig. I didn’t think about this until now but I’m the only girl at the table. Jason went to the restroom and everyone is trying to move around so I can sit next to Troy. No, no, really, it’s OK. “Isn’t he your date?” This turns out to be Rich’s friend, Mike. Uh, no. I leave it at that and sit between Mike and another guy I don’t know. They both chat it up immediately, so it’s not awkward. Booze does that.
Dancing ensues. There’s a sit down dinner, but dancing between almost every course. At one point, I run up to see Rich and Tara while they’re eating. “Are you having fun?” Yes, stop thinking about me. I can’t remember what I say, just that I’m glad I’m here and I’m having a great time. “We love you. Lindsay, I’m so glad you’re here.” Tara always know just what to say, and always seems to be thinking exactly what I’m thinking. We say something about being so happy to be friends or something sappy, but not in a sappy way, in a fun way. I don’t know where she came from – or Rich – but I said it in their wedding book: you are the best thing that’s happened to me and Mike in California.
Then it’s time for the speeches. I have never been to a wedding with so many speeches – best man, maid of honor, Tara’s cousin (Marcus), Rich’s friend, and Rich’s Mom. I have also never heard shorter speeches (except for Marcus). Johnny goes first. He doesn’t have anything written down and basically congratulates Rich and Tara. Even though it’s short, it’s sincere, especially with his last line. “I’m really fucking jealous.” Regina is also quick and to the point, congratulating her sister and Rich.
Usually this is it, but Marcus is speaking next. Guess the DJ didn’t know because he starts playing music, ready to move on, as Marcus is walking up. He makes a joke of it, and apologizes before handing Marcus the microphone. “I couldn’t ask for a better introduction.” Marcus then basically warns everyone that he has a lot to say. “I’m really happy and a little sorry that they asked me to come up here.” He’s long winded, but has it all written down and Marcus sure does know how to tell a story. I can’t possibly write it the way he said it, but he first talks a lot about his relationship with Tara, growing up with her and racing across the bathtub. Then he tells a story about Rich and basically what a great guy is he and how perfect they are together. He’s very well spoken, and obviously used to telling stories by the way he stops talking when he knows everyone is going to laugh and pauses right before the punchlines or the crucial parts of the story.
Later I’m dancing with Tara and we both look over and see Rich dancing with his little nephew, Knut (Kuh-noot). It’s really cute and Tara just can’t help herself. “Rich is the best.” It’s just a little thing but I love watching her love him. They genuinely enjoy each other and it’s like it’s always new. After the DJ plays the last song, we all head outside to have basically a fake goodbye to the bride and groom with everyone holding sparklers (it’s all about the pictures). Although, everyone is drunk and holding sparklers. Maybe not the most well thought out idea. Marcus moves away from me when I almost burn him without even noticing. I haven’t held a sparkler in so long – brings me back to 4th of July as a kid. It was like the best part of the night – besides the goodie bags Mom made for us to bring to the fireworks.
Then it’s on to the pool. I knew Tara was going to do this – jump in the pool in her wedding dress. At first, I thought she way crazy, but I mean, it’s not like she’s ever going to wear it again. It’s going to sit in her closet or maybe she’d sell it or something. It’s going to make an amazing story, and with Betsy here, definitely some amazing photos.
Almost everyone is here to watch. Betsy doesn’t hesitate to wade into the pool, camera in hand. Rich and Tara scope it out, with Betsy trying to direct them. “Jump as high as you can.” Finally, we’re all counting to three, and they jump. It’s crazy. Betsy may have not gotten the shot she needs, so she has them jump two or three more times. I don’t know who is the first to join them, but soon almost everyone is in the pool. Oh man, I’m going to have to go in now. I want to, but I don’t want to ruin my dress. It’s not a wedding dress, it’s a dress that I could wear to many more functions. All I’m thinking about is when I have to get out of the pool – when I’m wet and cold and won’t get to change until I get back to my hotel room, 10 minutes away. But it’s Rich and Tara’s wedding, and when they get back from their vacation and we talk about the wedding, I am definitely not going to be one of their few lame friends who didn’t jump in the pool. Jason agrees to jump in with me. I can’t believe I did it. Now it’s Troy’s turn. Now that we’re in, it’s like we’re all little kids in a pool. Someone yells. “Whirlpool!” And we all follow suit. I’m cracking up, trying not to drown. Another thing I haven’t done since I was a kid. This doesn’t feel anything like when I was little, when I couldn’t swim the other way if I tried, but it’s still fun.
We stay in the pool for 15 or 20 minutes, and then it’s over. I walk with Tara back to her suite, carrying her train – not that it matters if it drags in the dirt at this point – but it will definitely slow her down. I get my bag as Rich is starting a hot shower for Tara. I should not be here! I say goodbye like I’ll see them tomorrow, but I won’t see them until August. So I’ll say my real goodbye now.
Rich and Tara – have a great summer and an amazing trip! I miss you already, Tara. I keep thinking I’ll see you on gchat and then I get sad. But I think this is an incredible, once in a lifetime adventure that you and Rich couldn’t pass up! Look forward to seeing you guys in a couple months and hearing all about it. You guys have what everyone dreams to have in a relationship, and I couldn’t be happier for you two. Hopefully you can bring back something awesome, like a baby elephant.
*Simon & Garfunkel