The groom's party arrived early for its pictures, as requested. On the other hand, the bride's party was quite, quite late. We suspect that this is the usual state of affairs for these sorts of things, though, because the photographer finished with the groom's party just as the bride's party arrived.
The forecast for June 14 in the Atlanta area was rain, rain, rain, rain, and a chance of showers. There was definitely a feel of impending water in the air that morning. To placate the bride, the wedding party began making up traditions about how rain on your wedding day means good luck. In fact, about thirty minutes before seating there was a torrential downpour for ten minutes, followed immediately by clear skies and bright sun. The wedding party then began making up traditions about how clear sunny skies on your wedding day means good luck.
The ceremony was presided over by Minister Pierre Sheppard, and was a more-or-less traditional protestant wedding. The couple made the standard public vows, but also whispered private vows to one another after lighting the unity candle.
The ceremony itself went off without any noticeable hitch. We can say one thing for those folks at Pristine: they are highly, highly efficient. They said, "Noon sharp," and they meant it. We started at 12:00:03pm and ended at 2:59:56pm, reception and all. We think several guests, used to a more liberal interpretation of "noon sharp," missed the ceremony itself, and had to file in just for the reception.
The reception was actually quite fun. From the point of view of the couple, the reception went like this: As everyone else was eating, the couple would take in one or two bites of rapidly-cooling chicken as guest after guest came up to the table expressing something like, "I don't want to keep you from eating like everyone else here will, but I wanted to say congratulations." The couple was pleased.
The best man and maid of honor both gave wonderful toasts, the cake cutting ceremony was overwhelmingly cute, and the party began. The party involved lots of music, various forms of dancing and stupid human tricks. There were soul train lines, lots of Atomic Dog, and general fun. Most importantly, international playboy and friend of the groom Etienne won the garter toss, running past several other unmarried men who was studiously looking the other way. Etienne was quite pleased with his prize until the young ladies in the audience explained its significance and began following him around the room.
By the way, it has come to our attention that there are vicious rumors going around that involve the groom dancing. It is our official position is that such a thing never happened, so don't expect any pictures of the alleged "dancing event." Let us speak no further of such things.
Getting back to efficient, the folks at Pristine have a clever way of ushering out guests. As the dancing and reveling hit a peak, right after the bouquet and garter throwing have happened, the hostess tricks everyone into getting on a dance train with the couple at the head. They then lead the train around the room once, embarrassing everyone along the way into joining... but on the second circuit they lead everyone out the door. Before you know it, you're outside and the clean up folks have already begun straightening up for the next wedding, scheduled to begin in two hours. It's all pretty impressive, and we can highly recommend their services.
The formal ceremony and reception were followed a few hours later in the day by a smaller family-oriented BBQ at the still-new Cottage Isbell. The event was hosted by none other than Charles Isbell, Sr. The food was stunningly good. If you didn't make it to the BBQ, you missed some tasty, tasty stuff. Dad still won't tell us the secret to making his literally award-winning sauce, but the general consensus was that it involves mixing in copious amounts of crack. Remember: the first taste is free. Mmm-mmm good.
Eventually, the guests filed out, going their separate ways, the family cleaned up the house, the wedding party packed up all of their belongings, and the couple settled into this marriage thing that all the cool kids are into nowadays.
All in all, the day went quite well.