She plans. She plans very well. They plan very well together. Alyssa accepted Mason’s proposal this past February, and they planned their wedding in just a few short months, from overseas. They both teach at a school in Ankara, Turkey. Alyssa wanted their wedding to be in the Chicago area during their summer break. As it turned out, they barely broke a sweat. If planning a wedding is any test of how well a couple works together, Alyssa and Mason passed with extra credit. Their wedding was a great success.
July 27 was the date. The ceremony was outside, around 5 PM, and it was a very hot day. When I put on my jacket, I was immediately pouring sweat. We all managed. Mason’s dad performed the ceremony, did an amazing job. Alyssa and Mason led a time of worship together at the beginning of the ceremony, with Mason playing the guitar, one song sung in Turkish (cool, indeed). I survived the walk down the aisle with Alyssa, only cried a little bit when I gave the prayer to bless the couple before their vows. I noted before I prayed that I now get why each family sits on the side of the bride or groom — I could see Mason’s face and observed the incredible and genuine love he feels for my daughter as I watched his face. I honestly could not have picked a better man to marry my daughter (and I am very sure God had something to do with their choices). Mason is an extrovert and resembles his father-in-law in that respect, something I secretly hope is one of the reasons my daughter loves him. I also survived the walk back down the aisle, following my ex-wife as she walked with Nate. She looked nice, which oddly made me feel good.
There were pictures, lots of them, and the quality of the pictures is very good. The photographer was a friend of my daughter’s, an excellent choice. She took the picture at the top of this blog. My brother, Mark, provided a nice sound system and keyboard for the ceremony and reception, which worked out great, saved some money. The venue was a place called Danada House, a beautiful old farmhouse with stables and gardens, a wonderful indoor glass walled reception hall. There were swing dance lessons, led by Mason’s family, a turkish circle dance, and lots of other fun. Mason and Alyssa had choreographed a fantastic swing dance for their dance, which was a hit. For the daddy/daughter dance, Alyssa and I had choreographed a routine to several snippets of our favorite Earth, Wind and Fire tunes. It was a blast to perform. She chose EWF songs because we listened to them when I drove her to youth basketball games when she was a girl.
The wedding was the first time I had seen several of my ex inlaws since the divorce. Some did not speak to me. Others spoke to me like nothing had happened. I was a little nervous about it prior to the wedding. I sat with my dad and the families of my two brothers during the reception. They were supportive, fun to be with. Alyssa asked me not to bring my girlfriend, out of respect for her mother, so I honored that. Dad was my date. He was OK fun for an 81 year old guy. At one point during the evening, my ex sat down and talked to him for a few minutes. His comment when she left? She’s still laaaaaaame.
It was a good evening. I enjoyed watching my daughter as she celebrated with her friends and her new family. They love her. It’s obvious, so important to me because they are going to be her support as she lives with her husband in a land far, far away from me.
Prior to the wedding, I did get a chance to get to know my new son-in-law. They arrived together in the middle of June. I took him out for a mountain bike ride one evening (he survived, but did cry uncle after an hour of trying to keep up with me). We spent an evening together after I picked him up at the airport. I approve, wholeheartedly, of my daughter’s choice. The kid has a heart of gold, loves people, is intelligent, and really loves my daughter. He also supports me, important since I have a serious girlfriend, someone my daughter had not really met prior to this summer. They spent time with her too, and I think that having him around helped make that time a success. I needed that, because, well, I was waiting for my daughter to get married before I……