Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

The Wedding Party

I’m back. We left Friday for Milwaukee, for our big wedding party, which went well. After we eloped six months ago, we agreed it would be best to have some kind of party for the relatives, so my extended family could meet Sarah’s and vice-versa, and so we could see some of the distant relatives we’d normally only see in the event of a funeral. So Sarah’s dad planned the big Saturday night event, and her mom planned a smaller immediate family dinner on Friday, and we managed the list of addresses and tried to find out where second cousins once removed lived after 20 years of being MIA, and then printed and sent all of the invites.

The Saturday event was at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, and we got a room there for the weekend, as did many other people. The place is almost a century old, and still looks very old-school, from the lobby to the wallpaper to the phone booths that resembled confessionals in the lobby, similar to the ones in the Indiana Student Union. They also allegedly have very good pools and saunas and exercise equipment, but out exercise for the weekend was just keeping up with everything, so I never got down there.

We strongly stressed that this would not be a wedding wedding; there was no ceremony, no white dress or tuxedo, no wedding party, no vows, no flower girl, none of that at all. We also said no gifts, but that was largely ignored. There was music and a dance floor, but not a lot of dancing. Despite all of this, and that we didn’t do the planning, I was still very stressed out about what to wear and how to look and act, and all that. But we got in on Thursday night with no problem (other than a 22-inning Rockies game that I was trying to follow on the web, and eventually had to give up.) And Friday during the day was lax; I went to Miller Park with Frank (father-in-law) and Matthew (brother-in-law) and we attempted to take the tour. There was a high school baseball tournament, though, so we got to sit in the section behind the plate with maybe a hundred other people total in the stadium. It’s very weird to be sitting in a big-league park and hear the “plink!” of an aluminum bat hit after hit.

Both Friday and Saturday dinners went the same, but on different scales. On Friday, there were about two dozen people, so I got a chance to talk to everyone, and I think I’d met everyone there before. There were three tables, and people were seated strategically, so some folks would get a chance to talk to other folks and so on. Food was good, cake was excellent, and we got home unscathed.

Saturday was a much bigger deal. I think we had about 100 people total, and I knew maybe 30-40% of them. So there was a mad rush of people being introduced, and I had no chance whatsoever to get their names. Add to this that I had a slight cold and was tripping on heavy amounts of dayquil, which is not conducive to having the same conversation 100 times in a row. I barely got to eat dinner, and the desserts were all gone before I knew they were available. But a lot of people got to meet other people. I met a bunch of Sarah’s paternal side of the family, which I previously hadn’t. Sarah’s grandparents had a good time talking to my folks, and her cousin the children’s librarian spent a long time hanging out with my 10-year-old nephew Phillip, talking books. There were a lot of people that didn’t get a chance to talk to other people, but with that many and only a few hours, you can’t run all of the permutations.

Sarah’s friend’s Guy and Scott came out from New York, although I barely got to talk to them in the shuffle. Her friend Ben Mack came out and we talked more. A flew in from San Francisco, and Simms and the Bill Perry family came up from Bloomington. John and Helen drove up from Chicagoland. That was the group at our table, which made for some strange conversation. After the evening wound down, most of this group rolled over to Real Chili for a bowl of the Milwaukee tradition. (Simms’ is better, though.) We also had a beautiful Sunday, and Simms and A and I went walking around and wandered the public market a bit. (They had a Big Kahuna burger, but it wasn’t too great.)

And that’s that. Sorry the description was not that incredible – it was too much of a whirlwind to really get any more details down. I will have pictures; a dozen or so people with digicams said they’d hook up with me later on photo sharing, and there’s my camera (with almost no pics.) I also dropped off a dozen disposables last night, which will go to CD and get uploaded.

I have a hundred errands today, plus work, plus I will need to get started on an armful of thank you notes. So in advance of those, which will probably go out in June, thank you to all of you who came out for the party!