Happy Anniversary - Memories of the Day

Dear Fellow Romantics:

Today Dani and I celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, which takes my mind musing back to that very humid day, August 20, 2011.

We had decided to have a small backyard wedding at Dani’s house. A few years before, we had hosted Ashley and Frank’s wedding reception (the same Ashley and Frank who will celebrate their daughter Ariella’s baptism at FPCLG on September 2). They married at my church in Peotone, and we came back to the house for a wonderful evening of dancing, food and champagne. Our friend, chef Mario Palaggi, who had done a wonderful job with Ashley’s wedding, agreed to cater the celebration; we called the same tent and chair rental guy and set about decorating the double backyard. (At that time the house next door was semi-abandoned; we kept their lawn trimmed, so the owners were more than happy to allow us to use the party-yard annex.) All had gone well for Ashley and Frank’s event, so we felt well-rehearsed for our own celebration. Except we absentmindedly miscalculated the difference between August and October weather.

Saturday morning arrived with torrential rain. With 60 or so guests confirmed, Dani and her daughters, Cassi and Deanna, began to envision an indoor wedding. The girls did a pretty good job at calming the bride. We would celebrate the vows on the stairs, the food could be in the back room, a few chairs from the yard…it would work! Meanwhile my best man/son Calvin, Minister Milton and I were at my apartment in Hyde Park having breakfast. (Weddings, no matter how casual, are always easier on the groom.) Fortunately, sort of, the clouds broke about 90 minutes before the event was to begin. I say “sort of” because when the sun came out, the temperature jumped to the mid-80’s and the humidity climbed to about 246%. But the rain had stopped, so the bridesmaids/daughters and the bride set aside the indoor plans and began to dress; all would be well.

Except my siblings had come in from around the country, and we were raised to be as helpful as possible. This means, for a backyard family wedding, you should come about an hour early just in case folks need help with chairs, or you were really hoping to be in the way while the bride is still doing her hair. To my knowledge they found something to do. I learned of their very helpful early arrival secondhand; Dani just remembers one of the daughters shouting, “They’re here!” and contemplating thinning the in-law herd.

Other guests arrived within a more reasonable timeframe. I came with the best man and officiating minister, and we helped finish the great chair dry. My FBI friend John Carlson stood in the doorway so I could not see the bride before the appointed hour. Trust me, when John stands in a doorway, you cannot see the bride or anything else on the other side.

What surprised me was how nervous I was. A veteran of hundreds of ceremonies, I figured I would feel cool and smooth; I was neither.

The ceremony was planned that I would stand on the upper deck with Milton and Calvin, and Dani, preceded by her beautiful daughters, would come out the back door. But in the moments between the bridesmaids’ entrance and the emergence of the bride it occurred to me there was an unencumbered front door, complete with easy access to a car. There, dripping with the perspiration of a nervous groom in sweatbox weather, I held my breath.

I remain forever grateful for that moment seven years ago today when she came out the back door.

So today, I remain your pastor, but

With Love…for Dani,
Jonathan Krogh