Over the weekend, we were in Taneytown, Maryland for a wedding of my dearest friend, the brother I never had. It was a relatively small affair of 22 guests, mostly family of the bride and groom, and a motley assortment we all were. The groom joked that his side of the table looked like the “Rainbow Coalition,” with his mother and her partner, a giant of a woman self-described as the “Escalade” of her sex; his “Aunt”, his mother’s partner back when he was a child, and who helped raise him; his lounge pianist stage-name bearing father and his current wife, both with broad Massachusetts accents; a couple from Oklahoma by way of Charlottesville, friends of his from his work as a judge for Magic: the Gathering gaming tournments; and Jeff and me.
Honestly, though, the wife’s family was nearly as colorful and exotic in its own way; and some of them are a hell of a lot of fun. Her sister and brother-in-law, especially, are a blast, and I had a great time flirting shamelessly with them both all weekend, and being flirted with in return.
Because of my new obsession with photography, I was deemed the unofficial official (or official unofficial) photographer. Unfortunately, the conditions were far from ideal for casual photography; the service took place in a crowded, small and largely candle- and firelit room inside the inn. Taking photos without a flash required long exposures and a steadier hand than I generally can muster–and resulted in an overly warm orange cast–while photos taken with flash were, as usually is the case, harsh, unflattering and unnaturally sharp. Thank goodness for Photoshop. As I process the images and color-correct them–and/or play with some presentation tricks like duotones, sepia, B&W and soft focus to try to make them at all usable–I’m uploading them to a Flickr set, where they’ll also end up as entries here.
Highlights of the weekend, besides the wonderfully intimate service itself, included:
- a focus on incredible food and wine, fostered by the groom’s oenophilia and the bride’s expertise with gourmet cooking. The service was preceded earlier Saturday afternoon by an informal gathering together for tea, scones and sandwiches, and was followed immediately by champagne and hôrs d’oeuvres leading into an incredible five-course meal (and an amuse bouche as well) with wines hand-picked to compliment the choices of starters and main courses; with our proximity to the bride and groom at dinner (we sat directly across from them, next to her brother-in-law) Jeff and I were invited along with the three of them to sample a flight of all the evening’s wines.
- the venue itself, a charming B&B in Taneytown, Maryland, about an hour and a half north of DC. Our room featured a four-poster feather bed–tall enough that it required a stepstool to enter; a writing desk, on which rested our complimentary half-bottle of méthode champenoise sparkling wine; breakfast delivered to our door Sunday morning, along with the Sunday newspaper; and a bathroom the size of our bedroom at home, with its own seating and jacuzzi tub. The inn boasts a wonderful little pub, with a huge selection of scotches, and has attracted an amazing chef. It also has the charm of an aging but proud silent film star, with its mud-choked duck pond, lonely irises poking their heads through the dead annuals of last summer around the leaf-filled fountain, sandy tennis court and pool cover collapsing under the weight of brackish rainwater reminding me of The Hotel New Hampshire or some formerly glorious seaside resort, now closed for the end of the season.
- hours spent at the afore-mentioned pub, drinking port, and engaging in a fine mixture of deep conversation and flirtation;
- the company, including the bride’s delightful and funny aunt and uncle; interesting, talented and gorgeous cousins; and especially her wickedly entertaining and entertainingly wicked sister and brother-in-law.
- the groom’s stepmother’s comment, upon seeing our room and jacuzzi, that all Jeff and I needed to make the weekend complete was a “couple of nice girls.” I mused later that she probably felt especially sorry for us that we had to share a bed.
Despite that last, however, most of the other guests were well-aware of the nature of the relationship between Jeff and me and, in an interesting outcome of the burgeoning acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships (despite the best efforts of this administration and its base), I found myself subjected more than once to something I’d never before encountered nor expected, the question my single straight friends long had bemoaned as the curse of attending the nuptials of others–“So when are you two going to get married?”