When we arrived nieces Lauren and Leslie (the bride) greeted us, as did my sister. Just as a reminder, my sister and her husband are active Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) and their religion's policy is not to associate with disfellowshipped people, including relatives. Both my nieces chose not to get baptized into the JW faith, so since they were never 'official' JWs their parents do not treat them like a disfellowshipped person. The concept is you can't be disfellowshipped from something you didn't commit to. I'm sure that if my sister and brother-in-law had it their way, I would not have been invited. But my niece Leslie invited us and we were happy to be included. Leslie is 27 years old. The last time I saw her was 24 years ago. It was great to see my 2 nieces and meet their guys.
So my sister gave me a hug, and once we were seated I ended up diagonally across from her, so we participated in most of the same conversations over dinner. After dinner, some of the folks went to a bowling alley. I'd been instant messaging with my cousin's son Andy who had just flown in an we decided to meet at the bowing alley. Andy is 30 years old. The last time I saw him was 24 years ago. Andy's parents were both JWs when he was a boy, but his mom (my cousin) decided to leave the religion when he was a teenager so he and his brother were never baptized either. It was really nice to catch up with Andy, hear about his wife and 8 month old baby, and some of the other relatives I haven't seen or heard about in a long time.
The next day Mary, Spouse & I had breakfast at the hotel, then drove into downtown Fayetteville for the Dogwood Festival, which we had heard started at 11:00. The website showed no times for the events nor a specific location, which we thought was odd. Once we parked and stopped into a couple shops we asked about the festival and were told its location. When we arrived there we saw a banner indicating it started at 3:00! We ducked into a couple other little shops on our way back to the car, then picked up Andy and the 4 of us went to lunch, then back to the hotel to get ready.
The wedding ceremony was short but sweet and was immediately followed by the reception. The venue was great! I really liked the rustic, industrial bones of the building, softened by fabric table clothes, flowers, candles, and photos in vintage frames.
The food was scrumptious, there was an open bar, and a DJ played music for dancing. Andy was seated at the table with Mary, Spouse & me, as were my niece Lauren and her boyfriend Jimmy. We had a lovely time.
|Leslie & Brandon|
|Me with Leslie & Brandon|
|Jimmy & Lauren|
|Spouse & me with Andy|
|Lauren photobombing Mary, Spouse & me|