Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rustic Vermont Wedding

A bolt of fear shot through me as I read Will's email regarding his (& Jenn's) upcoming wedding: "Please ensure you bring mosquito repellent, a sleeping bag, and an umbrella, the camp is a little rustic. Please also note there is no cellphone reception or internet."

Up until this point, I had been enjoying my return to civilisation and creature comforts after the Caucasus & Bhutan, but apparently this was about to be abruptly terminated! How could Vermont have less internet coverage than Kyrgyzstan? After the luxuries of Bernd's wedding, how could I face a weekend wedding at a summer camp? And if I was worried, then what would James be thinking? On the plane to NY Nic & I pondered (while enjoying our business class upgrade- thanks KLM!) whether he still planned to attend- especially after the continued abuse I had been receiving over email about his slow recovery from our Central Asian adventures.

After a quick blitz through NYC (Ahhh, those restaurants!), we were in an SUV en route to Northern Vermont. Upon arrival at the summer camp, I could see our fears were unfounded. The summer camp, while rustic, was beautifully situated on a lake, with a kind of "Meatballs meets Dirty Dancing" look, but with a rolling lawn looking down the hillside to the shore, perfect for an outdoor wedding. True to form, Will had already jumped (or been thrown?) in the lake by the time we arrived, and it was fantastic to catch up with more b-school classmates as we gathered for drinks by the lake.

Following delightful sunset drinks by the lake (for better or worse, nobody else ended up in the lake), we crawled up the hill to face an enormous barbeque of barbeque (it's an American thing). We roasted S'Mores (another American thing) over an outdoor campfire. Motes (another American thing- well, actually, a person, but he gets extra credit because he's an avid reader of this blog. Ed. Note: Not this Motes) played the guitar and we all sang songs under a sparkling blanket of stars. Before too long, it was just Nic, Will & I sitting around the campfire, debating the finer points of our sailing trips, and Nic & I trying to figure out how to make the vodka last until the afterparty the following night.

Unfortunately, later that night the rain came down, and didn't stop again until Sunday. DK (or maybe it was Fei) had the epic idea, that since we were in Vermont anyhow, it would be criminal not to visit the home of Ben & Jerry's, just up the road (OK, an hour or so). Indeed, the factory tour was very interesting (e.g. Did you know that Unilever purchased Slim-Fast the same day it purchased Ben & Jerry's?), however after demolishing a litre of Ben & Jerry's on the way back to the summer camp, I was wishing I'd stuck to Slim-Fast.

Despite the rain, the wedding was beautifully done, officiated by Will's Dad in the lodge. The night continued with plenty of drinking, dancing, & speeches, followed by a kick-ass after-party (if I do say so myself) hosted by Nic & I. As the photos to the left indicate, maybe we had one or two drinks, I can't remember too clearly, but I am certain that Russkie Pop has never been sung quite so vociferously in the woods of Vermont before or since (can someone please explain how I ended up with the large burn on my arm)?

The following morning, we crawled to delightful brunch at Will's parents place on another lake (now I understand why Will turned out like he is), and then headed back to Manhattan. I collected my newly-purchased LP guides and and on the plane (no upgrade- damn Delta) studied England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales so I could figure out where to go next week!

Upon reflection, it was hard to imagine two more different weddings than Will's & Bernd's, but both were spectacularly done in their own way, and each was so true to the couples they were celebrating. I felt truly fortunate to have been able to attend them both in such a short space of time and be able to appreciate each for such different reasons.

Photos are here.

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