|Alex and Shauni John and party. Freshly married.|
Just like hiking, things weren't "ideal", but thanks to my daughter's meticulous planning, preparation and flexibility, it ended up being "perfect".
For the last two weeks or so, we have been checking the weather. Fretting a bit here and there as the forecast constantly changed from cloudy, to rainy, to windy. It ended up being a bit windy, with temperatures in the 50's, but hey, it's October and we half expected it while hoping for a burst of Indian Summer to come along.
Shauni had always wanted an outdoor wedding and I'm proud to say that Lisa and my influence had a little to do with it. Here's a quote from her card to us.
"Thank you for instilling the love of the outdoors in me so that I had the desire to have a wedding outside. Rain or shine. I'm glad to begin this new journey surrounded by nature."All her life, we have been camping and hiking with our kids. One clear memory I have of Shauni is walking (and carrying) her up a steep trail in Yosemite to the top of a raging waterfall. It was raining or misting and a little chilly as we continued to the top, singing "rain, rain, go away" together. She was only about two at the time, but I could see the wonder in her eyes as we watched the power of nature in that waterfall. Another memory is when we were being transferred back East after a tour in California. We had stopped for the night in Utah, camping on the edge of the salt flats. The wind kicked up fiercely in the night, pulling the tent stakes from the sandy soil. Lisa and I spread ourselves out to each side to hold the tent in place as Shauni slept soundly in the cacophony of the roaring wind.
|Dad and Daughter at Vernal Falls, Yosemite, CA|
|Lunch at the falls|
|Car camping in NC|
|Hiking in PA|
|Hiking in VA|
So, I was happy to learn that she wanted an outdoor wedding and the venue she chose was very nice. A Nature Center in Owings Mills. The small rise above a large meadow was the perfect backdrop after a short walk down a path. The reception would be back near the Nature Center in a large tent, with walls and a couple of heaters.
It was Friday, the day before the wedding and time for the rehearsal. A line of storms rolled through the area as a cold front arrived. The cleansing rain that pattered on the windshield as we drove North had stopped when we all came together to go over the ceremony with the wedding planner and the freshness you could see and feel was marvelous.
After a very nice dinner at a nearby Green Turtle, we all headed to our resting places for the night. Shauni to the hotel, Alex back their new home so he wouldn't see his bride until the appointed time and us back to our home where the dogs waited for us.
|After Rehearsal Dinner|
|After the Wedding|
I threw my base layer merino wool long sleeve shirt on under my suit, just in case and was pretty comfortable the whole night.
We all arrived at our appointed places at the correct times. I hung out with the men for a while. Watching the nervousness on my soon to be son-in-law as we waited for 5 o'clock to arrive. I was called into the room where my daughter was waiting to see her fully dressed in the most amazing gown and was stuck by her beauty. It was hard to believe someone so beautiful came from me.
Most of us forgot about the cold and wind. There was a super blast of wind right at the beginning of the ceremony that filled the air with leaves. It was amazing and everyone commented on it later. We came to believe that it was Shauni's grand mothers checking in and giving their blessing.
|Bride, Groom and his Men|
From making her and her bridesmaid's bouquets from the pages of Harry Potter books, to hand made wooden place cards, to every centerpiece of pine cones, acorns and slabs of wood picked up by all of us in the woods of MD and PA. Everything came together to make a most memorable event.
|Handmade Place Cards|
|Center piece and favor of S'more ingredients|
|Proud Father of the Bride|
I'm pretty sure that every father of a daughter has worried that his baby won't find the right man to be her partner in life.
When I first met Alex, I had a strong feeling that this might be the man. As I saw their love for each other grow over the years, I became sure of it.
I could see that both of them had found someone to keep watch over and keep safe.
So, as they say in the services and on the job, you have the watch. I stand relieved.
To Alex and Shauni, may your watch be long and sweet.
I love you baby. Congratulations!
|Mr and Mrs John|