|Barrett and Dosha|
My brother, Barrett, is amazing. He's an entomologist who teaches at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse. He does scientific illustration and sleep research on bees, and is an all around brilliant, compassionate, and funny guy. I'm constantly floored by his knowledge and talent, and his enthusiasm for life and learning is inspiring. I adore Barrett and I'm honored to be able to say I'm his sister.
My new sister-in-law, Dosha, is gentle, kind, and creative. When she heard the news a few years back that Ian was being deployed to Iraq again, her first response was that she would find a week or two to come out to Milwaukee and help me. And she did. Living through a deployment with small children teaches you quickly who really means it when they say they are there for you, and it's not always the people you expect. Those ten days where Dosha stayed with us and made it possible for me to breathe easier for a little while will always mean the world to me. I love her.
The two of them make a lovely couple. It's the kind of pairing that seems so natural that it's hard to imagine them not together. Barrett's energy and extroversion is nicely balanced with Dosha's calm and patient amusement. Just knowing they have each other makes me happy and feel better about the world.
So, of course, they had a lovely wedding. It was unique and moving and fun, just like their relationship.
|Quinn with program handmade by my mom|
Everything about this wedding went right, even as problems seemed to arise. For instance, our brother, Arno, officiated the ceremony but forgot his suit at our house in Milwaukee. He ended up wearing the outfit that the bride and groom had originally requested he wear anyway. My dad had hoped to get through the reading of his poem without getting overly emotional, but when he started to cry it was moving to have Arno stand with him supportively as he finished.
The main potential problem was that the weather at first was disappointing. It was about five degrees too cold to comfortably have the ceremony outside at the Eco Park in LaCrosse where the wedding was held. But I think the accommodations indoors were superior to what we would have experienced outside. Better seating, better acoustics (says the only person there performing live music who knows how poor her viola would have sounded outdoors by comparison), just all kinds of better for that portion of the event. And the cooler weather was perfect for the post-ceremony hike. (I'll get to that in a moment.)
The logistics of this wedding were a little involved on our end, because my parents and my brother Arno and his family came to stay with us in Milwaukee a few days ahead of the wedding, both to spend the extra time together and also to make the cake. Ian (along with Quinn and Aden) waited until the day of the wedding to drive the three and a half hours across the state, and the rest of us went out a day early to enjoy a wedding-eve dinner in Barrett and Dosha's new house and then stay in a hotel.
I got to bring just Mona along with me for the pre-wedding festivities. It would have been too much to have all of us go, but I really didn't like the idea of leaving my entire family behind. Mona is the child I have the biggest challenge finding one-on-one time with. Aden and Quinn are more likely to seek me out if they want me to themselves, and most of the time if I offer to do something alone with Mona she objects to the idea of leaving her siblings out because she doesn't want them to feel bad. So I asked Aden if she minded if I took just Mona out to LaCrosse, and she thought it was a great idea. She said she would keep Quinn happy in my absence and that Mona should have some mom time. With Aden's seal of approval, Mona was happy to go.
|Mona and her bird drawing|
|Another Mona sketch|
Mona snuggled close in the hotel bed we shared, happily made a waffle at the breakfast buffet in the morning, and got to play in the hotel pool with her cousin. She even made my dad's day the morning of the wedding when he read her his poem for practice, and then she told him it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever heard. Getting the chance to spend time with Mona apart from her siblings was one of my favorite things the whole weekend.
We met up with the rest of our family at the Eco Park building, which is a nice learning facility right on a marsh. Aden and Quinn were busily making a sign to guide guests, and had helped their Uncle Barrett decorate the reception tables with small trilobite fossils and foreign coins with animal life depicted on them (including several with bees). One of the guests had contributed fresh cut lilacs and other flowers which made the room smell terrific.
The reception room was adjacent to the main room of the Eco Park building which had a tree as its centerpiece, and enough room for all the small children in attendance to run about in. (There were large cardboard blocks under the stairs that kept all the kids entertained for hours.)
He even plugged my book before I played.
For music I selected two pieces. I was invited to play one tune during the ceremony ("Something Renaissance-y"), and I added a transposed version of the same tune I used for Arno's wedding years ago (which was an aria from Handel's Ariadne that my parents had at their own wedding) to play in the moments when people were getting seated. For my standalone piece I chose Carabanda (composer unknown) off a CD the hospital gave us when Aden was born. It was something I used to dance with her to in our kitchen and she loved it, so it still makes me smile. It's cheerful, but complex, so I had a composer friend help me write out an arrangement into something that would work on solo viola. Everyone seemed to enjoy it (particularly the bride and groom), so it was worth the effort.
Here's a snippet off my sister-in-law's phone. Supposedly there is a longer version and I'll put that up instead when I get it.
The rings were really interesting. Barrett had them custom made: His from a small image of a bee, and hers from an actual trilobite fossil:
|Aden, Barrett, Mona, Ellora and Quinn right before the hike|
My mom and I teamed up on the hive cake and all the kids helped decorate the accompanying bee and flower cupcakes. (Earlier post about how we made the cake here.)
|Eventually we got to the bottom layer|
Then there were dancing lessons! Barrett and Dosha arranged for someone to teach us Swing and Salsa. We had a great deal of fun, but mostly I learned that I am horrible at both Swing and Salsa. But who cares? I got to dance with my handsome husband, which is rarer than it should be.
|Dad and Deepanjana dancing away!|
|Barrett and Dosha|
|Me and Ian|
I'm leaving out a million things. The wedding already feels like it was more than a month ago because back here in our regular life school is winding down and Quinn learned to ride a bike and dozens of violins and bows have gone in and out of our shop.
Life can be such a whirlwind it's important to stake out certain days for special moments or it all blurs together. People can argue that there is too much put into weddings anymore, and I am quick to agree having participated in some ceremonies that were unnecessarily over the top, but it depends on how you do it. There was nothing over the top about this wedding aside from the amount of affection and fun found there. It was a day to celebrate a relationship we believe in. The beautiful thing about weddings is they are one of the rare rites of passage that overlap different areas of your life and you get to have family and friends and colleagues in the same place. It was wonderful to meet so many of the people that are important to both Barrett and Dosha. It was a privilege to be a part of their day.