Partial to Marshall: my recounting of The Flanagan Wedding

It was a fairytale. But then again most things that happen to me are fairy tales. I seem completely incapable of having a moment of any kind, without some magic, some drama, some soul wrenching, heart pounding moment of absolute insanity. Though to say this dramatic interpretation of events is a consequence of my overactive imagination, and drama queen-esque  nature would not be far from the truth.

He was absolutely dreamy.

I don’t know what anyone else sees when they see him,

but its all naughty smiles and happy eyes for me.

Happy eyes are the best!!!!

Weddings are magical in their own right. Throw in some big hearts, and just the right group of friends and family and you have magic threefold.

The Flanagan Wedding: June 28th, 2014 was bound to be a magical night.

Let’s start with Mackenzie.

She loves to recount the story of how one day, back in 2005 in Biology class, just a little while after we had first met, I looked at her and, without a  shred of doubt, said that we were sisters in a past life. I don’t recall what 15-year-old me was thinking but I know that sometimes you meet people, and you know them, and recognize them as though you had known them for centuries. Mackenzie is such a person. The way I love her and want her happiness is no less than how I feel about my own sisters. I like to say  “Friendship is Love that lasts forever.” Mackenzie is a great example of this love. For the last 10 years that we’ve known each other, despite the distance, the YEARS of not seeing each other, when I re-entered her life in 2013 it was seamless.  And to be a part of some of the most important moments in her life in these past couple of years has brought me unspeakable happiness.

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Then there is her Wade. And let’s be clear ladies, Wade is her Man!

And to me he will always be Vanilla.

I remember when Kenzie told me that she started talking to Wade. Wade was a heartbreaker in high school. We all crushed on him, despite his crazy girlfriend. But Wade and I hadn’t spoken 2 words to each other throughout high school. We finally met, unfortunately not under the best circumstances. When Mackenzie messaged me late one night that her Dad had passed away I did the only thing I could do. I booked a flight to Wellington the next day. I arrived a couple of hours before her, and there, in the front yard of their house is where I met Vanilla. That night Wade and I went digging for something to drink. The only thing in Uncle Jimbo’s liquor cabinet was a bottle of Vanilla Vodka, and in the fridge a half-gallon of Peach Ice Tea. Over the next hours we drank the entire bottle, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world. Getting smashed with the future husband of my sister; what could be more natural!! Needless to say we get along extremely well. He’s my vanilla, and I’m his Peach Iced Tea.

When I arrived in Williamsport, PA the week of the wedding, I wasn’t sure what I expected. I had spent time with Mackenzie’s wonderful and hilarious family in Indiana, and I had heard endlessly about the Flanagan clan. Wade has 2 brothers, a sister and 2 step brothers.

The first Flanagan in my arms was Paige. Not to play favourites, but Paige Terrill is my favorite Flanagan. The love of my life. Paige and her bundle of joy Lewis, are the light in this family. So much love and laughter surround these two. Paige is a spectacular mom, and when all the girls bonded through stories and girl-love at the bachelorette i knew in my heart we were meant to be friends. I don’t hesitate to say she is one of the most loving, happiest people I know; not to mention most gorgeous. (I do have a penchant for red-heads though.)

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Next I met Flip Flanagan. The youngest Flanagan. Cray Cray adorbs and an all-round good fellow. Flip has a devil-may-care attitude he wears like a shield to cover up the fact that he is the kind of sweetheart who is competing for “best uncle” category with Marshall. Flip may not have known at the time, but his perfect dimples were about to be the talk of the town. Dimples for Daaaaayssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandy Marconi. Sister-wife. I have no words to describe her. Together we were eternally up to no good. But also completely dedicated to each other. I’m honestly without words to describe this love at first sight. Except may be to say #sisterwivesforevahh # wedon’ttalkaboutit

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And then I met Marshall. (Drumroll please…)

The day after I arrived, I was still in my pajamas when Marshall walked into the kitchen. KABOOM! HOTNESS! Those were very close to the actual thoughts I was having. I also found myself rather dumbstruck, unable to think of a single thing to say to this boy. As you all know by now, I always have SOMETHING to say- but for the life of me I didn’t know what to say. I had never met anyone like him before- at least not someone who made me so unsteady. We all went to have breakfast that morning courtesy Marshall, and I remember Aunty Judy asking me if I was alright. I nodded emphatically but honestly I was rather shell-shocked.

Days passed with a perfectly natural flow for a wedding. We had a girls day in Harrisburg and got our nails done, I drank too much Creek water and too much whiskey. Tensions were high, and then they were low. Families coming together is never an easy thing. Different views, different histories, different everything and now suddenly we’re forced into a small  plot of time and space where everything needs to happen with perfect fluidity. Scary!

Thursday morning the boys took Wade to the Poconos for a morning of awesome Paintball, and an evening of strip club debauchery. The girls gathered at the cabin where the wedding would be held in 2 days time. We had our own share of debauchery. And that’s all I will say about that. In a state of unmitigated drunkenness while Mandy raved about Dimples of Days, I announced in quiet certainty, “Personally, I’m partial to Marshall.” If something could go “viral” without being on the internet, or if something could go viral in the backwoods of Pennsylvania this was it. Announced in a perfect british accent, it was impossible not to repeat it when you heard it. Or so it seemed.

The picture where everyone looks normal.. and DAMNN we look good!

And hear it, he did, the next evening at the Rehearsal Dinner.

As a small aside- Lewis Terrill was a little weary of me when we first met. We joked that it was my dark skin and how it made it difficult for his little 2-year-old eyes to “see my features.”  But as the usual favourite of small children, it was a personal goal of mine to make this gorgeous little boy love me. So that evening, while everyone went inside Noni’s house Lew and I strolled down to the creek.  We sat on the steps and looked at the water, and the dead tree in the water. We talked about life, and I told him how awesome it is that he has such a close and loving family. I remember telling him that I had a family like that too, and it made me into this awesome person. We played tag for a little while and slowly more people streamed out to the back yard. I mixed myself a drink, and we all sat or stood around talking and laughing. Like most of the week, pretty soon I was in a happy place.  Megan Cooney, who went to high school with us, is a riot! Rob, one of the other groomsmen was equally boisterous.

Down by the Creek

At some point Mandy told Flip about “Dimples for Dayss” and inevitably someone said, “Pavi’s Partial to Marshall.” I was mortified, but drunk enough not to truly care. It was a wedding after all; inhibitions were low, and the  obvious end of all these interactions was looming just 24 hours away.

I remember standing around later in the night with everybody. Wade’s uncle Lew, was telling me something about seeing the Bachelorette shenanigans from across the creek. I met Wade’s dad Phil and Bev. It’s such an interesting phenomenon, meeting a friend’s family. It’s like watching a play, and then getting a backstage tour. It’s also like suddenly finding out that you recognize the play, and the stage, and the actors and having a crazy dance party.

As the night cooled off, and we all started to head back to our cars Marshall said,

“ I’m P squared. Partial to Pavi.”  (Ummm.. swoon.)

 

The next morning we all head back out. We dispatched Mackenzie to a nearby cabin for Shannon (her cousin) to work her magic with hair and make up. All the friends and family were milling around helping with the little items that needed to be done. Megan and I had the honour of hammering the signs along the route to the wedding. And as we drove out to join the other bridesmaid’s at the other cabin we passed Noni and Wade’s aunt Lisa decorating the trees. Everyone had a hand in the wedding which made it that much more special.

The hours we spent in the cabin with the girls (and Tyler snapping pictures, Gary making the  tags for the glasses) was so great for the soul. The girls puttering over each other. Curling each other’s hair. Doing each other’s make up. Occasional sightings of Kokoum (the boy up the creek who had the unfortunate pleasure of kayaking by the cabin on the eve of the bachelorette party… need I say more?)

We head back to the cabin an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start. Alexa went through the intricate process of lacing the corset back of Mackenzie’s gorgeous wedding dress. In the meantime, Paige sew me into my dress, because in my infinite wisdom I decided to sew my own bridesmaid dress and wasn’t able to do the back myself.

 

Then- The Wedding.

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Everyone was sitting and  Wade was at the arbour. Alexa had the list of who walks with who, but the unruly groomsmen were walking to the drinks tent moments before we were meant to start walking down the aisle. After barely gathering them back (and insisting they cannot carry their drinks down the aisle) the wedding party very nearly sprinted down the aisle. Despite the “rehearsal dinner” we never actually rehearsed what we were meant to do. It all worked out however because as Lewis and Trey (the ring bearers) were walking down, Lew decided to make a small stop-over at the dance floor and shake his little booty.

Mackenzie looked absolutely stunning.

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The whole time I watched Wade’s face you could see in his glittering blue eyes, tears that he was doing his best to hold back. Holding back tears is for normal people. I was bawling and laughing the entire time. Mackenzie had to tell me to cut it out in the middle of the ceremony, and when I went up to tie the ribbon she gave me a little peck. It meant the world to me. As the ceremony came to an end Kenzie made this wedding uniquely hers by yelling “Let’s Party Bitches!”  the shenanigans indeed began.

It was a breathtaking evening. Lots of tears, lots of laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. A few stolen kisses, and declarations and infatuations, missing members of the wedding party, a swim in the creek; General drunkenness, and dancing and dancing and dancing the night away.

One of my most favourite memories (and one of the only complete ones) was sitting in a hammock chair under the cabin, nursing my Jack and Coke, waving Mackenzie and Wade goodbye at midnight. A memory of absolute bliss. The wedding was an unparalleled success, my sister was married to the man of her dreams, and I was sitting in a hammock on a cool June evening with my favourite drink.

Indubitably, a few of those stolen kisses were mine. In a most surprising turn of events, the most handsome man at the wedding featured greatly in most of my broken, disconnected  memories of laughter and inebriation of the Flanagan wedding. The me I was that night; the me I was around him was completely out of character and admittedly a little nuts. The things I found myself saying and doing shook me to my core. For once, I wasn’t Pavi the responsible adult, Pavi the older sister, Pavi the  breadwinner. I was simply Pavi- the girl.

It was a magnificent night.

A  night that changed me, and woke me up.

A night that taught me to be young, to chase happiness and be unapologetically happy.

I have memories to be treasured.

I have memories not to be spoiled by implications or explanations.

 Just a perfect memory of  a night when Pavi was Partial to Marshall, and Marshall was Partial to Pavi.

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