Earthworms’ Castings

With Jean Ponzi

Going To Weddings

When my colleague Rob and his bride Mary invited our whole working team (and our partners) to their nuptials this summer, we were thrilled — and surprised. A group our size is a big chunk on a guest list. But we cleaned up nicely and, I believe, contributed to their lovely day.

A wedding-guest day precludes much in the way of jobs or projects. I got the front grass mowed and zipped the vacuum around our pet-furred floors, but then it was time to spruce up. Between a 2:00 service and 6 pm reception, nothing sweaty or messy can get done. I indulged in some Fun With Outfits. Trying on combos of dress-up shape and hue to dance with Mary and Rob, I mused through wedding memories.

Turns out I haven’t gone to all that many. I skipped my generation’s wedding-every-weekend era. Through the years when my peers got hitched, I was Mz. Alternative Lifestyle.

Exception: the early 80’s wedding of super-popular St. Louis artists Bob and Sarah, where my stash of vintage cool stuff provided the length of embroidered silk that became the bridal skirt of the fabulous woman who became my Best Friend. A unique ceremonial element was passing around their rings. Every guest held and blessed them, a touching exchange with family and friends that my True Love Dale and I (much later) did too. Whoop-de-do of that wedding fete in a photographer’s studio was laced with magic mushrooms. As far as I can recall, it was big fun.

I’ve never been a Bridesmaid, but I am a diverse ceremonial contributor.
Half a century ago, I was asked to sing at the wedding of my college beau’s younger sister. She and I were just the same age, and there our similarity ceased. I was, however, able to sound a sweet note amid her conservative Catholic Sheboygan Wisconsin family circle as warbler of Sunrise, Sunset. Then I got myself engaged to her bro. Luckily, at that age, briefly.

When I got to Minneapolis for my cousin Craig’s 1990 wedding to Andrea, the family tapped its professional videographer, me. I viewed their ceremony standing perfectly (not distracting!) still on the altar by a potted palm, taping the couple’s faces past the profiles of bridesmaids. I had just suffered a towering romantic breakup, so I was not in the best mood. That changed when my Mom took me shopping for a beautiful flowered dress and I met the groom’s college chum who, like me at that time, was a swing dancer, also a dead ringer for my idol, PeeWee Herman. Then I caught the bouquet!

As our gift to David and April, the son and daughter-to-be of dear friends, Dale and I, by then long and happily hitched, photographed their Salida, Colorado, wedding. We enjoyed a super-fun caravan west with Missouri extended family, and a group stay in a sprawling mountain view vacation house, where I helped the groom’s mother bake, from scratch, two dozen reception pies. As female member of the shutterbug crew, my assignment took me into the town’s restored 1909 gem, the Palace Hotel, to document Bridal Dressing. From the sweatshirt calm of April’s personal makeup hour (her stylist was a gorgeous young man with flowing hair in deerskin boots) to the rustling flurry of Mother and Maids shimmying into their – and their Bride’s – gowns, I had to concentrate on my job, immersed in such a pool of beauty.

When Sophie, daughter of painter and writer friends, married Paul at Joe’s Café, a beatnik artist juke joint favored by many locals, Dale and I dug into our supplies and festooned the place with swags of tulle, rosebud clusters (we have 3 boxes, 100 each of pale and deep pink and coral) and LED lights. The bride especially appreciated these twinkling garlands around the coffin centerpiece of the 3-D collage on the wall of Joe’s stage.

Not many, but mighty memorable. The best wedding was my own with Dale, which remains the single most fun event of my life. And that’s another story.

Jean Ponzi views life from a Green perspective – and shares it in conversations — through her KDHX Earthworms podcasts. Pick ‘em up at podcasts.kdhx.org, or through iTunes.