The Wedding Story: A Tovans Tale (as told by Jonathan)

Hello, my friends, hello. Sit right back and you'll hear a tale... a tale of a fateful trip (or choke). Okay, you know when I start off with Lionel Ritchie and Gilligan's Island, it's going to be a good yarn. And this one's a doozey. What, were you expecting anything less from the wedding of Jonathan and Lily?

This tale truly begins June 24, 1999 (around 5:30 PM). An email introduction from Megan Smith led Lily and I to arrange to go to a Congressional baseball game at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, MD. Lily arranged it for me to meet her at her office, in the Hall's of the Cannon Building. For someone not accustomed to the hallowed halls of Congress, it was a bit intimidating. I overcame that initial shock, and we hit it off instantly, talking constantly throughout the baseball game. As it so happens, Lily's birthday was the next day, and Lily's friends kinda forced her into inviting me to the planned event. Recognizing our instant attraction, I of course said I'd go. Then didn't. And didn't contact her again for several months. What, you've never heard of a guy not wanting to get into a relationship before? However, I did drop a line again after several months, and we began our series of non-dates. We didn't have our real first date until the day I found out I was going over to London. Neither of us wanting a long-distance relationship, she and I agreed to see each other casually. As fate would have it, though, when we both left our jobs, we both ended up in Santa Rosa, CA. Yep, that's the magical part. Once I got an apartment in San Francisco, I told her she could stay with me until she found her own place. Of course, she never left. We went from being "shacked up" then to "officially moved in together" in Palo Alto. I then moved to Charlottesville, so I guess we ended up doing a long distance relationship after all. And of course, last summer I finally proposed. That's the story of Lily and Jonathan, the "singles scene."

The wedding week began as most might: a bit of stress, a lot of flustered planning, but mostly a lot of love going around. The family began to arrive, and we did our best to spend time with everyone... while putting them to work, of course. Friday night, the "festivities" really kicked off, though. We had our bachelor/bachelorette nights. Mine consisted of heading to a bar at 4:30 PM and staying put with my brother/best man while people came and went. It was a great time, and saw the debut of the lightsabers given to me by my groomsmen/now-brothers-in-law (people will see the sabers throughout the wedding photos). Lily, meanwhile, went with her ladies to mexican food, a concert, then they did a bit of boxer-raiding, as they crashed my man-shindig at the bar. A great time was had by all.

Next up, the rehearsal dinner, or as we dubbed it, the "Wingding." We invited everyone to this, and 80% of the people accepted. This was just a great time. People relaxed and had fun just chatting away while eating barbeque. I know my family put a lot of work into something that was a bit out of the ordinary, and I can't thank them enough for making this happen. It went well beyond the allotted time, and stretched out into several local pubs well into the early morning, from what I've heard. My bride and I called it a night around 10 PM. I do look forward to the stories from what happened with others later on.

That brings us to the wedding day. Around 2:30 AM, I finally was beginning to relax and fall asleep at my brother's house, when my just-as-anxious bride called. We chatted about everything that still needed to be done, and just told each other how excited we were to finally be married. While we didn't stay on the phone too long, I think you can safely say that neither of us slept much that night. We were both so excited about the wedding... well, at least we made it through the ceremony.

The ceremony itself was wonderful, beautiful, perfect... and steamy-hot. Sure, in that sexy way, but mostly thanks to the Virginia weather that decided to make it the first official day of summer. Fortunately, the majority of people were in the shade. However, I do apologize to those that didn't quite make it into that area... and had to sweat it out. Most particularly, I thank my best man and groomsmen for not passing out, as they had to stand through the whole thing. Myself and my bride... we were just so happy with everything that neither of us remember the heat. What I remember is how beautiful my bride was, how my new-brother-in-law Eric revealed his hidden talent for sewing as he fixed my tux button a few minutes before the wedding, how perfect the celebrant was in conducting the unusual service (sexual innuendos and all), my best man remembering/not dropping the rings, how perfectly Jove and Mike D'antoni performed "I Chose Right," my sister-in-law Kari not laughing at the odd start to the reading, and how touched I was by the family and friends that spoke during the "Quaker Ritual." I still tear up at the things that were said. Then, of course, I remember the hugging of my new and old family. And the winks, smiles, and cheers from my friends. Our photographer was amazing at keeping people smiling during all those photos... and then we all headed down to the reception.

Ah, the reception. As someone wrote in our guestbook, "Having a great time. Wish you were here!" It began as most receptions might. Lily and I felt the love of everyone wash over us as we walked through the lightsaber arch into our movie-themed hall. We hugged and mingled, and ate our salad before beginning to make the rounds to all the different tables. We made it to one table before we had to sit down for the best man speech. Marc made the perfect speech.: funny, serious, and embarrassing. Our waiters then brought us our food first so we could get back to making the rounds. We took our first bite of food, and...

Lily first made a cough, which made me worry that she was choking. She calmed me down, and told me not to worry about things. After a few seconds, she looked a bit off, and told me that she thought that she should go to the bathroom to try to work out whatever was caught in her throat. I walked her part way there, but she told me to sit back down, and so I did. I have to say, sitting alone at one's wedding reception, while worrying about your bride choking to death in the bathroom was an experience I never want to relive. My Mom looked over at me and could tell something was wrong, so she came over and asked me what was going on. I told her, and she hurried to the bathroom. I then saw her quickly run out and get my EMT cousin John. I then decided I couldn't wait any longer. One of Lily's sisters, though, had me calm down and wait outside the bathroom. Finally, though, I insisted that I go in. Lily was fine: embarrassed and annoyed, though. A piece of meat had gotten caught in her esophagus. She fortunately could breath, but couldn't get the meat down. This was causing her to vomit, and fun stuff like that. She asked me to give her the Heimlich, which I did, but to no avail (not surprisingly, since that requires air to force the food out). We finally decided we had to get Lily's mom, a doctor, to tell us what to do. She told us in no uncertain terms that the only thing to do was go to the Emergency Room. So we had my cousin John bring his car around, and I cleared out the kitchen, so we could get Lily out of there without scaring our guests.

Lily and I will both tell you: if you have to go to the ER, the way to do it is in wedding attire. Sure, they kept the life and death folk at the top of the list, but they got us in within a couple of minutes. It was amazing. Lily kept telling everyone that yes, indeed, this was her wedding day, and that everyone would have a good story later. She was in good spirits. Myself, I could care less what was going on, I just wanted to make sure that she was all right. I still had a fear that she was in danger of the meat moving, and her choking to death. The doctors did their best to help Lily without undoing her dress, but eventually determined that an X-ray was in order, and that the dress was going to have to come mostly off. When we all looked at the buttons, we looked at each other in desperation. They said, "Wow. I don't think you could have gotten this off her on your own." So it took three of us to unbutton that dress. Of course, while we were doing this, Lily was trying to make light of the situation, and said, "At least my vomit isn't smelly." I didn't correct my bride at the time, but let me assure you, the smell in the room was not pleasant. After the X-ray, a doctor came in to explain the situation. The meat was lodged in a place they could not reach easily. They were hoping to fix the problem with a muscle relaxant, but if that didn't work, they were going to have to call in the GI team, which would take quite a long time. As they prepared Lily for the IV, we all got to listen to the crazy lady next door insist that she had 19 children and that Clinton was still President. Meanwhile, I didn't want to leave Lily, so I tried using a phone in the room. Unfortunately, I couldn't reach anyone, so I made sure Lily was okay, and went looking for my cousin John. He was still there, so I told him what was up, and that he should get going back to the party and make sure the cake was cut, etc. He gave me his cell phone, and did as I asked. A little bit later, Lily's Mom came by with my brother, her friend, and a couple others. Lily's Mom came back to the hospital room with me, and assured us the doctors were doing the right things. Fortunately, once the IV was in, and the drug in Lily's system, she did one last little wretch, and the meat went on down into her stomach. The time was about 10:15PM. Lily's Mom said she was going back to the reception, and I asked my brother Marc to get his car, in case we could get out of there. We know it was a little crazy, but we asked the doctors if we could get back to the wedding, skipping the saline IV they had planned. They insisted on making sure Lily could drink a glass of water slowly, which she was able to do. We checked out just as Marc pulled up his car, and went back to the reception around 10:40. Of course, we were supposed to leave by 10:30, but with the drugs in Lily's system, she insisted that we at least get our dance in. After being a bit too rough with my new cousin Kelly about what the heck happened to my planned music (sorry, Kelly!), I put on a song so Lily and I could dance with our parents, then had Kelly switch to our song. With our dance done, we said thanks to our guests, hugged as many as we could, and headed on out for our honeymoon. The rest of that night is OUR business. *grin*

When we made our vows, I don't think either of us expected to be put to the test so quickly. Lily's still embarrassed, and my emotions are still raw. Still, most people say they don't remember their wedding day, while ours we won't be forgetting any time soon. Still, through it all, it was filled with love and laughter, and we know the party continued without us, for which we are incredibly grateful. Thank you to everyone that helped us through ... everything. We're both just SO SORRY we didn't get to spend time with people.

With that being said, we'd really like to know what happened in our absence. So please, if any of you would like to let us know what happened at our reception, we'd love to know about it. With pictures and/or words. Either email them to Lily or me, or post the stories for everyone to see in the "curious guests" section. As people send photo links, I'll put them in the "photos" section.

Oh, and if anyone would like a copy of the music as I had it planned, please let me know, and I'll send you a CD with all the MP3s on it. I'm definitely sad I didn't get to DJ my own wedding!!

That, then, is our story. We're alive, well, and very much in love. And very grateful for all of it. Thanks for being a part of our marriage, just by reading this.


The all-new Mr. and Mrs. Evans