Thursday, October 30, 2008
Rebecca Bray and Jimmy Graver — “Brayver,” for the portmanteauphiles — got married a couple of weekends ago. October 12th. Very nice! (And, coincidentally, on the same weekend my friends Christian and Shilpa got married in D.C. — congrats!)
So. I’m not sure of the full story. But, as far as I understand it, Rebecca’s family — the Hurlbuts — have owned this farm in western Connecticut for about 280 years. Her aunt and uncle live and farm there, now, but Rebecca spent some of her youth living there and it’s a special place to all of the extended Hurtbut clan. And it’s a beautiful piece of land — so what better place to have the wedding. Outside. Under a tall, craggy tree. Amidst the bright Autumn colors.
Instead of walking down the aisle, Rebecca and Jimmy made their entrance through a corridor of apple tress. Which — incidentally — our wacky band of misfit asses almost missed due to a rather inept adventure renting a minivan and driving (six of us) from Manhattan up to Hurlbutland. Turns out it takes four hours to make a two-hour drive if you take forever at the car rental place and then get lost somewhere in the Bronx. So we arrived literally minutes before the ceremony began. Not enough time to grab any snacks or booze from the food tent the family had set up, but just enough time to unload in the bathroom after at least an hour of “we can’t stop!!!” as we zoomed by anything along the highway that we might’ve been able to urinate on. Whew. But we got there. And it was lovely.
The wedding was not religious. Instead Rebecca and Jimmy did something unique: They invited six couples from their lives to come up together and say a few words about how they made their relationships work. Each one had a different theme and, I believe, made a little art project to give to Rebecca and Jimmy. Some young friends spoke and some older couples spoke. Rebecca’s moms — in the photo above — said a few words about their relationship, as well, and sung a cute duet (I forget which song, though!). Rebecca’s bio-mom (left) looks just like her. Again, very nice. And thoughtful. Not boring. No offense to anyone whose weddings I’ve attended, but the ceremonies themselves can be a bit dry. Using it as a kind of salon on the topic of long-term love, though, was great.
And then Rebecca and Jimmy said their vows. A couple things to note: 1) Jimmy wore the same suit his grandfather got married in. 2) Jimmy’s an actor. As is his brother (who provided the musical accompaniment for the afternoon on acoustic guitar, as well). Having actorly people throw a wedding is kind of great. Wedding is theater and it’s fun to have a creative presentation. And it just makes it more meaningful for everyone than just doing the typical thing. So. Very lovely service.
Afterwards, we boozed it up. The bartenders made some pretty strong rye and ciders. Left-to-right: Josh Klein, Christin, Kati, Chell.
The wedding dinner took place in a converted greenhouse. We had assigned seating and each of our seats had a book on it for us, picked out by either Rebecca or Jimmy. I got a copy of “A Brief History of Time” which I accidentally left. Erk.
Sheep! Yup, it’s a farm.
Chris and Christin. After dinner. We mingled around with a bunch of different people, including some of Jimmy’s friends, Jimmy’s brother, one of the women who worked on the Meatrix with Rebecca, and Rebecca’s British brother — who’s about eighteen and at just that age where he’s trying to figure out religion and philosophy and “deeper meaning of life” types of things. Having a background in such things myself, I enjoyed having a slightly tipsy discussion with him about it. Jimmy’s brother was also interesting — he regaled us with stories of his life as an actor in LA.
I took a break after dinner to try to get some interesting night shots of the area. They mostly turned out quite blurry and not-so-great — I had no good way to stabilize my camera for long-exposure stuff. This one I liked, though.
After dinner and a couple hours of drinking and talking over near the greenhouses, the full wedding party broke up a bit and those of us who were planning on staying the night (and a few others) relocated up the hill to a bonfire set up near the tents. Some of us took turns down at the rental minivan changing back into our outdoor attire, although by that point my nice new dress shoes and slacks had been pretty well dirtied up by wet grass and mud. So it goes. But, man. It was so nice up by the fire. The night got cold. The fire was toasty. (Although: No marshmallows. Boo.)
I took a few sneaky shots of Rebecca and Jimmy by the fire. Jimmy has a bongo drum. A guitar also circulated through the crowd. Being able to play a bass guitar does not mean you can play a regular guitar. Unless you’re drunk.
And so, yes — the night was bitter cold. Christin and I were stuffed in our sleeping bags in the tent and the tent sat somewhat on an angle on the hill, so we sort of slowly slid to one side as the night progressed. By morning everything had become damp with dew and I took a considerable amount of time to get my pants on and trudge my way barefoot through damp, thick grass down the hill to the minivan to change clothes and then to the small outdoor sink to brush my teeth and make some feeble attempt to control my hair. The family had set out a small continental breakfast sort of thing in the greenhouse, so I hung out with Klein and some other folks over coffee and pastries.
You can see our tent camp and remains of the fire pit above. Rebecca and Jimmy spent their night in a cabin up in the woods a bit, still on the property.
After Christin got up and active we, of course, made our way down to the sheep pen, again. This time I was allowed to pull down the wheelbarrow full of butternut squash husks that had been used as soup bowls the night before, which we tossed out to the animals. Above Christin’s feeding one to one of what I called the “emo cows.”
A note about the sheep. So. You can see different colored splotches on some of them. Pink. Blue. This is how the people running the farm know who has mated with whom. The males all have packets of colored chalk strapped between their front legs. So when they mount a female, they also leave a colored streak on her back. (And some of those ladies had quite a density of colored chalk streaks, not to make any moral judgments.) Fun fact!
Being Connecticut in Autumn, obviously there was much to photograph.
Getting off the farm took some effort. First, there were six of us carpoolers scuttling around here-and-there. Second, there was a bit of clean-up to attend to and we didn’t feel altogether comfortable just leaving the mess for the few remaining family and guests. So I helped take down the tent that had been over the outside bar and we did some trash removal at the firepit/campsite. This and that. Eventually, though, we got everyone stuffed into the minivan and were on our way. (Klein, as well, found a praying mantis eggsack which I’ll let him explain to you if you ask him. He used it to play an entertaining round of scare-the-shit-out-of-Christin and now has it somewhere in his home. Which I assume his wife Hulda is totally happy about.)
We didn’t get far.
So the Hurlbut’s also have a small country store at the edge of their property. Though officially closed on that Monday, when she got word that we were poking around Rebecca’s aunt came down and opened up the place for us. Christin did our produce shopping for the week and we got the grand tour of the place. I got my parents a few jarred items. The whole place was just incredibly cute. They even had a small rabbit hutch in the front with a shaggy puff of an angora rabbit inside. Smokey was his name, if I remember correctly.
So, anyway, we got home safe (after a quick bit to eat in a little restaurant/convenience store in Connecticut) and got the car returned and finally got home, showered, and took a nap. Good times! Rebecca and Jimmy should totally get married again next fall. Thanks, R&J! And, of course, congrats on getting married!
I'm Josh Knowles, a technology developer/consultant on a variety of mobile, social media, and gaming projects. I founded and lead Frescher-Southern, Ltd. I grew up in Austin, Texas and currently live in New York City.
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