Last week I went to my friend Liz’s wedding in Michigan. I was one of her bridesmaids, actually. Each side of the wedding party had two men and two women, we were adorned with wildflowers, and everyone wore different colored sneakers (red and orange and yellow.) Liz married Dan, another friend of mine, and a perfect counterpart to the delight that is Liz. They got married in bright green grass in front of a pond, and afterwards there was food, and drinks, and well-made speeches, and baby photos, and then hours of dancing in a 90-degree barn with a wooden floor and an enthusiastic band and dozens of people spinning and cheering under strings of fairy lights.
It was a spectacular day (that ended with many of us carefully taking off our wedding finery and then jumping into that pond.) But my favorite part of the weekend, I think, was two days before. Thursday. The co-ed bachelor-bachelorette party. Liz and Dan, and Liz’s brother Jordan and cousin Mel (both great friends), and my brother, and old friends I hadn’t seen in years, and a few people I’d just met that evening. We were at Mel’s parents house, which has an enormous yard ringed with spruce trees. We’d hired this gentleman, “DJ Spud,” (we believe Spud may actually be his middle name) to come host some karaoke. (DJ Spud is a treasure. If you find yourself living in the metro Detroit area and in need of some karaoke, please do yourself a favor and give him a call.)
So that meant that after a very tasty potluck dinner, once it was dark, and the mosquitos seemed to have vanished and the fireflies were coming out, everyone smushed onto the porch together with our beer bottles – to sing.
Liz and Dan met through their college choir, her dad is a professional musician who made everyone cry (even more) when he sang a beautiful song during their ceremony, and while I’d never really put this together before, much of my childhood friendship with Liz also involved singing. Liz, Jordan, Mel, Andrew, and I sang in the car constantly. We sang aloud raucously as we danced our way through original music video productions. We sang around campfires. We sang on sailboats.
And so on Thursday night, with the moonlit spruces visible from the deck and the music turned up loud, it felt simply and beautifully right to all be singing together again. We sang all the old classics we sang in middle school – you know, lots of Blink-182 and Sum-41. We sang the requisite Wagon Wheel and Don’t Stop Believing. We sang all of the songs we’ve been belting out together for years: at the top of our lungs, arms around each other, swaying to the rhythms as DJ Spud laid them down. I hadn’t seen some of those crazy kids in years – literally years – but there we all were, together again.
And yeah, things are different – we’re grown-ups now, everyone is doing cool shit, I’m so proud of the cool shit they’re getting up to. But a lot of things are the same. I still love them to pieces. I still feel utterly comfortable and at home in their presence. And we still know every word to All the Small Things.
(“Always, I know, you’ll be at my show. Watching – waiting – commiserating.”)
Liz, Dan – thank you for getting married, and for bringing us together for a few more nights of wild music. I love you both, I love your love, and I love singing bad pop music together.
(Photo Credit for both photos goes to Jordan Larson. I stole these pictures off his Facebook without his permission. Thanks Jordan!!)