A Memorable Wedding

Deb and I have reached that stage where we have now attended the first wedding of children we are friends with. It’ll be a while, I gather, before we do this again, but it was interesting an milestone of some note.

We’ve known Chuck Rozakis since he was three and watching him grow into the unique individual he has become has been never less than entertaining. He is so much like his father Bob, but yet has certain eccentricities that can only come from his mother, Laurie. And then there are aspects that are his and his alone.

We’ve heard many a tale about the women he’s dated at high school and then at Princeton, but that only meant we could tell Rebecca was someone special. Meeting her cinched that. I recall one Thanksgiving where the two of them (and Robbie, Kate and others) went at it about Buffy, Angel and assorted other pop culture shows and it was clear, they were a perfect complement for one another.

At their engagement party over the summer, we met her parents, Jim and Debbie Gillespie, and we can see where she gets her self-confidence and charm. Rarely have I seen two sets of parents get along as well as these four.

As a result, we’ve been looking forward to the wedding for some time. With Katie in Cairo, and sadly disappointed about missing the event, the three of us trooped down the Jersey Turnpike to the Cherry Hill area on a sunny, gorgeous fall day.

Chuck was handsome in a tux complete with tails, white gloves, top hat and cane. Rebecca was stunning in her gown, which featured colorful embroidery along the bodice and atop her elbow-length gloves. The ceremony featured friends doing readings and their friend (and my fellow lunchmate) Jennifer acted as cantor.

We went to the facility’s wine cellar for the cocktail hour and as I passed one group, I heard the words, “Yeah, I had a story published in Strange New Worlds…” that naturally stopped me dead in my tracks. I introduced myself to Emily P. Bloch, who had her first story in the most recent SNW anthology. Her eyes went wide, proclaiming she had just this week read my story in the Tales of the Dominion War collection. So we babbled on for a while, with me encouraging her to come to Shore Leave next summer. Emily wound up sitting next to Robbie at the reception and the two talked Geek all afternoon.

After a pleasant cocktail hour, the reception began and with each passing hour it proved more and more unique. Some highlights include a delightful father-daughter dance to Big Band music. Since Laurie didn’t want to collapse into a puddle of tears during the mother-son dance, she and Chuck took to the floor and had a best 2-out-of-3 thumb wrestling match as the DJ played a song about not dancing. The Princeton pals certainly knew how to do the appropriate moves to music rescued from their college days.

We were seated with my fellow ex-DCers, former editors Alan Gold and Janice Race, former Production whiz Rick Taylor and former proofreader Gary Race along with spouses/partners and a couple that had no DC connections but we’ve all known for years and therefore fit right in.

Debbie Gillespie told us to stick around after the music stopped and the staff began flipping the room for the 6 p.m. wedding and reception. People milled about and I strolled to the car to put things away when I saw the trademarked Princeton marching band jackets.

Fresh from the just won Princeton-Harvard game, members of the current band and alumni friends of the bride and groom had conspired to arrive to serenade the couple. They conveniently brought Rebecca’s flute and a tambourine for Chuck, plus their jackets. Kate, the maid of honor, played her bass drum with gusto. As the newlyweds came out of the facility, the first drum beats echoed and the look on their faces was rather priceless. They quickly donned their jackets and joined in. The remaining handful of guests were treated to five or so numbers with most played from memory. I don’t think Chuck and Rebecca could have any more surprised or pleased. The plaid jacketed band received more than its share of quizzical looks from just-arriving guests.

As we drove north, all three of remarked that it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable weddings any of us had experienced. It was certainly unique, pretty much just like the bride and groom.

One comment

  • Tom Galloway

    Ah, but what formations and skits did the Princeton Band do, that being the whole point of every Ivy League band save for Cornell. 🙂

    Seriously, if Bob reads this, congratulations!

    [The year I was in the Yale Precision Marching Band, the Princeton game provided a unique experience. The game was at Princeton, and one of our skits/numbers was based around christians being eaten by lions in Roman times. Yours truly was the designated sacrifice, running around inside a circle of the rest of the band [Colosseum] in a towel-breechcloth. For historical accuracy, I was doing it sans glasses, meaning I was basically blind. So my visual cues were 1) if something blue starts coming into focus, I’m about to run into a band member; change direction. 2) if something orange comes into focus, I’m about to run into the girl in the lion costume; change direction. At a certain musical cue, I was to trip and fall, with the lion then jumping on me.

    Music starts, I start running. Orange object focuses, I shift direction. Another orange object immediately focuses; I change direction again, wondering what’s going on. A third one focuses. I’m changing direction rapidly, without any idea what’s happening. When the skit ended and I returned to the sidelines, I was told the two Princeton tiger mascots had spontaneously decided to join the chase, thus accounting for the three orange objects chasing me]