Friday afternoon, Patrick and I went to downtown Ottawa. After getting directions from Kelly's mom, we went to Bank Street and found a metered lot that charged $1/hr (!), right downtown. Furthermore, it was very near to a Tim Hortons! We stopped by for donuts, hot chocolate, and cookies... Then, we walked up Bank Street to a place that sold Cuban cigars so that Patrick could pick some up (for his father), and then over to a gift shop and a currency exchange. After that, we went back to the lot to put more money in the meter, having decided to stick around for a while, and went up to Parliament Hill. Took a few pictures there - it's a very nice bunch of buildings - then went to an overlook facing over the Ottawa River and into Gatineau, which is sort of Ottawa's "twin city" in Quebec. We walked along the Rideau Canal for a bit (and found some very interesting graffiti, which I shall post later) and then stopped by a Harvey's for lunch on our way back to the car.
Shortly after our arrival back at Kelly's, we were off again, to the wedding rehearsal. I finally met Cynthia there. Cynthia is a wonderfully friendly person and she and Josh are just so cute together...
We stepped through the proceeding of the ceremony - pretty simple stuff, for a groomsman, as it involves just standing and watching the ceremony (and ushering and handing out programs beforehand) - and of the post-ceremony plans (i.e. photography and reception). The minister of Grace Presbyterian is quite a friendly guy, and made things run very smoothly at the rehearsal. I also got to meet Josh and Cynthia's parents, and various other family members at the rehearsal, and got to know people better at the dinner...
The dinner was a lot of fun. Josh's parents had a barbeque in their backyard, and thankfully the weather cooperated. At first I was spending most of my time with the people I knew already (Josh, Patrick, Kelly, and my more recent acquaintances Peter, Brooke, and Cynthia) but soon started meeting others. Upon hearing two people (who I later found out were in the church choir for the ceremony) discussing Lord of the Rings, I joined the conversation, and by the end of the evening had made a friend of a very hobbit-like (though taller, of course) girl named Frances. We spent most of the evening jamming on our various geek habits - discussion of math and science courses, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Star Trek, and things of that sort. I also met quite a fwe other people, and they were all quite friendly as well. A very enjoyable evening, indeed.
Following our departure from the barbeque, we returned to Kelly's house and I played some GTA:VC while Patrick and Kelly duked it out on UT2K3. Then we played some Soul Calibur and Smash Bros. before going to sleep.
Once again, Patrick and I failed to wake up in time for McGriddles on Saturday morning. We woke up late (but still in time), got ready for the wedding (and into our tuxes and everything), and went over to Josh's place for a final gathering of the groom's party. With much adjusting of our tuxes and pinning of boutonnieres by Josh's mother and aunt, we were ready to go, and so we piled into two cars and headed over to the church. A few people had already showed up. Patrick and I assumed positions outside the doors to the nave of the church and began handing out wedding programs (after a quick signing of the guest book) and Brooke and Kelly began ushering. The ceremony itself started relatively on time with the minister leading the groomsmen and Josh up to the front, and then (after a minute or two of waiting, of course) the bridesmaids began their procession, preceded by the flower girl, a little girl named Harmony who I had played with a little at the rehearsal the previous day. The five bridesmaids were dressed in deep burgundy dresses of various designs. Then came Cynthia, on her father's arm. Her dress was incredibly beautiful (although her father had to take a long step over her train to get to his seat). The ceremony went peacefully, punctuated by songs from the choir, a few prayers, and readings from 1 Corinthians 13 (one of my favorite parts of the Bible) and "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. (While googling for the Bible reading, I was surprised to find that the King James Version lists the virtues as "faith, hope, and charity" rather than "faith, hope, and love" - which in English, at least, is a complete change in meaning. Hmm.) After the recessional, a few pictures were taken outside the church, and the cars of the wedding party were quickly decorated before the party proceeded to a garden on the outskirts of Ottawa (near the river) for the photography session. Thankfully, the weather was completely cooperative for that. Following the photos, we all went to the army mess hall where the reception was. We formed the receiving line - ach, standing for that long is never a pleasant experience, especially right after two similar bouts for the ceremony and the pictures - and after greeting the entire attendance of the wedding, we proceeded to dinner. Luckily, a couple of Brooke's friends kept her and me supplied with fruit punch, and others of the wedding party were similarly cared for.
The dinner was excellent - chicken cordon bleu with vegetables. Before, during, and after the dinner, various speeches were made, the longest of which was Josh's mother telling Cynthia (and of course everyone else) various stories about Josh and his relationships with other women - aunts, family friends, and the like. The mess hall has a rule against ringing glasses (as is tradition for requesting that the newlyweds kiss), but since Josh and Cynthia are avid trivia fans (one among many reasons I get along well with them) a new system had been devised. Anyone could come up to the podium and read a question from a Trivial Pursuit card, and if they couldn't answer it, they would kiss, but if they could the reader had to kiss someone. I asked a Walt Whitman question (answered from the crowd) and then asked the location of the Bowling Hall of Fame, which stumped them. (St. Louis, MO.)
After the dinner was dancing, an open bar, and at some point the cutting and serving of the cake. Over the course of the evening (from about 8 pm until 1) I had five drinks (White Russian (as good as I remember it), Brown Cow, two rum and Cokes, and a shot of scotch (at the urging of Josh's uncle (a MacFarlane) who was taking advantage of the family tradition to drink to the departure (or "getting rid of") of a family member to marriage)), and didn't get the slightest bit drunk. I danced with Brooke and Natalie, Brooke's friend (who had gotten pretty drunk by the end, but is an incredibly nice (and rather attractive) girl), as Brooke had requested it of me earlier in the evening. (This is not to say, of course, that I did not want to dance with her - it was a thoroughly and mutually enjoyable experience - but merely an explanation, as it is not generally in my nature to invite pretty girls to dance. I think I'm fixing that, though.) Kelly and Patrick and I were picked up by Kelly's mom in her van, around 1 AM, soon after Josh and Cynthia departed. We also drove home a few other guests, and after a few photos of me in tux, cane, and top hat (that I forgot to get earlier) and a bit of Smash Bros. (solo, this time, as Patrick was on the computer) we went to bed.
Sunday morning was the brunch. We arrived at Cynthia's parents' house a bit after 11:30, enjoyed a brunch of fruits and pastries (including some very good cinnamon buns) and I worked my way through the four wooden block puzzles that the Lankamps had on their table. I also, at Josh and Kelly and Patrick's insistence, brought in my spoon from the car. A bit later, I removed it, as Josh was worried that it was weirding out some of the guests. After that was the opening of the presents. We started outside, but soon moved inside as the rain was approaching. At that point I made my departure, realizing that were I to wait until the presents were all opened I would be in Ottawa until 3:30 or 4, and would get home after midnight. So I left around 2.
A bit after 3:30, at my first rest area stop, I noticed Patrick's bag in my backseat. With his passport. Oops.
One phone call (and $3.60, damn those long-distance pay phone rates) later, I was on my way back to Ottawa. Doing 90 mph most of the way, as we thought Patrick's flight was at 6:10, I managed to make it back to Ottawa in a bit over an hour and got his bag to him at the mall. I then realized that I wouldn't be able to drive home today, and went back to Kelly's place to spend the night again. His parents received me with wonderful hospitality and a great dinner - their sense of hospitality would be approved of in ancient Greece. So, I'm headed back tomorrow.
It's been a great weekend.