Being an uncle at a family wedding is just about the greatest job there is.
Uncles are on the periphery of family weddings. Generally we don’t have too many assigned tasks. Our jobs serve mostly to impress the rest of the guests with our truly awe-inspiring dancing skills at the reception and to stay out of the way the rest of the time.
All things considered, this is a pretty low bar to clear and it perfectly suited me to simply be able to enjoy the party.
My niece Joyce — yes, the same one I wrote about a few months ago regarding her unfortunate dancing incident — got married last weekend in Smithville, N.J. Smithville is one of those tourist-trap, historical village shopping areas focusing on Colonial America with the Smithville Inn, where the wedding took place, as one of the prime focal points.
If I wanted to go old-school, I would have a full description of her dress including the intricate beadwork on her veil and the styles worn by her attendants along with the types of bouquets they carried. Unfortunately for those who were hoping for that level of detail, other than saying the dress was “pretty” I am pretty miserable at accurately describing marital outfits.
With the wedding on a Sunday afternoon in New Jersey and us living in Wisconsin, the logistics of getting any of my Wisconsin family there was a bit of a challenge. In the end, it was decided that my daughter Beth and I would make the trip. Beth is closer in age to Joyce and the cousins in her age group than Alex is and Kim had work. Our plan is to take some time next summer to do a family trip to the east coast so that Alex can get to know his horde of cousins.
For my part, I got to hang out and reconnect with my brothers, sisters and extended family at a happier occasion than my last visit home. So, on Friday I met up with Beth at Central Wisconsin Airport and boarded something slightly less spacious than a Ford Focus with wings to take a jumper flight to Chicago to board a much larger, but just as cramped, plane to New Jersey. For the record, I am not the biggest fan of flying and find all planes to be cramped. My daughter, on the other hand, loves flying and couldn’t understand why I wanted the window blind closed. I tried to explain to her that it helped me maintain the illusion we were on some very small subway car safely at ground level. She just rolled her eyes at this.
One of the weirder parts of the weekend was for me to get an invite to attend the bachelor party held Friday night. I personally think they were just being polite in inviting me and my brothers. Either that or they were afraid that we would be following behind them to ensure the groomsmen didn’t lead the soon to be nephew-in-law into too much mischief. Getting out of the Philadelphia airport took some time, so I caught up with the rest of the group already underway at a ridiculously large three-story tall driving range that probably held more than 2,000 people at a time. The most memorable part of that adventure was when one of the groomsmen came over to me and my brothers and tried to make what he meant as friendly small talk assuming wrongly that we were there for any other explicit purpose than to be looking out for our niece’s long-term best interest.
Joyce is the first of that generation of the family to get married and it is still taking some adjusting not thinking of her as being just a kid. People have a habit of growing up when you are busy doing other things.
I wish Joyce and her husband, Dan, all the best for a long and happy marriage.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.