Tag Archives: wedding

The 10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I wed Clifford Stanislas Geiselmayr in a little white church at the bottom of a mountain near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was probably the best weekend of my life and not just because I was marrying that silly South African I met the second day of orientation, but because I was surrounded by love, not just Clifford’s, but our families’ and our friends’ as well.

I wanted to write this amazing post dedicated to our day, divulging every detail, but words really can’t articulate what I want to say. When I think back to that weekend and our wedding day, my heart just fills – with what? I can’t really explain. It just fills

I thank God for my now brother-in-law who documented the whole weekend because it was such a whirlwind that when it was all over, I couldn’t remember much at all. Thanks to him, I have proof that it wasn’t a dream. And pictures do say what words can’t convey.

So with that said, I’m going to give you the Cliffs Notes version of events. It’s the version that my Cliff would prefer anyway.

There was a rehearsal.

The rehearsal was short and sweet.

The rehearsal was short and to the point.

There was a rehearsal dinner. With a lamb roast. It was an all day affair.

Preparing the lamb.

Preparing the lamb.

The lamb roasting.

The lamb roasting.

The lamb still roasting.

The lamb still roasting.

The lamb finally done.

The lamb finally done.

The best wedding gift ever!!! My Stylist Extraordinaire gracing us with an acaplla version of Sweet Transvestite. Love this man!

And then this happened. The best wedding gift ever!!! My Stylist Extraordinaire gracing us with an acaplla version of Sweet Transvestite. Love this man!

The Big Day.

My amazing mother-in-law the morning of the big day.

My amazing mother-in-law the morning of.

Chelle mentally preparing for her speech that night.

Chelle mentally preparing for her speech that night.

Two beautiful sisters preparing to decorate.

Two beautiful sisters preparing to decorate.

Getting Ready.

Getting ready to get ready.

Getting ready to get ready.

Still have a phone glued to my ear.

Still have a phone glued to my ear.

Makeup check.

Makeup check with my sister-in-law.

I'm a sucker for suspenders and he knows it.

I’m a sucker for suspenders and he knows it.

My mom and grandmother and one of my nephews ready for the big event.

My mom and grandmother and one of my nephews ready for the big event.

Best brother ever being my bitch for the day.

Best brother ever being my bitch for the day.

Stranded and forgotten on the mountain top. Saved by my father-in-law. Late to my own wedding.

Saved the day. Hauled ass up the mountain to grab my girls and me to take us to the church wearing his tux and some tennis shoes. Couldn't ask for a better father-in-law.

Saved the day. Hauled ass up the mountain to grab my girls and me to take us to the church wearing his tux and some tennis shoes. Couldn’t ask for a better father-in-law.

He can wear a suit. The man can definitely wear a suit.

He can wear a suit. The man can definitely wear a suit.

Walking down the aisle with my dad. One of my favorite photos ever.

Walking down the aisle with my dad. One of my favorite photos.

The shortest ceremony in all Creation. (it was seriously like 10 minutes in all – there were witnesses and I’m sure my dad was looking at his watch, so he can probably verify it. It’s fine, the preacher had to get to a Tennessee game anyway. He had season tickets.)

Done. This is where the flute blasted This Will Be (An Everlasting Love). Yeah ...

Done. This is where the flute blasted This Will Be (An Everlasting Love). Yeah … the flute.

So it happened. The wedding party was thrilled …

10 minutes that have lasted 10 years.

10 minutes that have lasted 10 years.

I think we were in the middle of the road here ...

I think we were in the middle of the road here … fake laughing or something?


Dudes being dudes.

My gorgeous sister-in-law.

My gorgeous sister-in-law.

Then we had the reception back at the lodge. The top floor for dancing, the main floor for food and the bottom floor for football. No matter your interest, there was something for you. So we ate, and we laughed, and mingled. Then it was time to cut the cake.

Now I’m going to pause for a second in my visual narrative because the cake cutting really shouldn’t be a Cliff Note.

It was time to cut the cake and feed each other. It’s tradition. Clifford was totally adorable. He was smiling so much and just so full of joy (which is not a thing ANYONE would EVER accuse my husband of being). He knew nothing about feeding the cake to each other. Every little thing about getting married was totally new to him. Bless his heart …

We cut the cake together and he carved out a small piece to feed me first. It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever shared with Cliff. Anyone that knows him, knows he’s not one for sentimentality, or feelings, or caring about anything in general really, but this moment he was so engaged and so happy. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I ate the cake he fed me, smiling back at him adoringly. He looked down at me all starry eyed and glowing. Then he opened his mouth for me to feed him in return.

Now, I readily admit I am probably a very wretched wretched human being for what I was about to do, but I’d made a promise to myself when I was a girl that no matter who I married, this was going to happen. So know that if I’d married you, I would have done the same damn thing.

I took the cake and held it up to him. He leaned in … then I smashed it in his face. And then I smeared it all around after I smashed it. Clifford was STUNNED. He just looked at me with the most stricken expression I’d probably ever seen him wear. Everyone was laughing. After a moment, he laughed, too, but he kept giving me a look like what the hell? He never saw it coming. It was priceless. But because I love him, I leaned up and kissed him, getting it on my face, too.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

So sweet.

So sweet.

So naive.

So naive.

I think the part that sealed it for me was when we were cleaning our faces in the bathroom. There was purple icing everywhere (I was going through a purple phase – don’t judge). As we were wiping things down, Clifford looked at me. He’s only given me sad puppy dog eyes once in my life and this was it. The saddest, most pathetic puppiest of puppy eyes were on me as he said, in his little South African accent, “Why would you do that to me? I don’t understand.” I just can’t with this one!

I started laughing all over again. He looked even more confused. I explained to him it’s a thing. It’s a tradition to feed the cake and shove it in their face. I watched his eyes as he was trying to process what I was saying and then as understanding set in. “Oh.” He began to laugh. Then he laughed harder.

Clifford, suddenly not laughing:  “But wait, then why did I go first? Because I didn’t know…”

Me: “Because you didn’t know.”

Continuing on with the abridged version of events.

Chelle smoaking hot.

Chelle smoaking hot after giving a great speech.

Darewood being Darewood.

Darewood being Darewood.

Our first and only dance. Ever.

Our first and only dance. Ever.

My Stylist Extraordinaire once again demonstrating how he is seriously the coolest Cat I know.

My Stylist Extraordinaire once again demonstrating how he is seriously the coolest Cat I know.

Did I mention Stylist Extraordinaire may have had a DANCE OFF with my dad? …. Yeah. They did – and to all who know my dad, seriously, they did.

Two words - Dance. Off. It was real. This is evidence.

One word: Evidence

The only drink I had all day. I know, right?

The only drink I had all day. I know, right? And there was an abundance of booze, let me tell you.

Living it up.

Dancing? Singing? I don’t know, but having one hell of a good time.

Did I mention my dad looking at his watch? PROOF!

Did I mention my dad looking at his watch? Always with the watch.

It had finally come to an end. My last memory of our wedding reception was walking to Chelle’s cabin with my husband in tow. We were staying there for the night. As we peered through the sliding glass doors to the bottom level of the lodge. There was my father, Clifford’s father, and my uncle opening another bottle of wine. It was 3AM.

Just add my father-in-law to this exact scene and that was 3AM on my wedding night.

Just add my father-in-law to this exact scene and that was 3AM on my wedding night.

And that’s what happened ten years ago today. I love you Clifford Stanislas Geiselmayr.

That moment.

That moment everyone should have.




The Music Challenge #14: The Wedding Weekend

Still celebrating the approach of 10 crazy years of marriage with the man I love. There was so much good music that weekend. Again, I went the cheap but smart route having little sis play DJ. As I mentioned before, some of these may be totally cliché, but it doesn’t make them less awesome or less appropriate for someone’s big day.

Adding to The Music Challenge …

Before every wedding there’s always a rehearsal dinner. For ours, we invited anyone that was in town back to the lodge for a lovely brai. People were mingling on every floor. I was with the younger adult crowd laughing and sharing on the lower level with the pool table and bar. THIS moment was one of the BEST moments of the entire weekend. My great friend, and wedding stylist extraordinaire, serenaded us with an acapella version of this little ditty. It was AMAZING.  Well, probably because HE is amazing. He blew everyone away. And I felt like it was this sweet little gift only he could give me for my wedding weekend.

90. Tim Curry, Sweet Transvestite (1975)

My brother made the wedding party announcements as we arrived back to the lodge. He introduced each bridesmaid and groomsman; then it was our turn. One of the few requests I gave my DJ. Clifford and I were going to walk into this one as a married couple so help me. Because, you know, it’s Billy Bloody Idol.

91. Billy Idol, White Wedding (1982)

My little sister had compiled a fantastic mix of genres. My sisters, Chelle, my Stylist Extraordinaire and myself sang and danced all night long. We were on the top floor literally shaking the house at times, but there was no stopping us. We crooned, we belted, we bopped and we boogied until the wee hours of the morning. Here are just a few that made my wedding reception the most incredible party it could have possibly been.

92. Fred Astaire, Just The Way You Look Tonight (1959)

93. Sister Sledge, We Are Family (1979)

94. The Cure, It’s Friday I’m In Love (1992)

95. The Temptations, My Girl (1965)

96.  Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

97. The Chiffons, One Fine Day (1963)

98. Blue Swede, Hooked On A Feeling (1974)

99. The Reflections, (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet (1964)

100. Billy Joel, Uptown Girl (1983)

101. The Tokens, The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1961)

102. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, You’re The One That I Want (1978)

103. Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World (1969)

104. Ben E. King, Stand By Me (1962)




Throw-Back-Monday: The Plan

A 10th Anniversary continuation …

The Plan was half-assed. I can admit it because hindsight is 20/20. Didn’t really need hindsight though to conclude that my efforts in planning our wedding weren’t exactly 100%.

The funny thing is, I am a total control freak. I thought I’d be this ridiculous bridezilla about stuff. So not the case. I basically cared less and became less stressed as the wedding approached. Don’t get me wrong, after the kinda proposal, I did buy a bunch of magazines and grabbed a binder, but I think I just knew some things were going to be out of my hands and it was what it was. As long as Clifford was there and I was there and we were saying “I do”, well, sometimes you have to be happy with that.

Anyway, I was engaged. It was time for the The Plan to be formulated.  After When was decided, the next issue was Where.

Clifford hates people. He was all about a small wedding. I am a cheap person who was also broke. So I was all about a small wedding, too.  I wanted a religious ceremony. Clifford deferred to me on that. Though I wanted a religious ceremony, I didn’t want to get married in Indiana or in my childhood church, nor was I feeling particularly attached to Georgia at the time. We did discuss what we were hoping to achieve with a wedding. We’d basically been together for 6 or 7 years by that point, so it was a fair question to ask.

I wanted a religious commitment, a union blessed by the Church. Clifford just wanted it to be over with. We both agreed we wanted the event to be a celebration, and we wanted our families to get to know each other better. Of course they’d met a few times at things over the years, but we looked at our marriage as the unification of not two individuals, but of two families. It was settled. We were getting married in the mountains and it was going to be a four-day affair. Everyone in our immediate families would be staying under one roof and we would live it up like Reagan just got reelected. Except there would be no cocaine. There was a lot of cocaine in ’84.

I started searching rental listings on the internet near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We needed to accommodate around 30 people overnight. I have four siblings who had spouses and in some cases a couple of kids. I had my folks, my grandmother and one of my uncles as well. This was my immediate family. Clifford was an immigrant so he didn’t have much family here. He had his mom, his dad and his sister, but also what I always considered his adopted family in the States – the Orffs. Three boys, Mr. and Mrs. Orff and Aunt Lee and Uncle Bob. It was going to be a pretty big house party.

I found Tanasi Lodge on VRBO. It is technically in Sevierville near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. When I was younger, The Great Smoky Mountains was one of the places we’d vacation to as a family, so I always loved it there. Clifford loved it, too. The house was gorgeous and fairly new. It had probably the steepest drive I’d ever seen and hadn’t even been paved at the time. We were the first to have a wedding party there. It was three stories and had porches on the East and West sides so you could watch the sunset and the sunrise.

Tanasi Lodge in Sevierville, TN

Tanasi Lodge in Sevierville, TN

Back of the house.

Back of the house.

The house at night.

The house at night.

It was truly breathtaking. The Where was official.

Time to get us a minister. I was torn between an outdoor and an indoor ceremony. We knew the reception would be back at the lodge. We could set up chairs there to do the ceremony outside or look for a church. I am Methodist, so that was my preference even though Clifford had been raised Catholic, he wasn’t practicing, so the pastor to perform the ceremony was up to me.

I had called a few places, been put in touch with a man of the cloth or two… My favorite was the Baptist minister who told me he could absolutely marry us but just so I knew, Clifford would ultimately burn in Hell. I am SO not kidding. I didn’t go with that guy.

Clifford’s one contribution to where the ceremony would be held — I don’t remember where we were, but I remember his words, “I always thought it’d be nice to get married in a little white church.” Wow. Never thought I’d hear that from him. It made me smile and it was his only two cents about the whole thing, so I ran with it.

I had researched all of these chapels in Gatlinburg only to find when visiting Tanasi Lodge, that at the base of the mountain, before heading toward the house, there was a little white Methodist church.

The little white church.

The little white church.

I contacted them, and though it was irregular for them to wed and rent the church to people from out of town, they made an exception for us. It was kismet. Ceremony booked.

The Plan was coming together.

We would arrive on a Thursday. The Bachelor and Bachelorette parties would take place then. Friday would be the rehearsal dinner and not just for those involved in the wedding, but we would have a lamb roast for everyone in town at that time. The ceremony and reception would take place on Saturday, and Sunday would be spent with family and friends before saying adieu. 65 people would be invited. I believe 60 showed up. It would be small and intimate and a blast if I had anything to say about it.

Next up – the Bachelorette party and the rehearsal day. Here’s a little tease …you know Gatlinburg has like one bar, right? (or at least back in the day it did) Best.Bachelorette Party. Ever.



Throw-Back-Monday: The Proposal

With a milestone anniversary just around the bend, I thought I would dedicate these next few throw-backs to the year I was wed and all of the planning and prep (or lack thereof) that came along with it.

I’m starting with The Proposal.

Today is ten years to the day that Clifford proposed. We were married approximately 31 days later on October 1st in 2005. Sounds like a quick engagement, right? Let me backtrack just a bit. Ten years ago today was the day Clifford officially proposed (because he had to). The notion of marrying me and throwing it out there as the world’s most grand and romantic gesture a gal can receive actually happened in January of that year.

Clifford was visiting me in Savannah just after the New Year. He’d finished his Masters and had found a job up in the Atlanta area, near where his family lived. Clearly, I was still living and working four hours away. Being the sappy son of gun that he is *cough*, I remember the moment as plain as yesterday – although I shouldn’t use that phrase. I can hardly remember what I had for lunch let alone what happened yesterday. But I digress …

I was sitting in my apartment on 49th Street. I was working on something on the couch with the TV on in the background. Cliff was wandering around and casually passed behind me saying, “I guess you can go ahead and plan a wedding if you want.”

Totally taken aback and not really believing what I was hearing, because this was the guy that was NEVER getting married, I looked up at him and laughed.

He looked confused, “What?”

I said, “Very funny.”

He said, ”Just go ahead and plan it … or whatever.”

Me:  “Are you being serious right now?”

Him: ”Yes. Why not? Might as well.”

It took me a moment to process what was happening. We had discussed how we wouldn’t do an engagement ring if this ever happened with us so we could save money (though we did browse a store once a couple years before with me talking about my likes and dislikes while Clifford aimlessly stared at the ceiling with a pained and somewhat constipated look upon his face), so the fact he was quasi-proposing without a ring wasn’t what was confusing me. It was the fact he was quasi-proposing at all.

I looked up at him from the couch and said, “Ok.”

He said, “Ok. So when were you thinking?”

Me, “I don’t know. I love fall. How about October? Does that work?”

Cliff, “Sure. Whatever. Just make it happen and I’ll be there.”

So I was engaged! Kinda …

I ended up picking October 1st. So, less than 10 months to plan a wedding. It could be done. Especially after I realized that I wasn’t as into the party planning as I thought I would be. I’ll focus on all of that in other posts, but just know for today’s throw-back that the next several months were spent organizing the wedding here and there.

It was July and he had just told his parents. Why he waited almost six months to share the joyous news with them, I have no idea, regardless, things were coming together. We’d secured the venue, a preacher, yadda yadda yadda, and that’s when I realized I’d never been asked. Clifford never actually asked me to marry him. In the words of some SNL skit – What’s up with that?

I pointed this out to my supposed fiancé. He shrugged. Don’t shrug at me. I told him he needed to actually ask me to marry him. I told him that if he didn’t ask me by August 31st, I was going to call the whole thing off and I didn’t care. He and I would both cut off our noses to spite our faces. We are those people. We are argumentative. We are button pushers. We are the killer of dreams. And we do this to constantly one-up each other in an unspoken yet understood war of Winning At Everything that has been raging between us for years.  That’s how we roll. That’s also why we are stuck with each other – no one else would put up with that shit.

So, weeks went by. Never a word from this man. I had finally moved from Savannah to Atlanta. I was bunking with my sister-in-law before the wedding while Clifford was rooming with some old friends from high school. Before I knew it, August 31st had arrived. Clifford calls.

Clifford: So…want to maybe go get dinner tonight or something?

Me (knowing full well it was the 31st): Okaaaay. What did you have in mind?

Clifford: I was thinking maybe Aspens (a fancy shmancy restaurant patroned by people like us only for special occasions or, you know, never)

Me: That sounds good. I’ve never been.

Clifford: I know. We’ll go at 8.

So we went to Aspens. It was lovely. Of course I knew what he was up to the entire time. Leave it to Clifford  to leave things till the very last minute because I’m telling you, that deadline was firm. I was as serious as a heart attack when I tossed him that closing date.

We’d made it through almost the entire dinner and he still hadn’t asked me to marry him. You have got to be kidding me. Then he started looking around like people were watching us and without making any eye contact whatsoever, he grabbed my hands in his beneath the table. Finally he looked at me and said he had something to ask me. Here it was. I WAS ABOUT TO GET MY PROPOSAL!!!

His hands kept fidgeting and he had the biggest grin I think I’ve ever seen him wear as he slowly shoved something in my hand and said, “So …I was thinking … maybe … would you want to marry me?”

And though I totally saw this coming all day, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile and say yes. Typical Clifford. Then he shoved my hands away as he said, “Ok. So I did it. Happy now?” Also typical Clifford.

Then he asked, ”Aren’t you going to look at your hands?”

I had actually forgotten he’d put something in them because there was this totally sweet, completely sincere moment being had that like never happens between us. I looked down and it was a box. I opened it and inside was the most beautiful engagement ring I could have possibly asked for. He. Nailed. It. Everything I’d said and pointed to in that jewelry store like two years before, had been heard. It was exactly what I wanted. I knew he had to have sacrificed big time to get it. I teared up. This I did not see coming.  Love that man.

LibandCliff proposal1

Our engagement photos … I know what you’re thinking – they are so happy and beautiful. Oh, young love … blah blah blah

LibandCliff proposal 2

The truth is, we were totally pissed at each other that day. We’d been yelling at one another so loudly they had to have heard us in China, and we continued to do so right up until Jelena (my college buddy, dubs partner and photographer extraordinaire) showed up to take the shots. Fake it till you make it, right? I laugh so hard every time I look at these because clearly pictures can be deceiving. 

To be continued …


Throw-Back-Monday: Our Best Friend’s Wedding

Four years ago Clifford and I hauled up to good old Indiana for Chelle’s and my best friend’s wedding. “Best friend” is an understatement … Darewood is my brother from another mother. In our awkward years (his were MASSIVELY awkward, by the way) we were like two peas in a pod (except I had the better hair). We were thick as thieves. He was the Thelma to my Louise.

two peas in a pod cartoon

Just missing Brad Pitt.

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