Wednesday, 26 August 2015

cousin heather gets married

Last weekend I surprised my sistercousin, Heather, when I showed up 
at her new home in North Carolina the day before her wedding.

I refer to Heather as my sistercousin because we are very close; in age, in experience, in interests, in spirit. We were born 5 days apart in the summer of 1986, and basically spent every summer of our childhood together.

Heather and I, in utero

Heather moved to San Francisco for school when we were eighteen, and I stayed in New Jersey for college, but I got to see her with more frequency when my bands started touring through the bay area. Eventually I met Eloy and moved to Los Angeles, and she would drive down to spend weekends on our couch. My fondest memories in LA involve Heather. But last year, Heather moved back to North Carolina, which is the second time I lost my cousin to that state. She and her family had moved there from New Jersey in fourth grade. It was tough, but we still saw her on our Easter trips to the Outer Banks, and she would come back to spend the summer in New Jersey with my family every year.

 cutting a deal

pack n play days

Heather went back to North Carolina in search of family and stability. She found that in her partner, Guy Sholar. They were schoolmates who both left their home state, and ultimately came back to find each other in adulthood. I've never seen someone who makes my cousin so whole and at ease. 
It's really magical to watch the two of them.

Heather told me from day one she would marry Guy, so when she told me they were engaged and expecting their first child, I wasn't at all surprised. They set a date - August 15th, 2015 - and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it. I didn't have the extra money to spend, and I had already planned on going to see her in October. I told her I couldn't make the wedding, but it was ok, because I'd be there soon enough. Heather enlisted my father to be the officiant at her wedding. She confided in him that while she was excited about her upcoming nuptials, it just didn't feel right knowing I wouldn't be there. So my dad privately offered to fly me out as a surprise for Heather. We coordinated it just right, so that my mom wouldn't know either and I would show up a day before the wedding to surprise them both. This also happened to be the same day Heather and Guy would find out the sex of the baby, so it was an already emotional day for everyone, full of happy tears. 
My arrival was no exception.

Guy and I have exchanged messages and texts, and bonded over our mutual love of Heather, but throughout the year or so of them dating, I never met him in person. This surprise visit was the first time I got to meet the love of my cousin's life. He knew I was coming, and made sure Heather was on the porch when I pulled in the driveway. She squinted to see who was pulling up, and instantly burst into tears when she recognized my blonde, bespectacled head. We hugged and laughed and cried. It had been over a year since we last saw each other. (I've since vowed never to go that long without seeing my cousin again, no matter how much budgeting I have to do.) We went to surprise my napping mom together and hugged and cried some more.

I'll spare you more sentimental details and dive into the pictures (with minimal storytelling)...

My parents took us out to the Weeping Radish, a place I hadn't been to since a family vacation in 1997, when my Aunt Lisa (Heather's mom) worked there. We had her and another visiting relative, Bev Sue, meet us there. 

I really hadn't been in the Outer Banks since I was sixteen, and it was funny how instantly familiar it all was - Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Jockey's Ridge. So many memories came flooding back.

weeping radish

happy radish

Heather and Guy recently bought an old farmhouse in Currituck on the Currituck sound. It is so perfectly Heather. As I drove through the open fields on my way to her house, I spotted horses, roosters, and even had to stop to let goats cross the road. The wedding would take place at their new house, and Guy's mom, Allison, did a wonderful job getting it wedding ready.

 Allison painted this sign to put at the end of the driveway to direct guests to their home, and to let everyone know that Heather and Guy will be having a baby boy. 
(if it was a baby girl, the bird would have guessed it, pink.)

 A couple weeks before the wedding, Heather still didn't have a dress. She's got the whole laid back Southerner thing down that way. I, on the other hand, stayed up til 3 am that night looking for dresses that would flatter her growing body and allow for some wiggle room in case baby Sholar had a growth spurt. I found this dress on Modcloth, originally $140 marked down to TWENTY DOLLARS. I ordered it without even asking, and told Heather in the morning. She loved it, obviously, because we have a psychic connection, so I told her to order another in a size up. So even though we didn't use one dress, it still was only a total of 40 dollars for her wedding attire.

The back of the dress is totally sheer, and going braless five months pregnant wasn't gonna fly, so Heather found this cute little ivory short sleeved cardigan to cover up the back. The pearl necklace is from our late grandmother (I have a matching one, cuz sistercousins). She gave them to us to wear on graduation days and our wedding days. The woman valued education and family.

 Heather's friend, Lindy did her hair in braids and we stuck baby's breath in them to form a sort of crown/halo. I did Heather's makeup, and we toiled over the eyeliner until the last minute. (why is it so hard to make both eyes match?!) Her friend Brittany and I insisted she wear red lipstick even though she wanted to go mauve, because there needed to be a pop of color amidst the neutrals.

 I swear she was happy, just anxious. We listened to the Shangri-La's and N'SYNC while we prepped.

Finally, it was wedding time. They got married under a 100+ year old oak tree in their yard, which Allison had decorated with sheer white fabric. Here, Guy waits patiently for the bride.

 At this point, rather than staring at my feet, I should have been piecing together the fact that I only had Heather's ring to hand them when the time came, not Guy's. But alas, I did not register this information until I was asked for the rings, at which point I had to run inside to find the groom's.

 Dad getting to use his ULC officiant certification.

 Heydoo and Dad

 baby's breath braids


Heather made these flower arrangements out of local wildflowers, and stuck them in old milk bottles. Everything was so perfectly Southern, from the laid back yard setting to the BBQ dinner.
It was all earthy, bare feet and wildflowers.

 the old oak tree

My parents made this their first pit stop on their full U.S. road trip. They are insane people who decided in their 60s to buy a pop up camper and drive around the country. My mom found this white umbrella in Savannah and brought it for Heather, which made a great photo prop. Thanks Mom!

 Homestead Heather

Brittany and the bride and groom

After a few champagnes, the sun started to set and I was feeling loose. I told (or yelled at) Heather and Guy that it was "magic hour" and we had to take some more photos. I am so glad they agreed, because I really love how they came out. I just wish I had the originals from my dad's phone, because they lost quality when I transferred them to mine. OH WELL.

 Guy carried a barefoot Heather across the pine cones and pine needles to my photo location.

 requisite prom photo

Their property has a graveyard on it. This is the grave plot of the couple who lived here before Heather and Guy. The husband, Mr. Stewart, is still alive, but his wife unfortunately lost her battle to cancer a couple years ago. She is buried here on the property, and I like to think she is watching over my cousin's little family. I think she'd be happy to know her house is full of new love and new life.

 til death do us part

the growing Sholar family, featuring Odin

I made sure to bring plenty of polaroid film for the occasion. I took polaroids at my couple bffs, Sean and Erin's wedding, and they came out really cute and I made a fun little scrapbook with them. As predicted, the polaroids were a hit. I think that's gonna be my wedding go to?

 Sholar family household

 Cousins! Siblings! Newlyweds! Oh my!

 my parents and Heather and Guy, two Leo-Pisces couples

Guy's best friend, David

 the groom and I

 me and the bride

 baby baby Bob and Aunt Heather

 Allison and Frank


 happy bride

 dancing with Brittany

I can not wait to go back in October. I guess this is growing up?

1 comment:

  1. Heart swells and happy tears. Thank you for letting us relive that day! We love you so much! -your sistercousin