I have to be honest and admit we wondered why we needed to travel all that way for almost a week to attend a wedding. We've never done this before. We had plenty of questions like what will we do when not at the wedding, what if we don't get along, why should we be on Dan and Julia's honeymoon, what if... what if...
We were wrong about everything. This experience changed our entire perception of these weddings. We love our new in-laws, Cookie and John. Although we are a blended family, we all got along so well. I like to think of it as these separate elements came together to form something more beautiful than we ever imagined. Like flour, milk and eggs turning into cake. Our family recipe created a delicious concoction!
We had a wonderful time sharing with our closest family and friends. In attendance for this amazing experience were the bride and groom, Julia Jevec and Dan Ruegamer; son Brett Ruegamer and his lovely partner Julie Walsh; daughter Marissa Burik; the boys' mom Diane Ruegamer; dear family friends Dan and Marilyn Lipka; maid of honor Nicole; Dan's friends Tom and Serena; Julia's parents John and Cookie Jevec. A small but intimate group.
As far as timetable, we arrived on January 13. The wedding was on Wednesday January 16. The Lipka's left on Thursday January 17. Marissa, Nicole, Kermit and I, and Tom and Serena left on Friday January 18. Diane, Brett, Julie, John and Cookie were supposed to leave on Sunday January 20 but the terrible weather in NE Ohio caused their flights to be cancelled. They ended up staying an extra day, returning to Ohio on Monday. This left Dan and Julia with only one day alone. Not sure what I think of that.
Fair warning. I included a bunch of pictures here because a few family members who could not travel with us will be reading this blog. THAT MEANS YOU, GRANDMA HELEN!!! We missed you!
With that said, if you don't want to participate on our wedding indulgence, you can skip the rest. I will write shortly about the next stage of our journey when we returned from Punta Cana and started heading south. Eventually we have to get this boat to Fort Pierce.
Back to the wedding.
|Julie, Diane and Tom|
|Julie, Dan and Marilyn, Marissa and Katherine with Brett,|
|Dan, Marilyn, Marissa and Katherine|
|L: Diane, Julia, Julie, Brett, Dan|
|The whole gang|
|L: Marilyn, Marissa, Katherine, Dan|
|Dan and Julia|
|Dan Lipka working hard|
|Julie and Brett|
|Marissa and Katherine|
|Marissa, Katherine and Julie|
|L: Brett, Julie|
|Marilyn and Dan Lipka|
|Cookie and Julia|
|L: John, Cookie and Julia Jevec|
|The flamingos hung out with us|
|The grounds are gorgeous|
|Marissa showing off|
I did beach yoga most mornings. You know sand makes yoga much harder?
Critter alert: birds, turtles, and a fascinating but dangerous Tarantula Hawk, a wasp that hunts tarantuals. Best of all were the flock of flamingos that wandered around entertaining us at the pool every day.
|Flamingos on the march|
|The flamingos really liked Brett (R); that's|
Dan in the center
|Tarantula Hawk wasp|
|Yoga on the beach|
Not as easy as it looks
|Marissa checking out the|
|Flamingos just wander around|
Brett, Kermit Marissa and I took an excursion to a cigar place. We thought we were going to see a factory where they roll cigars but actually this guy picked us up at the resort and took us to his home. We all wondered if we were being kidnapped by a mass murdered but we willingly marched up to his attic into his special cigar room.
|Kermit, Marissa and Brett |
waiting for the
cigar guy to pick us up
|Kermit getting a demonstration|
on how to smoke a cigar right
Afterwards we spoke about how crazy that was and how glad we were that Brett was around to protect us!
|Brett enjoying a cigar in Cigar Guy's attic|
|Lots to talk about re cigars|
|Marissa blowing smoke through her nose,|
evidently that is a good thing
The cigar guy talked non-stop about cigars and tobacco. He and his partner grow tobacco and make the cigars for the Vivaldi brand. Check it out. The cigars smell wonderful!
The other 3 smoked sample cigars. I did not get my own although I must admit I took a puff or two... and it was nice!
Marissa regaled us with her ability to send smoke out of her nose. Brett figured it out but Kermit could not do it. Evidently this trick, called "retrohaling", intensifies the nicotene and enhances the taste.
The guy showed Kermit how he was smoking cigars all wrong. Some of techniques really help, like new ways to relight a cigar, how to blow out the bad toxins to cleanse the cigar and enhance the flavors at the end of the cigar.
We drank really strong DR coffee which was delicious and sampled "mamajuana" the indiginous drink of Dominican Republic made out of twigs and berries soaked for years in red wine, rum and honey. Both were really awesome!
After a few hours, Kermit, Brett and Marissa bought cigars and we went home. It was a great interlude out of the resort and away from the pool.
The wedding was wonderful. Here are some pics of the wedding and the after party dinner.
|Tom and Serena|
|We were a small but mighty crowd|
|Kermit and Diane|
|Tom and Serena|
|Katherine, Marissa and Marilyn|
|Simple yet lovely decorations|
|Waiting for the party to start|
|Brett and Nicole|
|Brett, best man and|
Nicole, maid of honor
|John and Julia|
|John and Julia walking down the isle|
|We are waiting!|
|Cookie and John|
|The ceremony was brief|
|All parental units happy and accounted for!|
L: Diane, Kermit, Cookie, Katherine, John
|Let the wild rumpus begin!|
|Dan, Julia and Nicole|
|Serena, Tom, Marissa|
|L: Diane, Cookie, Dan|
|The cake was delicious!|
|Julie and Brett|
|Diane, John and Cookie|
|With the Moms: Diane, Dan, Julia, Cookie|
|With the Dads: Kermit, Dan, Julia, John|
|John, Julia and Cookie|
|Marissa, Dan, Julia, Katherine|
|Julie, Marissa, Brett, Diane, Dan, Katherine, Kermit|
|John, Cookie, Julia, Dan|
|Diane, Brett, Julie|
|Katherine, Kermit, Marissa|
|Tom, Serena, Kermit, Katherine, Marissa, Marilyn, Dan|
|Then we went to dinner|