A Splendid Disaster

There is something to be said for indoor weddings and that something is that they happen inside.  The following is an oral history of Samuel and Aimee Scheib’s wedding, cobbled together through interviews with 23 people who attended (and one who did not), for the occasion of their 13th Anniversary.

Bridal party

L to R: Zack Benz, Joe King, Mike Stemac, Lyle Scheib, Edu Stuivenberg, Paul Scheib, Samuel Scheib, Aimee Scheib, Alyson Juliano Bullard, Marisa Barlok, Kate Morrison, Lenee Carroll, Marsha Sykes, Jessy Towry.

The summer is long in Florida, and counter-intuitively, the summer is even longer in North Florida where the coastal breezes do not go, a part of the country with names like Shadesville, Starke, and Tate’s Hell. But then there is the delight of cooler temperatures in November and some variation in the leaves that passes for foliage in the Big Bend. So it was in that glorious autumn month in 2003 that Sam proposed and Aimee accepted and they began to plan for a spring wedding, a late spring wedding around a holiday so people could travel on a Monday without missing a day of work. That day was Memorial Day 2004, the 30th of May, pretty close to end of spring.

wedding location

The scene of the crime in Monticello, Florida

Like pain, heat is something hard to recall in the absence. Winter came, mild by Yankee standards but colder than in southern Florida. This was when the couple went to Willow Pond Plantation in Monticello to look at the pond next to where they would marry and the barn where they would celebrate the wedding. This was a February day, not hot at all as is typical of that month. The couple could easily imagine how the space would look a few months later, a stunning spring of azaleas, dogwoods, Japanese magnolias and seasoned with the scents of confederate jasmine and pittosporum. If the timing was right and the weather held, they could have a real spring wedding, but even if not, the barn where the reception would be held was air-conditioned. At least it was that February.

Joe Seal (friend of couple): I have very clear memories of driving down to Jefferson County, to Monticello, Florida, [from Thomasville, GA] on a very hot day, with all the palm trees passing into Florida. The humidity was 110% and the temperature in the nineties at least.

Samuel Scheib (groom): Like so many brides and grooms, the day was a blur for me. Everybody I knew on a personal basis was at the wedding, except for Eric Fox who was in Afghanistan, probably the only time in my life for such an occasion, so I did not write to anybody about the day. As such I only have my fragmented memories. Chief among those memories is the steam after the short rain.

Alyson Bullard (sister of bride): I remember getting to the venue and being in that little room across from the pond [where the bride and bridesmaids changed], being worried about the weather. We were drinking champagne and then the weather poured. Aimee grabbed a bottle of champagne and started singing that Alanis Morissette song at the top of her lungs, “Its like rain on your wedding day.”DSCF0463

Jessy Towry (bridesmaid): One of the things I still think back on… so I had to wear makeup and that’s not my thing and for some reason I wanted Aimee to put it on. I didn’t trust anyone else to do it, so I insisted. When I think back now I wonder: why did I bother her with that on her wedding day?

Paul Scheib (brother of groom): The story that I tell about the wedding was that my brother and his bride decided to have a wedding outside in Florida in the summertime and we wore three-piece tuxes [laughs].

Melissa Violette (friend of couple): It was blistering hot that day.

Barbara Courson (mother of bride): It was hot as hell. You could tell some of the people were getting stressed.

Groomsmen talking under treeTodd Barlok (friend of couple): I was grateful I had the foresight to bring an additional t-shirt and shirt to change into.

Mike Juliano (father of bride): I remember it being extremely hot.

Barbara Courson: It was torture.

Alyson Bullard: The steam was coming off the ground.

Phil Chastain (friend of couple): I remember how hot, muggy, and steamy it was.

Antoinette Jones (Nana, grandmother of bride): The wedding was outside and it was very, very hot.

Michael Stemac (friend of couple): It’s still to this day… I can remember the coldest day of my life and the hottest day of my life and the hottest was [Sam and Aimee’s] wedding day. We were wearing black wool suits and the sun came out after the rain and I have never been hotter.

Dan Jones (uncle of bride): Hot and wet. That was the hottest I ever was in my entire freakin’ life and I live in south Florida.

Charley wet reading

Officiant/Minister Charley Reeb after the light rain.

Charley Reeb (minister): We were waiting for the bridesmaids and the bride to come, and it had just finished raining, and it started steaming as we were walking, that was the most humid and muggy moment of my life. But it was really funny, too.

The rain might have been a blessing though because several people brought umbrellas to guard against precipitation, but then had them for shade against the noonday sun.

Aimee Juliano (bride): Everybody had their umbrellas out and that looked tacky as hell.

Barbara Courson: I was glad I had an umbrella for the rain to keep me out of the sun.

Nana Jones: Fortunately I had an umbrella to keep me out of the rain, and then the sun.

Faith Kincheloe (aunt of groom): I could see your father holding an umbrella over your mother to keep her dry.

The sun heaped scorn on the men for their sartorial choices, black tuxedos with patent leather shoes. The ceremony began at four, just a few minutes after a brief rain shower that produced no relief, only steam. Their pores opened like hearts at a tent revival. Who were they to wear the costume of northern European gentlemen deep in the heart of a swamp? The women wore lighter dresses and the guests were a mix of suits and casual wear.Edu wiping forehead.JPG

Samuel: [groomsman] Edu sweats a lot and he was carrying a handkerchief around to wipe his brow but it really didn’t do anything. Still I remember us all laughing about the absurdity of the moment. We were so overdressed, walking through a pasture, taking a leak on bushes, all on this sweltering day, and then it rains but only enough to make it even hotter.

Charley Reeb: I think of this often because it was so funny: I remember lining up and we had all processed down around the gazebo and kind of gathered around, the groomsmen to my left, the groomsmen all in black out there in the sun while we waited for the bridesmaids and bride, and Sam said in his dry sense of humor, “Well at least it stopped raining and the sun’s out.” Hilarious.

 

Samuel: I had no intention of playing the guitar five days before the ceremony but when Marisa [Barlok] got to town she insisted I should play since that was part of how we met, our musical connection and I relented. I played La Paloma because it is soft and lyrical but also not very hard and I was no longer playing regularly at this point. I needed to get my chops up quickly.Sam playing

Marisa Barlok (friend of couple): On [the] wedding day I remember [Sam] playing the beautiful guitar piece and that was one of my favorite parts of the ceremony.   But I did have to tell him “no repeats!” even though I wasn’t nearly as hot as the groomsmen were.

Joe Seal: I remember [Sam] up on the gazebo, Melissa Violette singing like an angel, Marsha playing the piano. I remember [Sam] playing Spanish Eyes on the guitar [Ed. it was definitely La Paloma, The Dove].

Alyson: The wedding was pretty long with [Sam] playing the song. The groomsmen had to be dying. We were wearing skirts but they had on these black suits. [Sam] was sweating, sweat pouring down [his] forehead.

Samuel: So I skipped the repeats and was relieved I could play well enough given my nerves and being so rusty. I could see the groomsmen squirming in the sun in our black tuxes. I specifically remember my feet felt like they were burning when I was out there and was glad to be out of the sun for a minute while I played.

Jessy Towry: It was the most anxiety-ridden time of my life. I was the first one walking down the aisle, everyone looking at me. I was in a dress with heels. That’s not my thing. That was the only time I’ve ever done that. I’m thinking that will be my last time, but I was proud to do it for Aimee.

To add a touch of class to the sweaty proceedings a horse-drawn carriage was staged on a loop out-of-sight of the ceremony to bring the bride, accompanied by her mother and father.Horse and buggy move

Phil Chastain: Aimee and her parents came in [to the ceremony] on the horse-drawn buggy.

Barbara: I was in the carriage with Aimee when [Sam] was playing the guitar so I didn’t get to see any of that. Melissa had done her singing, [Sam] had done his thing.   On the buggy I was scared, that thing was rocking and rolling. I thought we were going to fall out of that thing [laughs].

Aimee Scheib: I remember the horse-drawn carriage with my mother and father. There was my mom being my mom, making everybody crazy, worried she was going to die.

Paul Scheib: Soon the lovely bride came riding up in a horse and carriage but the horse was really running and the driver missed the drop off point and they had to do another loop to get back to the start.

Samuel: I don’t know how the carriage driver knew to go, but on some queue we could hear the rattling of the straps or maybe the vehicle and the thump of hooves, the driver encouraging the horses with a “hiya!” We could all hear the commotion, particularly when Barbara started screaming when the carriage went down a decline a little too quickly.

Mike Juliano: I don’t recall what we discussed on the ride but I do remember telling Aimee that she was a beautiful bride.bride mom and dad artsy

Nana Jones: They came in on that carriage and my baby looked like a doll. You know who I mean by “my baby,” right?

Marisa: I loved the horse and buggy bringing Aimee. It was like a fairly tale.

Todd: I also remember how handsome the groom was but also the bride on the horse and buggy looking so beautiful.

Barbara: Aimee looked so beautiful. Aly was so skinny. And [Sam] had hair.

Melissa Violette: There were a zillion dragonflies at [their] wedding. They are a symbol of love. The Norse goddess of love Freyja appeared to people as a dragonfly and they were landing on the bridal party and the people at the ceremony.Aimee vows

Samuel: Then Aimee was in front of me. I don’t recall how she got there, but she was right in front of me, smiling, her dress white with embroidery all over the chest. I remember her very being composed. We said our vows that we had written, Charley said something, we blew out a candle, and we kissed.

Reception:  Drinks, drinks everywhere and not a drop of water.

Carriage moon and cupsAfter the ceremony the wedding party took sweaty photos and then went into the Carriage Moon Café, the barn converted to reception hall that had been so comfortable back in February to continue the adventure.

Aimee: I remember getting there that morning and the barn being freezing so we opened the door. There were extra hydrangeas there somebody had left so we used those to decorate. Lenee had covered the hall with toile so we needed something else. We just didn’t know what we were doing.

Melissa Violette: [Before the ceremony] I kept closing the windows in the [reception] barn. Someone else kept coming in behind me and opening them again. And I kept going back in and closing them, which was really frustrating, and eventually the cake melted. I guess people thought they would get a breeze with the windows open and the A/C never could do its thing.

Joe Seal: There was a barn for the reception. It was a nice place. Bar on the left, dance floor in the center.

Barbara: It really was a neat place. We thought it was going to be okay when we got in the barn but it was so hot in there.

Lyle Scheib (uncle of groom): The dance hall had this advanced A/C system where they sprayed water on the roof, and that was about it.

Phil Chastain: When the [bride and groom] left [the ceremony they] went in the horse drawn wagon while we filed into the barn. It took a long time for the wedding party to get there while [they] were doing pictures. Finally we went through the line for greeting the bride, groom, and family.

Aly: We went to the reception but couldn’t cool down. We cut the cake early because it was starting to melt. I looked at Marisa and we just decided to cut it sooner rather than later. The cake was leaning like the tower of Pisa.

Marsha Sykes: The wedding cake melted because it was so freakin’ hot in the barn where the reception was.

Paul Scheib: The cake imploded on itself due to the heat. It leaned like the Tower of Pisa.

Edu: The cake almost fell.

Mike Juliano: The cake melted.

Nana Jones: I was close to the table where the food was and I was facing the cake and looking at it sliding down like the leaning tower of Pisa. I remember thinking if they didn’t get that thing cut in a hurry it’s gonna be gone.

Samuel: We did all the ceremonial stuff kind of in a hurry, throwing bouquets and the garter, cutting the cake. I think we were trying to get it in so people could leave.

 

Samuel: Those things are a blur but the one thing that stands out to me is that the CD with our song, Foo Fighter’s “Walking After You,” did not work. Aimee quickly picked something else, maybe Martina McBride. The song was very standard wedding fair and totally lost to me, but I still think of “Walking After You” as our wedding song.

Paul Scheib: All of the bride’s family was from New York and they thought it was really, really, hot. Barbara [bride’s mother] wanted the party to get started, to make sure everyone was having fun, so she ordered every bottle of wine opened, cases of it. People ate quickly, ran through the receiving line, and then left and there was bottle after bottle of uncorked magnum’s of wine left.

Samuel: The next thing I remember is being in the hall and the A/C was not up to the task, but there was also no functional way to create a draft. The bar tender opened a couple dozen bottles of wine, maybe more, because of the rush but then most people left so we had so many bottles of open wine that we tried to give them away to people as they left.

Mike Stemac: And then we went to the barn for the reception and they ran out of water. So my wife and mother started splitting bottles of wine because they needed something to drink. That was the drunkest I have ever seen either one of them. They were so drunk. My mother hung her bra on the rear view mirror of the car. Everybody was drinking wine because there was no water. That loosened everybody up. The conversation loosened up and it turned really fun.

Paul Scheib: A lot of people were hammered, drinking alcohol instead of water on such a hot day.

Phil Chastain: We all were thirsty and ran out of water.

Aly: But we were dancing and everyone was having fun. I remember a lot of people hanging out outside on the deck, even Sam and Aimee coming outside to cool down once the sun went down since it was cooler outside.

Melissa Violette: During the reception the heat didn’t keep anyone from having fun. Everybody just stripped off layers of clothing and kept on dancing.

Angie Stuivenberg: I almost got knocked out by [the groom’s brother] Paul. We were pretty drunk and just out dancing when he did this spin move and his elbow hit me pretty hard in the head. Everyone stopped to check on me but it I was fine and we kept dancing.

Phil Chastain: Aimee made the rounds to all the tables, greeting everyone and that was a nice touch. I remember Aimee also apologizing a lot. She couldn’t help any of it, but it was still a good time. It was really fun.

Marsha Sykes (friend of couple, bridesmaid): Despite the heat the dancing was great because there were so many kids and everybody got out on the dance floor. It was really a lot of fun despite the heat.

Marisa: I remember dancing until our feet hurt so we took off our shoes and kept dancing and later we had to wash them in the sink because they were so dirty.Marisa washing feet

Paul Scheib: But a few hearty souls stayed. I introduced Uncle Lyle to my buddy Ezra [whiskey]. Lyle doesn’t drink much whiskey but he really pounded it that night. “Love your good buddy Ezra,” he kept saying.

Lyle Scheib: The thing I remember most was your brother having a fine whiskey in the trunk of his car and him making me go over there and drink it. Before long I was two sheets to the wind and Aunt Faith had to drive me back to the hotel.

Edu: I think I drank a lot with [Sam’s] brother.Paul and edu

Nana Jones: I couldn’t wait to get inside and then it was just as hot in there. [Uncle] Danny wanted me to go back to the hotel but I said, “No, it’s too early, I want to get out there and dance.”   I had a lovely time dancing, no matter how hot it was.DSCF0944

Lyle Scheib: I also danced with [Sam’s] new mother-in-law and she said, “You’re hot.” I said, “I know! It’s really hot in here.” And she said, “That’s not what I meant.” [Laughs].

Linda Underwood Estes (friend of couple): I didn’t know Aimee yet so I wasn’t at the wedding but Aimee always said it was hot. It’s nice talking to you though.

Samuel: The hall cleared out pretty quickly after all that but some close friends and family, maybe 30 in all, stayed until dark.

Joe Seal: The hall was also painfully hot and everybody was pissed off [at the owners]. People didn’t stay as long as they might have, but Aimee was in good hands so they left.

Melissa Violette: I remember when all the ceremonial stuff was over we went back to the porch [behind the barn] for an after party with all the close friends and relatives and that was fun.  [They] were so blissed out, but exhausted.

Phil Chastain: We were hanging on the back patio as the evening cooled, but most everyone was gone. Still, we had a good time.

Lyle Scheib: It was a fun time. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.

Samuel: At the end of the night we loaded up [Aimee’s] 2001 Honda Civic and drove to the little cabin on the [Willow Pond Plantation] property for the night, the last few people there seeing us off. The A/C worked in the cabin and we went to bed in comfort, but even there the venue failed us as we woke up early in the morning sweating and uncomfortable. I got up and tried to get the A/C working again but it wouldn’t come on. So we drove the hour back to our home at 702 Miccosukee Road and ate leftovers from the reception with the Barloks, my parents, and whoever else was staying at our home. At least we had the cruise honeymoon and a life together to look forward to. Plus we opened presents. That was fun.

Parting thoughts

Todd Barlok: I remember the laughter more than anything. That and the gorgeous groom. And Aimee on the horse and buggy. The bride was the number one thing I remember. Your wedding persuaded Marisa and me to get married.

Samuel Scheib: You got married before we did.

Todd: Yes, well the wedding inspired Marisa and me to continue our marriage.

Aimee: Thankfully Todd was there to take pictures and he did a really good job. Scott Morrison took good pictures too. I’m embarrassed by the whole thing, even more now than I was then.

Dan:   What a pair of star-crossed lovers, just nothing seemed to go right. Without the elements it would have been one of the nicer weddings I’ve attended. I thought at the time—it was such a rough sledding, that day—either these two are going to make it forever or they are doomed because they had such bad luck with that wedding. I’m sure now it will be the former.

Jessy: I remember after the wedding being very much at ease for [Aimee]. [Sam was] the perfect person for her and that was a good feeling.

Nana Jones: As Aimee’s grandmother I was as proud as I could be of both of [them].

Melissa Violette: When I look back, and yes, there was the heat, but also the sunshine and the love glow everywhere. I could see [they] were so happy.

Barbara: I remember how sure Aimee was. When I got married I cried as I walked all the way down the aisle, I was so worried, but Aimee looked happy, she was having a really good time, and when she looked into [Sam’s] eyes I could see the love in her eyes. I felt good about the marriage because of that.

Many thanks to the many people who helped make the wedding a failure-ful success and to those who took the time to share their recollections.  And to the bride:  a happy, happy anniversary.  May our wedding be the worst day of our lives together.  -SamDSCF0769

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