What? Yep, you read that correctly. Mid-August we headed up to the San Juans for a dear friend of mine to get married. She had kindly asked me to stand up with her as one of her bridesmaids, meaning that we needed to be there for both the wedding and the rehearsal. As we looked into prices of hotels on San Juan during peak season we realized that camping might be the best option. We decided to head up a night early and make a little vacation out of it.
Now, I enjoy camping. And I enjoy weddings. And both activities are fantastic separate from one another. However, my advice to you is this: don't combine them if you can avoid it.
Things started out great with us catching just the right ferry and having a gorgeous sunny ride up to the islands. We took a bunch of fun pictures inside and out of the boat. We managed to offload and find our campground just fine. And then the fun begins.
Let me provide you with a mini-camping-dictionary:
tent: devise to make grown men want to swear.
tent directions: words written in an order specifically to confuse grown man who wants to swear.
hammer: tool most often forgotten by infrequent campers.
hatchet: tool second most often forgotten by said infrequent campers.
camp ground: place where people go when they want hundreds of other people to hear their children misbehave, throw tantrums and beat each other up.
blow up mattress: sound system for inside of tent.
fishing pole: something your son will use to try to hook one of your daughters every morning while you try to cook breakfast over a Coleman stove.
dirt: an item of clothing for 18 month old girls.
You get the picture.
Now, all of this can be shrugged off and laughed at and dealt with when you are just camping. But when you have to look civilized and even attempt to look cute for a rehearsal dinner. Oih! We managed an embarrassing family shower in the campground bathrooms where we tossed shampoo over the shower stalls, shouted at kids not to bump up against the nasty shower curtains, hopped up and down to keep dirt off our "clean" feet and struggled to put shower tokens into the machine before the hot water turned off. Phew! When that was all done we quickly donned dress clothes inside our tent and ran to the van to drive around the island until it was time for rehearsal.
Doing dishes outside is sort of relaxing.
Friday morning we rented a row boat and (Daddy) rowed us around the little lake we camped next to. Ezra brought his fishing pole along and drowned some worms. After we returned the boat he spent most of the rest of the day drowning more worms from shore while we tried to catch some of the sleep we had lost the night before.
The kids crashed hard in the car on the way to Roche Harbour for rehearsal.
Looking up into Canada.
This dragonfly flew right into Caroline's hot cocoa. We fished him out and tried to dry him off. Alas, his wing was injured beyond repair and he um, got squashed to save him some suffering. Anyone knows how much Tadd loves his coffee can really appreciate this photo.
The next day we upped the stress level a bit. Mommy had to do her hair and nails and don a bridesmaid dress. Daddy had to kill time with the kids and manage to shower them (and himself) and get everyone into wedding finery. Mommy ended up taking Baby to the house where the Bride was getting ready. Said Bride is very patient, very sweet, very beautiful and happens to love my kids. Well, we managed to get it all done with a few sweaty moments.
Tadd and the kids walked around the docks of Roche before the wedding. Lots of money represented in lots of ways on those docks.
I'm afraid that I don't have many pictures of the wedding because one parent was busy walking down the aisle and the other was busy keeping three kids quiet during the wedding. Bless his ever lovin' heart, he did manage to snap a few shots with one hand while he held a sleeping (praise the Lord!) Nora with the other.
The ceremony was held in the gorgeous gardens.
The lovely bride and her doctor husband
The cake made by the bride's little brother. Isn't it pretty? And her two Grandmothers made those table cloths for all the tables. I just loved them.
Ezra had the camera much of the night. He took a lot of close ups of the cake. He took pictures of the other folks seated at our table, but he only got from their chins down, so I'll spare you. They were the nicest folks. Two gals (and one of their husbands) who had been in the residency program at Children's Hospital with the groom. He seated them by us on purpose, obviously. Only children of the wedding party were invited, so other than the groom's 5 nieces and nephews, ours were the only kids. We were so thankful to have kid lovers at the table with us for the delicious meal!
And after our final night in our tent we loaded up the van and headed into Friday Harbor to kill three hours while we waited in line for the ferry.
And that is how you camp for a wedding. Next time we go to a wedding I'd like to stay in a house or hotel. And next time we go camping I'd like to stay in a hotel, er, I mean, I'd like to not be going to a wedding.