This weekend was jam packed with interesting things, but I’ve been dying to tell you about something for weeks and weeks, and now that it’s over, I can reveal it all, which is a relief, because carrying this secret inside of me since August 10th, when I hauled off and sent a crazy email, has been killing me.
Katie and Carlos got married on Friday.
From the moment they announced their wedding, I knew I wanted us to give them an unconventional gift. They’ve been together a while, and they have a house and a baby – and somehow I didn’t feel right about giving them housewares or something. Once, a couple of years ago, Katie had told me that this certain song was "their song." Now, that stuff changes, and maybe it wasn’t still their song now, no way to really know…but I did at least know that she liked it, and thought it was romantic.
Add that piece of knowledge together with the fact that this is a very musical family, and my idea seemed totally doable. I sent an email to everybody in the family – and a plan was hatched. Since then, there’s been people practicing all over, people helping Nana Carol keep a secret (she’s our loose cannon) and other people bugging other people to get on board. (That would have been me. The idea could only work if I had total buy in from everybody.)
We were going to do a Wedding Flashmob. Like all big ideas, this one had the potential to be absolutely fabulous, or nothing short of a trainwreck. We practiced, sent around a million secret emails, rehearsed desperately Thursday night,
(I’m pretty sure Sam looks that shocked because Kamilah has just suggested she add a harmony part. She did. You can see them get it in this video.)
and then Friday came. We arrived at the venue for the wedding, practicing all the way, with instruments stashed in all the cars.
In my purse were lyrics for everyone at the wedding with instructions in both Spanish and English (Carlos’ family is all from Spain) and sheet music for everyone playing an instrument. The plan was huge.
Katie and Carlos had a lovely ceremony, really, really beautiful –
and then all the guests went downstairs to the garden for cocktails… everyone except for our little crack team. They ran to the cars, collected all the instruments (two ukuleles, four guitars, a tenor guitar, a violin and seven shakers and maracas) and ran them into the reception hall, and stashed them under the appropriate tables. (There was also a brief rehearsal by the side of Queen street.)
The guests came back up from cocktails, and my daughter Amanda, Sisters-in-law Robyn and Kelly, Katie’s best friend Lexa and I ran all over the place pretending to be chatting with guests all the while secretly distributing shakers, maracas and lyric sheets.
Dinner started, and there was a lovely speech by Kelly and Carlos’ brother Jorge, and then a really nice one by Nana Carol and Old Joe, and then what seemed to be a very well received speech by Carlos’ parents (it was in Spanish so I’m not sure what they said, but they seemed charming.) Kate and Carlos cut the cake, and all the while, the family sat with instruments clenched between their knees, waiting impatiently for the right moment – desperate to get it done.
Finally I got up to make my speech, and I explained that it was a super musical family, and how Joe and I got songs at our wedding, and Chris and Robyn got songs at their wedding, and that I wished that I could give them a song, but I’m not a good singer. Then I said I figured out how I could do it. With that, Katie’s brother Chris pulled his guitar out, and began the intro. I said "All I need is a little help" and walked back to my table.
With that, Amanda, Megan, Samantha, Savannah and Kamilah (all the nieces) stood up, and Sam and Kamilah started to play the ukulele along with Chris’s guitar, and they sang the first verse.
At the beginning of the second verse, my brother-in-law Ben got up with his guitar, and Joe stood up with the tenor guitar… and Katie’s best friends and her sister Kelly and sister-in-law Robyn, started singing along.
At the next verse, Alex (a good friend of Carlos) pulled out his guitar, and Kosti (Savannah’s boyfriend) rose with another one… and the whole Dunphy side of the family rose and added their voices.
The next verse, all of the Fernandez family rose – Amanda pulled out her violin and everybody with a shaker started shaking. On the next verse, all the remaining guests came up, and the full scope of our cunning was revealed. We all sang along, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been part of something like that – but there’s something powerful about collective effort that’s just as fun for the people doing it as it is for the people they’re doing it for.
We have a video here of what it looked like as it was going down – it’s a little dark, but I think you can totally see what we were up to.
It was a great day – and I can’t tell you how awesome this family is that they would get behind something this crazy… and I think Kate and Carlos loved it- and I’ll just say it.
It was way better than getting them towels.
Katie and Carlos, this family really loves you.