Congratulations John & Tiffany

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As I mentioned earlier, I am in Wisconsin for my brother's wedding, and I'm happy to say it went off flawlessly yesterday. It was an absolutely perfect day - from the weather to the ceremony to the reception and dancing (well, so maybe the dancing wasn't perfect, but it was fun) - you couldn't have asked for a better time. I'm happy that everything went so well, and I was glad to be a part of the festivities.

Lots of pictures on this one, so click here to continue reading.


Things kicked off on Friday night with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. We got fitted for our tuxedos, then headed over to the church for the rehearsal. Here's John getting what may be a threat from the minister - I'm not really sure - but I think we know who's going to be laying down the law at the new household...

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After the rehearsal, we headed over to Benvenutos for the dinner. Benvenutos is a small chain of Italian restaurants that got their start in Beaver Dam, WI and have expanded into a few larger cities in Wisconsin. The Madison location was fantastic, the service was excellent, and we all had a good time. I went with the baked fish and steamed vegetables. I asked for "no butter" on the fish; I forgot to ask for no butter on the veggies... argh. Oh well.

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And of course there was cake! Tiffany's aunt (I believe that's who it was) made a cake and it was incredibly delicious - it was so good. But I may have a soft spot in my heart for cake, so odds are that I'll rave about cake no matter who or where it's from. :-)

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And with that, we wrapped things up and headed home for some sleep.

Saturday started in a bit of an unusual way... the groomsmen didn't have to be "ready" until around 1pm, but the schedule called for us to be at the church by 10:45. Not being a huge fan of: (a) church, (b) sitting around doing nothing, (c) sitting around doing nothing while wearing a rented tuxedo, I decided to try and sneak in another showing of Michael Feldman's Whadya' Know radio show. So, I headed down to Madison a bit early, got dropped off at the beautiful Monona Terrace Convention Center, and bought a ticket for the show.

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They have free doughnuts at the Whadya' Know show, compliments of the Greenbush Bakery. They had quite the doughnut spread:

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I grabbed a doughnut - (seriously - I only had one!) and since I had some time to kill, I decided to hit the Farmer's market for a few minutes. The Farmer's market is located on the capitol square, between the capitol and the Monona Terrace convention center. Here's the view of the capitol from the Terrace:

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And within a few steps, I was immersed in the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. First thing that caught my eye was some asparagus - it looked incredible.

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And then there was a cheese stand, complete with fresh "squeaky" cheese curds. Karl, this one's for you:

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I kept strolling around the square; there were people every where, walking and checking out the local offerings. From beef jerky to ostrich to honey to organic potatoes - you can find just about anything imaginable at the Madison Farmer's market. I used to attend this event every so often when I lived in Madison - I've forgotten how great of a venue it was. I'll have to find something like this in Austin, as I'm sure they must have a similar arena.

As I rounded the last corner, I stumbled across this glorious find:

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Those are cow and flower-shaped sugar cookies. They were from a small bakery that had five "levels" of cookies - from "Level #1 - Who cares, they're tasty" to "Level #5 - Beyond ridiculously healthy". The cow and flower cookies were "Level #1." :-) And yes, I had one. :-D

It was getting close to 9:30, so I hoofed it back to the Monona Terrace. I found a seat in the auditorium and waited for the show to start. At 10:00, the music started, the "On Air" light came on, Michael told a few bad jokes and then asked his customary, "So, whadya' know?"

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To which the audience responded, "Not much, you?" And with that, the show got underway. For those familiar with the show, Michael interacts pretty heavily with the audience, and for some reason, he spent a lot of time in my section. Here he is having someone read "the four disclaimers" for the quiz; as you can see, he was right in front of me.

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11:45 came along and it was time for me to sneak out. I say "sneak out" because for some reason, no one in the audience wanted to participate in the quiz or any of the other activities, so Michael basically begged people to play the quiz. He chose a lady who was sitting right next to me; had I raised my hand, I could've been a contestant... but, I had to get to the church by noon, so I left mid-quiz. Not sure if Michael would've appreciated his contestant getting up to leave for a wedding mid-show.

By noon I was at the church, watching an exciting game of "poop on your neighbor," where the stakes were measured by cashews. Here's my brother and his groomsmen playing a round:

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By 1:00pm, we were dressed and ready, and the photographer came and grabbed us for some photos. The photographer was great - he was fast, efficient, and nearly invisible. It took less than 30 minutes for him to get all of the groomsmen and groom's family photos done. Here's my mom, dad, and brother:

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I didn't take photos during the wedding, but I was tempted to snap a few "point of view" shots from the altar. My better judgement won out, so I kept the camera in my pocket. The wedding lasted about 40 minutes, no one passed out, no one got hysterical, and the sermon was brief, so chalk up another "win" for the day.

Here's the newlywed couple, fresh from the altar, pictures done, and ready to party:

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Before we could head to the reception there were a few stops that had to be made (for more photos). Tiffany's parents have a large motorhome that they nicknamed "Pete" (it's a Peterbilt), and we cruised it from the church down to the Memorial Union. Here's the wedding party off-loading from Pete:

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The Memorial Union is another Madison treasure. It's on the campus, and it's basically a large outdoor patio area that's situated right on the lake, features a bunch of live music venues, food stands, drink stands, and "study areas." It's always busy, but it's worth visiting. We took a bunch of photos as a group, and then headed over to one of the Beer and Brat stands.

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Here's a view of the actual terrace area:

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And a view of the Lake (with me and a Rathskeller beer - never heard of it before, but it was delicious):

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From the union, we loaded back into Pete and headed up to the Capitol for some final photos. I mentioned how great I thought the photographer was, but apparently some of the wedding party had a different opinion:

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With photos done, we took a 30 minute drive out to the reception, which was hosted at the "Bergamond." The Bergamond is an exclusive country club that's surrounded by multi-million dollar homes, and is something to behold. Here's Tiffany, John, me and my sister as we made our way over to the reception:

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Here's the entrance to the Bergamond:

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And a view from the back of the clubhouse - you can see a few of the homes:

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We waited in the lobby/reception area for a bit, and before long were seated and ready to eat and get on with enjoying ourselves. But before we could get seated, we had to be introduced to the crowd. John and Tiffany said a few words about each of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and as they were doing that, you had to stand on the dance floor in front of 200 people. So, I made the most of it and snapped a quick photo of them:

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Dinner was served; we started with a salad. Unfortunately it had dressing. :-(

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Followed by the main course - fillet mignon with asparagus and mashed potatoes. Yum.

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Here's my brother with his two best men, Ryan and Erich. They've been friends for as long as I can remember, and they always travel in three. Where there's one, the other two are usually pretty close by.

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With dinner consumed, it was time to socialize and enjoy the festivities. Tiffany's parents (Terry and Debbie) had to show John and Tiffany how to kiss, so the DJ had them re-enact the opening to a Baywatch show, complete with slow motion running. Here they are "running" toward one another:

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And here are a few photos of the rest of the family. Here's my dad's cousin Bill, my grandma, Bill's wife Sheila, and my uncle John:

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And here's my aunt Linda, uncle Warren, cousin-in-law Jeff, and cousin Leanne:

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My brother and I took a fun photo:

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One of the groomsmen was our previous neighbor, Tom. Tom is a bit younger than me, but during the 15 years or so that we spent as neighbors, Tom was always hanging around with us (Tom had older brothers, and the group of us would ride bikes, race R/C cars, and do all sort of other fun things). Tom has become quite the athlete - he regularly runs marathons and is just getting into triathlons, compliments of his girlfriend Miranda. It was great to "talk shop" with them while catching up on things. Here's Scott (another old neighbor), Tom, and Miranda:

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Just before things really got crazy (dancing wise), the show stopped so that everyone could wish my grandma a happy 100th birthday. She turns 100 today, so the wedding party sang happy birthday and they presented her with a cake. Here she is blowing out the candles on her cake:

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And with that taken care of, it was time to get down and boogie. I'm not much of a "boogier" so I hung back and took photos, although they did get me out there for a song or two as the night progressed. :-)

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And finally, we had a "late night pizza" snack - a nice touch for sure. The photo didn't turn out; the pizza has a "nuclear" look to it, but you get the idea.

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And that was the night in a nutshell. It was a fun wedding, it was fun to catch up with people, and it was great to be a part of the entire event. I understand that John and Tiffany are headed off on a cruise tomorrow; they're at my parent's house right now for the gift opening, then we'll celebrate grandma's birthday, and then things should return back to normal.

One last photo - I found it on my phone; I don't recall exactly when I took it, but it's of my Mom and Tiffany:

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