The morning of my wedding, I found myself seated on the bathroom floor of my hotel room filling flasks with whiskey in the semi-darkness. Brides get married with a variety of secrets to hide. Mine was a backpack full of glasses with our names and wedding date etched on them in the closet with matching flasks that I was now trying to carefully fill without spilling or making much noise to get it all packed before my soon-to-be-husband woke up.
If all went well, I wanted to give a surprise whiskey toast after the ceremony. If all did not go well, we would want the whiskey anyway. We had planned a Yosemite wedding for October in the beautiful afternoon autumn light. The government had other plans for us, however. They had closed the national parks as part of the government shutdown, and we had been relocated outside the park. All of our desperate tweeting for them to reopen the government had yet to work, so we had no choice but to sneak a wedding into Yosemite.
Thankfully we had only 10 guests – and three of them were children I was hoping could cry on cue if needed. They were letting people drive into the park in a limited loop, “but no stopping.” We discovered during a drive-through that this meant people not only stopped, but also took pictures, went for little hikes, and even had picnics. We figured if people were having a picnic, we could get married, so my fiancé and I planned to meet our guests at a turn-out in the road, jump out of the cars, and get married.
Long story short – we made it to the whiskey toast without being thrown out of the park. And the whiskey tasted very good indeed. I had a flask of apple juice for my nieces and nephew, so I just had to check before I poured them their “whiskey.” It’s the reverse of the trick my grandpa used to pull – he would tell kids he had apple juice and it turned out to be whiskey.
The next morning at breakfast, we asked my 4-year-old nephew what he wanted to drink.
“Whiskey!” he said.
I smiled with aunt pride. And could imagine my grandpa laughing. Looks like my grandpa made it to my wedding after all, if only in spirit.