Thursday, September 26, 2013

wedding story

As far as I knew, Pete and I were gonna wing the whole wedding thing on our road trip through Mississippi. Playing up to my severely idealistic nature, Pete suggested this idea to me a week before our trip, over some wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. “Why not”, I thought, “perhaps some old blues man will marry us in a dilapidated juke joint out there.” However, behind the scenes, Pete was coordinating everything, and had been for a good month or so.
our room at the Shack Up Inn, decorated by the wedding crew.
embracing after the proposal, which was the first surprise. Another surprise was that Pete had invited my best friends to come out to Mississippi. There's Desiree, my best gal, happily watching from the sideline. At this point, I'm completely unaware that she is there.
In fact, I heard whooping and hollering in the background after I said "yes" to Pete's proposal, but I figured it was just friendly Southern folk. But when I turned to give my gratitude, I found that it was my best friends and Pete's folks. I was so excited and shocked. really shocked.

hugging Mikey, my and Pete's mutual bestie, also Pete's best (wo)man.
Ma and Chuck were there too. They drove all the way from Arizona to be with us.
Mikey and Des giving me the details of how Pete had set the whole thing up, and how hard it was lying to me for a month.

Mikey helping Pete to get ready before our wedding, which was to be held in the Shack Up Inn bar/chapel.
Desiree helping me to get ready for the big moment.
Chuck, Pete's step dad, married us. The gals planned their outfits without knowing what we were gonna wear, and coincidentally their mustard dresses went really well with our black glitter get ups.
the wedding crew
Mikey and Desi.
having too much fun.
This was definitely the most joyful day of my life, and the good times continued throughout the night.
Po Monkey's, the last juke joint in the U.S., where we basically had our wedding reception. photo by Annie Liebovitz

Later that night, we carried on the celebration at Po Monkey’s, one of the last standing juke joints in the U.S., open only on Thursday nights (lucky for us our wedding day fell on Thursday). It was the Fourth of July, and although we didn’t see any fireworks, fireflies lit up the dirt road that led to Po Monkey’s. Po Monkey’s, run by the charmingly bawdy Willie Seaberry, aka Po Monkey, was once a sharecropper’s shack, but has been open as a juke joint for over 50 years. Po Monkey greeted us and the rest of his guests wearing a red clown wig, railroad striped overalls, and an apron tied around the waist. When the moment was right, he lifted the apron, exposing a ridiculously large plastic floppy black weiner. This kind of raunchy humor is commonplace at Po Monkey’s, like when the dj played Clarence Carter’s Strokin”(much to my delight), or when the new friends I made joked about how I was gonna “get it on” later that night, or how there’s a picture hanging on the back of the women's bathroom door of a beautiful black gal shot from behind, wearing a tennis skirt that just happens to be tucked into her underwear. No uptight folks here, and I felt right at home, gleefully exclaiming to all “this is the stuff I daydream about.” We all danced with joy on those hard slanted wood floors until it was time to return to the Shack Up Inn to watch Kenny Brown perform (R.L.Burnside’s guitarist and adopted son). We must have caused quite a scene that night because the next day in town, everyone knew that we were the young couple that had just got hitched.

My wedding day was made even more special by the presence of my mother, who visited me that morning in a dream when we were still in our motel in Indianolo. She appeared to me with milk braids in her hair and dewy youthful skin. It had been so long since I had seen her look so radiant. She told me that she was happy and that she was with someone who loved her unconditionally. I woke up overwhelmed with emotions, and grateful in the knowledge that my mother was as happy in heaven as I was on Earth.

Further reading: 2007 article from the New York Times on Po Monkey's


wedding photos by Austin Britt


  1. Your photos and comments uplifted me and made today a better day. Love you both and wish you a long happy life together. Ronnie

    1. Aww, thanks Ronnie! Love you too and hope we can see you again soon.

  2. I got teary-eyed all over again. I love how candid these photos are -- the happiness is bursting out of my monitor. Props for not wearing shoes!

  3. Oh my! Congratulations!!! How completely beautiful!!

  4. Such a wonderful way to get married you two look perfect together, the whole ceremony just suits you to a tea unique and gorgeous x

  5. congratulations!! what a wonderful wedding! many many sweet blessings for your future together xx

  6. Can't stop smiling! I love this so much!

  7. This whole story is so incredibly sweet, and the photographs are gorgeous. What a beautiful start to this new chapter in your life, congratulations.

  8. DUDE this is amazing....seriously a dream wedding. i LOVE the "reception" at Po Monkey's and everyone's funloving and risque comments, all the lively spirit and energy of the places you were and the people you were with for your truly unforgettable wedding day. eternal congrats! and so glad you had a sweet visit from your momma to give the event the perfect icing on the cake.

    1. Thanks so much. It definitely seems like something you could appreciate.

  9. So lovely moments! They stole my heart easily since I had already a proposal too =)
    I'm very excited about my wedding and your pics make me feel relaxed cause I love this kind of small and friendly wedding ceremonies!

    Be happy in all your life together! Hugs.

  10. wow! what a wedding! everything looked perfect. congrats to you both :)

  11. what an awesome story! I'm originally from the South, so I have a tender spot for the fact that you got married in Mississippi. The glitter dress is amazing as well. Thanks for sharing. The photographer(s) certainly captured all the emotions really well.

  12. Great wedding. Congratulations. Love to you both. Uncle Alan

  13. This looks like pure magic. It is making me long for a road trip to the South. I am so happy to have discovered your blog and to get to see the world that you see.


Related Posts with Thumbnails