Elysha and I celebrated our anniversary on Sunday by taking the kids to the place where we were married 12 years ago:
The Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, CT
The kids were so excited to see the place that they have heard about so often, and for Elysha and me, it was a wonderful walk down memory lane. Those memories that burn so brightly in our minds were brought back to life as we toured the building and the grounds.
As a wedding DJ for more than 20 years, I can firmly attest that there is no better place in Connecticut for a wedding. It is a stunning location where you reside for the weekend with friends and family, and you are catered to constantly. It truly becomes a home away from home, and when it's time to leave on Sunday afternoon, your heart aches for just one more day.
But as I think about the time we spent at the manor on Sunday, and I look back on our wedding day, it turns out that it wasn't the beauty of the manor, its expansive grounds, the fully equipped billiard room, the luxurious beds, the outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, the stunning rock walls that line the property, or any delicious and seemingly endless supply of food that made our day so perfect.
In the end, it was the people.
Ted, our host for the weekend, who met us at the door during our visit on Sunday. Ted is a remarkable human being who wants your wedding weekend to be perfect in every way. When my friends and I were still awake in the early morning hours following the rehearsal dinner, playing poker, Ted appeared with an enormous platter of sandwiches and a huge smile. When I awoke late on Saturday morning for a quick round of golf, Ted greeted me at the door with a sack of every breakfast sandwich known to man. Ted serenaded Elysha and the ladies when they were getting ready. Miraculously had ribbon that perfectly matched the bridesmaids' dresses when a zipper broke. Solved every problem before they were ever brought to our attention.
When I think of The Lord Thompson Manor, I think of Ted. He is the heart and soul of that place.
Plato, our friend and principal at the time, who officiated our wedding so brilliantly. Helped to make our ceremony our own. Plato was the first to greet us after I proposed to Elysha on the top of the staircase in Grand Central Station, charging up two steps at a time in excitement, and he was the first to congratulate us when we were married. I can't imagine a better person to marry us on our day.
Rob and Andy, friends who played the music so beautifully before and during our ceremony. All Beatles tunes, all performed perfectly for the occasion.
Bengi and Emily, best man and matron of honor, who stood beside us all weekend, delivered unforgettable speeches, and never stopped smiling.
Our wedding party. Friends and family who celebrated our marriage and made every moment of the weekend unforgettable.
Elysha's parents, Barbara and Gerry, who laughed, loved, and danced the weekend away with us.
All of our friends and family who joined us for our precious day. It was a celebration. A party. A fun filled weekend that I can remember so clearly today because of the love that I felt from each and every one of them.
The Lord Thompson Manor is the ideal place for a wedding, and I recommend it to every couple I meet. If you're looking for a magical weekend, this is the place for you.
But honestly, Elysha and I could've been married in a Holiday Inn Express and still had a glorious wedding thanks to the people who made our day so special.
It's the people who I always remember first and foremost. The ones working hard to ensure the perfection of the day, and the friends and family who graced us with their happiness and love.
As with most things, the "where" and the "what" are never nearly as important as we think. In the end, it's the "who" that matter the most. Get married at City Hall or in a rundown chapel in Vegas or in your own living room, and if you have the right people around you - the best people - that is what you will remember most.
We remember the people who made our day so perfect because we have been blessed to know and love and be loved by the best people.
Those are the stories we tell Clara and Charlie when we talk about our wedding day.