Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A tale of two (central Utah) cities: An epic (ly long) blog post

My sister Echo got married a little while back. Did I mention that? She and my new brother-in-law (hence dubbed "Beta," in keeping with my "name family members according to the NATO alphabet" scheme) got hitched down in the Manti, Utah LDS temple.

Ain't it pretty? Our grandparents got sealed there many moons ago. (FYI: "Sealing," in Mormon parlance, is the religious form of marriage, separate from the civil side of things, and it only takes place in a temple. Back in the day, it was very common for people to get married in a civil ceremony, like our eloping-to-Washington grandparents, and then get "sealed" later. Now it's more common for couples to go for the all-in-one package, though going old school is still an option. Religious diversity lesson for the day!)
Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with Utah geography, Manti is a little town about two and a half hours away from Salt Lake City. E and B picked Manti for many reasons (it's pretty, it's less crowded, our grandparents grew up around there, etc.), but clearly convenience was not one of them.

Manti is about ten miles from another little central Utah town called Ephraim, which is where our hotel was. And yes, this detail is relevant.

After the ceremony, Beta's parents took his four-year-old daughter Sierra with them back to Salt Lake so E and B could have a romantic drive back to the big city for more photos and the reception. Our dad took E's car, and E's dear friend and hairstylist Broderick, back to Salt Lake. Diego (my roommate, for those of you who are new to the blog) and I stuck around for awhile to make sure everyone else got off to Salt Lake in a timely manner.

Diego and I drove across the street to the Manti Drive Thru Ice Cream and Donut Shoppe to get some burgers and fries while we waited for everyone else to finish up.

And when we got back, things were in quite a state.

Everyone had left Manti except for me, Diego, Echo, Beta, and Echo's friend Riley. And Beta had just realized that his parents had driven off with his car keys, tucked safely inside Sierra's bag.

This normally wouldn't be that big a deal -- you call them, they drive back. Except everyone turns off their phones inside the temple, and apparently B's parents had not yet turned theirs back on. Calling a locksmith was also out of the question, since Beta drives one of those fancy cars you open with a button instead of a key.

So we loaded up the bride, the groom, the dress, the giant styrofoam container of flowers (that the florists had messed up, naturally), Riley, myself, and Diego into Diego's Sentra. In case you were wondering where all of that fit, the giant styrofoam container of flowers was on my face: I had to lean the passenger side seat back in order to fit me and it inside.

It was roughly 2:00 pm at this time and everyone else had left at least an hour before. So we came up with the best plan we could think of.

Diego and I would drive Riley, E, and B up to their reception, get the keys from B's parents, drive back to Manti, and then bring his car back to Salt Lake City, arriving around 9:30 pm (if we were lucky). I would miss the family photos and neither of us would have any chance of attending the dinner reception, but we'd hopefully succeed at getting E and B their luggage for their honeymoon in time.

E was freaking out -- for many reasons. She didn't want anyone to miss the reception, one, and two, Diego and I were supposed to be in charge of going to her condo and getting all the place settings and favors for the reception. With us out of commission for Operation: Car Rescue, that responsibility would fall on our younger brothers, Charlie and Alpha. Despite insisting that an 17-year-old and 25-year-old could probably read a seating chart and do okay arranging candles and scattering fake pearls on a table top, E was pretty sure they would need help. ("Could you call Hannah? Or Abby? I'd feel better if Hannah or Abby were there to help." - E. Brides, amiright? But alas, Hannah and Abby could not help, since the only people with a spare key to E's condo were myself, Charlie, and our dad. Brothers it was!)

We set off from Manti -- and as we were approaching Ephraim, E thought she saw B's parents driving back to Manti.

So B frantically kept calling his parents while Diego flipped around and headed back to Manti. We followed that car all the way back to the temple parking lot, when we discovered they were not in fact B's parents, but just an older couple with the exact same car.

So we headed back toward Ephraim -- and as we were leaving the city limits on our way back to Salt Lake, Beta finally got through to one of his siblings. His sister texted him to let him know that they had stopped to get ice cream at the malt shop after the ceremony and his parents were there.

So we turned back around and headed to Manti. Upon arrival at Manti Drive Thru Ice Cream and Donut Shoppe, we looked around for B's family. Nada.

B texted his sister, who once again was not answering the phone. Now it was about 2:45 pm, because the speed limit between Ephraim and Manti is about 40 mph, due to an abundant lamb population that might cross the road at any moment.

B got through to his parents. "We're at the Ephraim malt shop."

Yes, folks. In a combined population size of about 2,000 souls, THERE ARE TWO MALT SHOPS. (Utah! We love our ice cream.)

So we headed back to Ephraim.

When we finally got B his keys, it was about 3:00pm, and we were due back in Salt Lake City for photos at 5:00pm. That was not going to happen, but at least we would make the dinner and our driving back-and-forth was limited to Manti-Ephraim-Manti-Ephraim-Manti-Ephraim-Manti-Ephraim, instead of Manti-Salt Lake-Manti-Salt Lake.

Did you count an extra Manti-Ephraim back in there? Well NO YOU DIDN'T, because obviously once B got his keys in Ephraim, we had to drive back to Manti to drop the happy couple off at their car, and then head back through Ephraim to get home.

That day, my friends, was my Vietnam.

And it wasn't over yet. 

About an hour into our new drive home, Charlie called me. "Did Echo change her locks?"

I thought about it. "Yeah, she lost her keys awhile ago. Why?"

"She never gave me a new key. When are you going to be in Salt Lake?"

The answer to that question was, In an hour and a half. "Call Dad," I said. "He left first, I don't know how you beat him back."

Unfortunately, once Charlie called my dad, he found out that our dad (who had left in the first wave of modern-day pioneers) had decided to treat Broderick the Hairstylist to a scenic tour of central Utah. After all, they'd left first!

Note to all friends and family of future married couples: NEVER TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE.

So Charlie and Alpha sat outside Echo's condo until my dad arrived at roughly 4:45 pm. That gave them fifteen minutes to get the decorations and place settings and get over to the reception in time for family photos.

Diego and I dropped Riley off at her car, ran into Echo's to change back into our respective suit and bridesmaid dress attire, and hauled off for the reception center. Despite promising my dad we would not speed (sorry, Dad) we were only running thirty minutes late, which I would consider an impressive feat.

About two blocks from the reception center, stuck in downtown Salt Lake City traffic, I looked over at Diego and said, "Did you hear me telling my brothers that they needed to grab Echo's iPod?"

He looked back at me. "No. Were they supposed to?"

The answer to that is yes. E had actually picked our late grandfather's birthday for her wedding date, and as he'd been a jazz musician during the Depression, she wanted a playlist of 20s and 30s era jazz playing during the reception.

I texted Charlie. Did you get the iPod?

No answer.

Diego stopped the car outside the reception center. "You get out, I'll park."

"Okay." I jumped out of the car and leaned in through the window. "Do you have your iPhone? Download as much jazz as you can!" And then I ran into the reception center.

(You want to know the mark of a solid friendship? Tell your friend something that arbitrary and unexplained, and then watch them do it anyway.)

Any fun wedding stories you'd like to share?

Awww, the new Shapeface Family. All's well that ends well.


  1. AH! That's insane. The only craziness during my wedding was when my mother decided to take over everything and change it last minute. The hubs and i got married in St. George and had it all set to go, and my mom lived back east so she wasn't really involved in the planning, so yeah, that kind of sucked. But there was no driving back forth and back and forth and back and forth and so on. Your sister's dress is gorgeous by the way.

    1. Ugh, that would be frustrating. Weddings are crazy town.

  2. Wow, that is quite the adventure! Glad everything worked out alright, and the most important part of the day (the wedding/sealing) was taken care of without a hitch, prior to the craziness.