our wedding | heather and terrence huie | honeymoon acres, ramsey NJ
Despite attending and photographing countless weddings, I never knew how I would feel on my wedding day. Would I get cold feet? Would I cry helplessly at the altar? Would my vows live up to what I hear in my heart? I really wasn’t sure, but now I can say that it was without question the best day of my life. Typically I avoid using superlatives and hyperbolic statements like “the best day of my life,” because I believe they don’t really tell you anything, but it was the best fucking day of my life. (I usually don’t use curses either, but I guess I’m breaking all my rules today.)
On Saturday, October 6th, 2018, a quintessentially grim and misty northeastern autumnal day, I wed Heather Erny in front of our closest friends and family at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Ramsey, NJ. Honeymoon Acres, as aunt Pam and uncle Rick like to call it, is a beautifully-manicured farm splashed with wild sunflowers and potted mums, a vintage 1950’s Ford with big round headlights and an entire family of farm animals. The amount of work that Pam, Rick, and both of our families and friends put in to wrangling all of the animals (roll call: 1 pig, 1 horse, 1 donkey, 2 goats, 1 cat, and 4 dogs), making all of the food, and assisting in the general logistics of the day will have me grateful for many years to come.
For those of you who don’t know, Heather and I decided to make and serve all of the food for our wedding day. Many called us crazy, as we only arrived in New York on October 1st from our road trip back from Colorado, leaving us five days to set the place up and prepare all the food—but with the help of our family and friends we did it. We made a fresh pasta bar consisting of truffle mushroom linguini, vegetable lasagna, pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli and a classic spaghetti and meat sauce. As we ladled and scooped generous portions to our guests donning our respective aprons, I couldn’t help but speak with an Italian-American accent to move the line along like I was running my own Long Island deli. We didn’t plan to serve everyone ourselves but we were having fun, so we did—to our relief nobody went hungry.
As dinner waned and the scotch shed opened, our wedding was now in full swing. The small potting shed that we converted into a whiskey tasting room exploded with laughter, warmth, and old stories. The dance floor in the garage-turned-banquet-room jumped beneath the Edison lights, uniting the older and the younger in a musically-induced exuberance. All around there were smiles, especially from the farm animals living their best lives as moonlight entertainers. Fairytales aren’t just for storybooks, anymore, I thought.
Then came the speeches. Justin and Grace spoke on mine and Heather’s behalf’s like they knew the most intimate thoughts inside our diaries. Great friends never fail to recognize the greatness in those closest to them, for they keep their company for those exact reasons. It’s only until we throw each other on stages with microphones that we realize how well our friends really know us. We should do it more often, for all of our sakes.
Perhaps the thing I was most excited about our wedding, with exception to swigging whiskey on the dance floor as “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood played, was to announce the surprise Heather and I had for Pam and Rick. For twenty years, Pam and Rick have been going to Negril, Jamaica, in late winter, but for the past few years financial troubles have stymied their tradition. As a way to say thank you for hosting our wedding, Heather and I asked the Dj to play their wedding song from when they got married on Honeymoon Acres in 1996. When they tried to retreat to their seats after the song’s conclusion, we kept them out there and told them we’re all going to Jamaica in three weeks and the animals are already taken care of. They cried. We cried. Everyone cried.
On a day filled with so much love, I cherished every minute. Even when Heather and I stood at the “altar,” a bunch of red begonias that Rick planted in the shape of the heart, as a light rain fell upon our shoulders, I remained grateful. During our ceremony, our officiant, David “Killer” Miller, spoke with equal parts comedy and soul, the very reasons we chose him. On a day where the bride and groom are supposed to be celebrated, I’ve never felt more part of our communities.
Here’s to everyone who helped, whether giving the animals haircuts or drinking whiskey in the scotch shed, because without you, it wouldn’t of been the best fucking day of my life.