Hello Friends and Family,

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The Wedding

Golf Course Last week, I wrote about activities when my family reunited in Maryland to celebrate my father's 90th birthday. Just a few weeks later, we converged on Florida — the Fort Lauderdale area — to celebrate the wedding of my niece, Lauren.

This wedding went the whole nine yards, complete with rehearsal dinner at the Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club. This venue features everglades-themed wetlands and is certified by the Audubon Society. All I know is that it is beautiful and I would have loved to play a round here — but we had a wedding to complete.

The Engaged Without further ado, please allow me the pleasure to introduce the engaged couple that brought us all together — Jon Underhill and Lauren Jones. Jon is a firefighter and Lauren is a teacher. And don't they look happy?

Bride's Parents My sister and brother-in-law, Janie and Danny, are the proud parents of the bride. We are a close family and although Danny is technically, my brother-in-law, he is more like a brother. We play golf and, naturally, I try my best to beat him for bragging rights — just like a brother.

And my whole family feels that way about him. On occasion, my father has said something to Danny like, "Your mother wants me to plant some flowers here" — even though she is, of course, really his mother-in-law.

And Janie? She is a sweetheart. Everyone loves her. Danny is lucky to have found her. And visa versa.

Mom & Dad Speaking of Mom and Dad, here they are. Can you believe, he is 90 years old and still romantic? And, by the way, today (July 7) is my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! I know it is not polite to state a lady's age. Just note that she is five years younger than my Dad.

Danny's Mom Dave and his wifeDanny's side of the family was well represented — on the left is his mom. On the right is his brother, Dave and his wife. There were other members of Danny's family but I had to include Dave because he loaned me a set of golf clubs so Danny and I could get in that round of golf before the festivities began. Thanks, Dave!

Margaret There were lots of folks on Jon's side of the family — but i wanted to especially share the photo of his mom, Margaret.

The dinner was wonderful and it was a great time to get to meet new family and old. One of the most interesting aspects of the rehearsal dinner was a video that was assembled of photos of Jon and Lauren growing up, leading parallel lives with many similarities — but not meeting until they were both a bit older. The video concluded with "The Man Song". Just click here to see the Truth that every married man knows — and Jon is about to learn.

Mr. & Mrs. Underhill The wedding ceremony was, well, a wedding ceremony. It was lovely. Some people cried. But everyone seemed very happy to greet the new Mr. and Mrs. Underhill.

Old FLL Village Scheduling a church and reception can bring challenges and Jon and Lauren's wedding was no exception. It was like a day-night double-header in baseball. The wedding was mid-day and the reception was in the evening. However, that worked out well because it gave the older folks (and some younger ones too) the opportunity to catch a nap in the afternoon.

The reception was held at the Old Fort Lauderdale Village. Interestingly, I lived in Fort Lauderdale for a couple years way back when I was in high school and summers during college — but I did not recall this historic area. Perhaps it was just not as interesting for me then.

It includes four turn-of-the-20th-century buildings — which is rare in Florida simply because of the climate (termites, wood rot, hurricanes, etc.) — situated on the New River. The reception was actually held outside (these buildings are not air conditioned) under a clear tent.

Danny with Lisa and Nancy One of the most popular guys around was the father of the bride (and my brother-in-law), Danny — who emptied his wallet for this wonderful get-together. You done good Danny.

Newlyweds Appear Well, it was finally time for the newlyweds to make their appearance.

Sparklers To celebrate their arrival, guests were given sparklers to light and wave to dress up the evening sky. This is the first time I have seen this practice — I like it — a nice touch.

First Dance And, of course, that leads to the first dance. Jon is very good at making Lauren laugh — even during their first dance. How cute!

Sharing Cake Eventually, once dinner was concluded, we got to that part of the festivities where they feed each other some wedding cake. I do not know where the custom came from where couples smear cake all over each other's face. In fact, I don't particularly like that custom — but Lauren and Jon were good to each other.

By the way, Lauren had an unusual but excellent choice for their wedding cake — yellow cake with coconut icing — my absolute favorite. Good choice, Lauren!

Dancers Love that musicAnd let the dancing continue. All night long, perhaps. Love that music!

 Life is good.

 B. David