Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cut it out, Mississippi: Britto Gets Married

As a very special edition of my cosmopolitan travel posts, I recently took quite the road trip to Jackson, Mississippi. It was my first time in Mississippi and I was there for a very important occasion: Britto, one of my oldest and dearest friends, was getting married. Thinking of travelling to Mississippi on a wild, impromptu road trip? You're in luck, I'll be reviewing the entire state (based completely on my 2 day visit). Any brides-to-be out there? (holla!) I'll throw in some wedding tips, too. See? Something for everyone!

(warning: mega blogpost ahead)

First, a little back story:

I met Britto on the first day of fifth grade at the bike rack, right after I had moved to Florida. We've been friends ever since, even though my younger brother has held a vendetta against Britto for once throwing his backpack over a fence (note: this occurred in 1995 but it's almost guaranteed that Devin will mutter something unintelligible about "damn backpacks" when Britto comes up in conversation. It's healthy to hold meaningless grudges, right? ).

Here's me and Britto in 1996:

Had these young gals been able to look into the very far future, they would have seen one girl getting married and buying a very cute house with her husband and the other renting with 2 female roommates and writing a blog. It's maybe why they say the future is best left unseen. Or that tomorrow is another day. Or some other saying involving time. All true.

Britto & I then flew through middle school, high school, getting drivers licenses, first speeding tickets (Britto), being crowned prom queen (me) (such a lie), our first *NSYNC concert (not even embarrassed that this is so very true), first jobs and finally, graduation. I ended up in Canada, Britto in Mississippi. When I received the wedding invitation in the mail, I couldn't believe it--I'd finally get to visit Mississippi! The state that you have to learn how to spell for spelling bees! The state that you have to say out loud when counting to denote a second! That state that birthed Lance Bass and Parker Posey! Oh yeah, and I'd get to see my oldest friend get married to her boyfriend Brian. SWEET DEAL.

*NSYNC concert, 2001. My sign says "Marry Me JC" and Britto's says "Britt heart Lance."

(Can you believe these posters were confiscated by the security guards before we even entered the concert? Totally ruined any chance of me actually marrying JC. I'd say Britto fared okay though--we all know how that Lance situation turned out.)

So after my friend Jenn (also a high school best friend of mine & Britto's) and I made plans to meet up in Jackson for the wedding and booked our flights, it was off to Mississippi we go!

Jenn and I had a happy reunion at the Jackson airport and we cabbed it to our hotel. Our cab driver was kind enough to provide a helpful lecture telling us we did not, in fact, tip him enough. After being guilt-tripped into leaving a marginally larger tip, Jenn and I attempted to check into our room. What a fun surprise it was to learn that not only had our friend the cab driver driven us to the wrong hotel, but he also delivered us to a completely different city than requested. What a prankster!

My review of Mississippi at this point: Awful, AWFUL state! And confusing.

After we called back the same cab driver to bring us to the correct hotel (and had an extremely awkward ride in which we received the silent treatment from him), Jenn and I got settled in our proper hotel and decided to hit the town and see the sights. Which means I dragged Jenn to Target to see all of the things we don't get in Canada.

Suck on that, Michael Carpenter!

Check out the shelves of cornbread mix they have in Mississippi. Sometimes I really miss southern food. Like cornbread. And biscuits. And Great Grains.

My review of Mississippi at this point: She's redeemed herself nicely due to existence of Target and availability of cornbread mix. Keep it up, gurl!

And then the big day arrived. Jenn and I woke up nice and early to catch the free Holiday Inn breakfast (omg any hotel that has any kind of free breakfast is something special in my books) and then excitedly got ready in our room. We kept looking at each and saying stuff like "Holy cow, can you believe Britto's getting married TODAY?" And then one of us would say "No, I really can't." And then one of us (me) would say "Wow, that free breakfast was really cool." And then Jenn would say "Yeah, it was pretty good, I guess." And then it'd start all over again.

After putting the final touches on our masterpieces, we went down to the hotel lobby and began to wait for our ride in the parking lot. During this wait, it was brought to our attention that our ride wouldn't be arriving for at least another hour. So we did what any former models would do, and that's get our runway walk on in the parking lot.

Did Mississippi and her inhabitants seem impressed with our runway walks? No, not really. It was more like "why these city girls parading around all fancy-like in the empty parking lot when it's time for the crawfish bake?"

Mirror shots are also a good way to waste approximately 3 minutes of time.

At this point, the sun has melted our makeup, flattened our hair and created a delicate glimmer of sweat all over our bodies. Mississippi was officially kicking our asses.

My review of Mississippi at this point: Too much sun, too many parking lots and what's up with crawfish? Seriously, it's kinda gross.

Thankfully, our ride arrived shortly after and brought us to Britto's wedding site, which was a beautiful gazebo and hall in the middle of the country.

It was gorgeous, even though I admit I'm very partial to gazebos due to my fave Sound of Music scene. Wedding tip: Brides-to-be, hold your wedding in an outdoor gazebo! And wear a dress like Liesl's which twirls when you spin! And then after the groom kisses you, say "wheeeeeeee!"And try and schedule it during an impromptu thunderstorm and...no? Fine. Saving it for my own wedding.

Jenn and I reunited with Jesse, another high school friend, who was one of Britto's bridesmaids. Jesse, Jenn and I played in many woodwind ensembles together in our concert band days. A little flute, some clarinet, maybe some oboes, a few bass clarinets... when I think about how crazy we were during those days, it's a wonder we made it out alive.

And then the wedding procession began...

Watching Britto walk down the aisle with her dad, I definitely had to do one of those zoning-out-on-purpose moments to make myself not think about all of the memories we have growing up and start crying. Instead I kept thinking "Man, it's hot out here." Which it wasn't, really, and my eyes still got watery. Because of that damn heat.

It was an absolutely perfect ceremony. Britto abided to the old adage of KISS: "Keep It Simple, Stupid" and the ceremony was kept light, fun and clocked in at about 20 minutes.

I think this is how every bride should look right after the ceremony: bursting with happiness and most likely ready to hit the wedding bar.


Beers in a bucket and Jack Daniels on the table. Mississippi weddings are fun.

The wedding dinner was a southern barbeque feast, complete with pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, smoked chicken, baked beans, rolls, chicken tenders, coleslaw and a variety of BBQ sauces (sorry, vegetarians :( ). The groom had a special plate of ribs and hot tamales (as well as a groom's cake shaped like a dragon. For real). Brides-to-be, don't be afraid to have messy wedding food if it's delicious. I'll be having a cereal bar at mine for sure.

My review of Mississippi at this point: Best state ever.

We're not even sure what happened to Britto in this picture but it's probably my favorite pic of the whole night. Brides-to-be, don't forget to pretend to morph into a monster for at least one pic; it's a great option for the "thank you" cards.

And ohhh, how they danced.

The beautiful bridesmaids danced in flip-flops all night long.

And then something magical happened. Softly, somewhere in the distance, we heard the opening chords of the male musical group *NSYNC's hit song "It's Gonna Be Me." Now, this song has quite a lot of significance for me, Jenn and Britto (and many of yourselves, too, I'm sure). Back in tenth grade, we devoted a very large portion of our time to memorizing the dance to this song. After we mastered it, we performed it every single chance we received. House parties, marching band awards banquets, our own empty living rooms...seriously, our high school friends must have hated us.

So you can understand our confusion/sense of wonderment when we heard the song begin to play. I realized I remembered almost nothing of the dance and glanced over at Jenn, who shared the same panicked expression. But as Justin Timberlake says, the show must go on...

And yeah, we had a rough beginning...

But soon it was like we were 16 again, in matching glittery tank tops (because, again, we were so cool).

I think this is right about where we hit our stride.

Did I forget to mention that everyone else had cleared the floor for this?
The crowd stood aside and watched us, both confused yet entranced. We finished to scattered yet enthusiastic applause. It was absolutely my favorite part of the entire trip.

My review of Mississippi at this point: I finally understand that whole "birthplace of soul" nickname. Well deserved!

Once you get applause like that, you just can't go back to normal life. I craved it. Had to have it. So I engaged in a very long dance-off with the one person willing to dance with me: an Australian named Andrew.

Brides-to-be, it's a good idea to invite friends to your wedding who have zero shame and are willing to embarrass themselves on the dance floor in order to keep it hopping. If these friends happen to be good dancers, well, then that's even better, but as we proved here, it's not necessary.

I found Britto's wedding gift at a Goodwill in Orlando and knew immediately it was the gift for her. It's not every day you come across an *NSYNC collectors edition JC Chasez marionette doll, now, is it? Don't worry, this isn't the only gift I got for her. Good lord, what do you think I am?! No no, Britto will be receiving the rest of the set one by one as I seek them out and collect them.

Brides-to-be, remember to be as gracious and accepting as Britto was when receiving gifts that were most definitely not on the registry.

Final review of Mississippi: Let's see, I got to visit some of my closest friends, eat southern bbq, go to Target, dance to *NSYNC, meet some nice people (minus cab driver) who proved that southern hospitality is a very real thing and drink beer in a party dress. This state's pretty much identical to Disney World. You could probably have fun here, too.

Parting shot.

This car's bumper stickers can pretty much sum up Mississippi much more succinctly than I can--"Jesus is Coming, Get Right or Get Left," "CAUTION: I stop at all Walmart stores."

Congrats, Britto & Brian! I wish you guys all the best.

PS--All of the photos in this post which are beautiful were taken by Jenn, who is quite a talented photographer/blogger. All of the mediocre/grainy photos were taken by yours truly. Capturing important moments in time in crappy quality, yet another talent o' mine. Thanks, Jenn!


  1. What a pretty gazebo she was married in! (BTW, I can't WAIT for your SOM wedding!) A warm congrats to your friend Britto. I had no idea you knew choreographed dances! Let's learn more of those!

  2. dragon cake and ribs sound incredible. A I love that shot of the four of you. 18 followers!

  3. That. Was. AMAZING. Brought a chuckle to my belly and a tear to my eye - PERFECT! I'm so glad you liked Mississippi - sans cab driver (I'll be sending my congressman a letter about him...it's a law in MS - you've gotta be hospitable!).

    JC is patiently awaiting his counterparts. I have a feeling I will be collecting these far into my old age. <3

  4. Wow, one day I hope to visit M-I-SS-I-SS-I-PP-I...and only because of this post.

    Maybe one day I'll visit Florida too, who knows...life's a crazy thing.

  5. I am not going anywhere Heather is going ... so mississippi and florida are out... but you are the only other person funnier than I... be proud (aka I heart your blog)

  6. TRUE STORY. You captured our Mississippi adventure spot on.

    I have to say, I'm really disappointed we didn't remember more of the "It's Gonna Be Me" dance. When I got home, I watched the music video and then remembered every step, of course. Urgh. It also occurred to me that we probably could have performed better if we had taken our heels off. I mean, even *N SYNC didn't dance in heels ... although I'm sure Lance wanted to ...

    Mississippi indeed kicked our asses, but I loved every minute of our ONLY reunion. Love and miss you girls!

  7. this is your best blog post yet! compared to this blog post, the rest of your blog is pretty bad.

  8. Once again awesome blog. Made my Monday morning :) You got some moves girl :)

  9. Mississippi weddings are awesome; I recommend that all of you attend at least one of them. And have a dragon cake and lots of beers at that wedding.

    Thank you guys for reading and sticking through the mega blogpost. One day I will learn to edit, I promise.

    And Adam, I laugh out loud every time I read your comment. What a funny joke! I love when you joke around...you were joking, right?

  10. Replies
    1. Why, thank you. I owe you one (1) NSYNC-themed dance.