Schlueterville ready to get wedding party started

This week's column was written from the Schlueterville patio, in full view of a space that will be transformed from humble backyard to wedding venue in 48 hours.

This is where our son, Rocket, will marry his lovely bride, Trooper, Saturday night.

My new kitchen sits on the other side of the patio doors, and it's a masterpiece. I've told you quite a lot about the project, which went from flying sledgehammers to finished product in six ridiculously short weeks.

Concrete countertops now gleam mirror bright. Custom oak cabinets hold my staggering collection of foodie-obsessed gadgets and appliances. The sink's deep enough to drown a watermelon, and the room's new footprint is airy and light. I've never had a kitchen remotely this nice, and I'm filled with humility each time my feet touch the cool tiled floor.

Outside the garden is complete, with shady trees, lush plants, and enough funky, rust-bucket accessories to make things interesting. When the guests come calling Saturday night, they'll find it doused with strings of white lights, and candles dancing in Mason jars atop burlap-wrapped tables. There will be a lively pastor and beautiful music, too.

Hunka's shop, which sports a new roof and freshly-painted door, will house refreshments. A curtain of lace and burlap will disguise tools, equipment and assorted flotsam; a space that previously entertained a ton of sawdust, but a rare handful of guests. An old, claw foot bathtub parked just outside its door will be filled with ice and tasty drinks.

The bridal couple will marry on the same spot where we celebrated Thanksgiving last year; outside, under the rugged covered patio Hunka built a few years ago. It's oddly fitting that a place that has witnessed so much laughter and good cheer will propel our family into a brand new chapter. Hunka and I will have a bona fide daughter-in-law! How great is that?

We're expecting around 200 guests, each toting casserole dishes and crock pots. This will be no fancy-schmancy catered event. We're 100 percent pot luck. The menu choice has garnered a fair amount of curiosity.

"What if everyone brings beanie weenies?" my friends ask.

"Then we'll all suffer the consequences," I reply with a laugh. "At the very least it will definitely be memorable."

Hosting an outdoor wedding in Nebraska in June is a huge crap shoot. The weather is either your best friend or wants you dead. But life's a crap shoot, too, so you'd best learn to play the hand you're dealt. So far the forecast is mild and dry, but that could change in a nanosecond.

It would be wonderful if we could dance with fireflies under a clear white moon. It'll be just as wonderful standing shoulder-to-shoulder in my new kitchen to escape the rain. And I'll bet a video of a bride playing air hockey in our man-cave basement would go positively viral.

By the time you read this column, Trooper's family and friends will have arrived from Oklahoma and places far and wide. The Schlueter clan will be gathering, too.

Groomsmen and bridesmaids will be ready to get the party started. I'll be prepping shredded barbecue beef sandwiches for the rehearsal dinner Friday night. We'll all be stringing those lights and laughing hard at just about everything; reveling in this time of joyful abundance.

Planning for this wedding has been a definite journey. You can bet I'll tell you how it goes. We couldn't be happier to welcome you to the family, Trooper. And Rocket, you have made your parents very proud.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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