My very favorite part of the wedding festivities, besides watching the actual marriage ceremony, was Friday night at the movies. Shauri had rented an older movie theater in downtown Newport, the kind with just one giant screening room full of velvet chairs, like your high school auditorium. All of the wedding guests had been invited (ordered) to submit a homemade film for this night. James begged the members of his family to do this, probably because he knew we wouldn't bother otherwise. Shauri's sister-in-law, Amy, took all the video submissions and put them together in categories, with 4-6 movies to a category. The categories were "Musicals", "Short Picture Featuring a Bride", "Short Picture Featuring a Groom", "Documentary--Short Subject", "International Picture", and "Mockumentary--Short Subject." We would watch all the films in one category, and then break for live entertainment by various wedding guests, including my brother Mark singing a VeggieTales song with two of my tater tots, and some of James' oldest friends reading made-up entries from his diary (hilarious!). I also loved the performance of Paul & Tamara Doughty who invited James and Shauri to come onstage and sit on stools. Paul & Tamara stood behind Shauri and James, and as they sang a rather cheesy (but beautiful) love song, they simultaneous manipulated James & Shauri's limbs to make it look like they were acting out the words of the song. Super funny for the audience--possibly quite awkward for the unsuspecting bride and groom.
Some of my favorite films: my brother Mark told a joke that he had heard from James when they were in college. It is one of my favorite jokes of all time, but it does not seem to make many other people laugh. Although the film was not universally appreciated for its hilarity, I still got a big kick out of it. My brother Nathan stole the show, I believe, when he came out on stage to sing one half of a duet from Les Miserables while the film version of himself sang the other part. His film self was huge, and looking down on his live self. It was very energetic and over the top, and I was bursting with pride. It easily won for its category. My mom made up the cutest, sweetest song ever, a history of our family set to the tune of "Gilligan's Island." The film went between her singing the song with my dad, and pictures of our family over the years. There was a really nice film submitted by James' friend John who is currently living in Australia. He filmed himself in Sydney harbor with the opera house in the background and apologized for not making it to the wedding. The title of his film was "Australia is a long way from Boston." I also loved a film called "Boise Chamber of Commerce" by our friends the Hansens who we grew up with in Boise. It was a little propaganda film trying to entice James and Shauri to settle in Boise, showing what an easy commute it is between Boise and Washington D.C. or between Boise and Baghdad. It bragged about how many wonders of the world are located in Boise, including the pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, et cetera. Us Boiseans were laughing our heads off. We loved it!
Following the final guest-submitted short film, we were treated to a slightly longer film made by Shauri. The music for that film was two love songs written and performed by James. The film had clips of different couples telling how they met and fell in love, and also talking about how we set up Shauri and James on their first blind date. My mom and dad were in that film, and Dan and me, and my brother Mark and his wife Kamis. My mom found out on camera that my dad had only joined the thespian club in high school so that he could spend more time with her (their first kiss was while rehearsing for a play). She couldn't believe it! It was adorable. I did a lot of the talking in the clips of Dan and me (can you imagine?), and it was really funny to watch Dan's expression as he kept his mouth shut and let me go on and on. Kamis made us laugh by listing off all of the significant dates in their courtship such as first date, first hand-hold, first kiss, etc. She stopped partway through and explained that the only reason she knows all of these dates is that they are all divisible by five. That really made us laugh.
Basically we were just laughing so hard all night long that our cheeks were sore. It felt so good to laugh that hard. It was so easy and comfortable to sit there in the theater and watch those cute movies and live performances, all by people who love Shauri and James.