Smoky Mountain Nuptials [Pigeon Forge, Tennessee]

After our galavants in South America it was time to zip on back to the good ‘ol U S of A for two of our besties to make a nestie (aka get married). The wedding was held at a huge cabin that they rented for the wedding party outside of Knoxville in the town known as Pigeon Forge. If you’ve ever been to Myrtle Beach, the town is a lot like that but somehow even more Southern and kitschy. We know this not because the cabin was in town, but because we made it a point to see this wonderfully named location. I must admit though, funnel cake factory knew their way around a fryer!

We arrived in Knoxville Friday morning after a redeye from Lima and, being who we are, the first order of business was finding a good old fashioned gym. After some deliberation we ended up going to a YMCA so we could also get slightly cleaned up after our sweat sessions. Since we couldn’t check into the cabin until the late afternoon we also decided to kill some time at REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods so Jeiny could yet again return to zero days without a gear purchase.

A few dollars off our available credit later, we headed for the cabin where we’d be seeing all our best friends at. We ended up arriving a bit early and were immediately put to work helping setup for the wedding – a task we were up for since Lexie had done all her own planning (slide over here if you want help with your big day)! Being the frat boy Oley was, he let us do what we do best, help with the alcohol :).

This is perhaps why they’re called the Smokies.

As people trickled in through the afternoon we slowly met all of the extended family and other (less cool) friends. As you might imagine, with an unknown quantity of handles and a free pour bar, we were all seeing a little less straight by nightfall. And while I wish I could give a more apt recollection of the night… all I can really say is we made lots of new friends, enjoyed a splash in a hot tub and a lukewarm tub, and somehow made it to our queen sized bunk beds – I’d like to think that Lexie chose this cabin as a tribute to our time sharing bunks in Madison ๐Ÿ˜‰. Overall, I’d say it was a successful first evening!

My inability to sleep well had me up bright and early Saturday morning before 10 of the bunkmates in our room so I headed downstairs so as to not wake anybody up. Lucky for me, most of the the real adults were already awake and beginning the preparations for the wedding. I was pretty quickly tasked with helping out, and what kind of monster would I be to say no!? With all the hands we had, the setup didn’t take long. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the food… the caterers were late, likely hungover, oh and also forgot to cook the food before showing up! Soooo we had two people frantically trying to make breakfast for 70+ people. In the end, maybe 40 got food and the caterers were fired on the spot. Coming in clutch for dinner was none other than Olive Garden! I never would have imagined that I would ever say Olive Garden saved the day, but it’s 2021 so I guess anything is possible ๐Ÿ˜‚.

Having dealt with the food fiasco, everybody started getting ready for the ceremony. Having 12 people for our single bathroom made getting ready a tad challenging, but we persevered! Fortunately, the wedding was not super formal, which would have been difficult for us living out of backpacks. In some weird reversal of the universe I managed to help out two other wedding guests because I was more prepared than they were – my one pair of pants and one bottle of shampoo went to great use (go me!).

Mountains just smouldering.

While Lexie’s brother was rocking my single pair of pants, I put on a matching (clashing?) sloth button down and swim trunks. The outfit was what multiple people called visually assaulting! I asked the bride if it was too much, and she crushed my dreams speaking the truth that it was… Being the great friend that I am, I compromised on the shorts but kept the shirt because who wouldn’t want to see a sloth riding a T-Rex with lazer beams coming out of its eyes at their wedding!? Plus it was one of the only collared shirts I currently own ๐Ÿ˜€

The shirt in its full glory! Ps- thanks to my date for classing it up a bit on behalf of both of us.

The ceremony was short and sweet, which is ironic because Krista and Senior were officiating and they’re anything but. After the main event and a hefty base of carbs courtesy of the OG, the night slowly devolved in to more debauchery since we still had a lot of the bar to work through. There was dancing, drinking games, Polaroids, and card games a plenty. Plus, without giving too much detail, I made $100 opening a beer can without my hands (she said look ma, no hands).

Krista’s first stand up show (wedding officiating) luckily didn’t flop!
Classy pose, just like my shirt ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ
Squad looking fresh for once!

Sunday morning meant the end of the wedding, and as we helped break everything down, people started going their respective ways. We bid adieu to all friends, new, old, and two now hitched. On the way back to Knoxville there was a very important stop at Waffle House since Krista had never been. And from there, we jetted off to Costa Rica to begin a couple weeks in Latin America.

Stay tuned for more adventures from Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize!

One last mountain sunrise

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