While scanning and editing their 500+ photographs and notes of the trip took a sizeable amount of time, the images from the wedding and honeymoon are now viewable online.
(Lawrence, KS) – Making good on his New Year’s nuptials pledge, Micah Laaker walked down the aisle of Lawrence’s Trinity Lutheran Church on October 18th as the proud husband of the beautiful and brilliant Carrie Patton. Miss Patton, having passed out during the "first kiss" part of the ceremony, quickly recovered and led Laaker through the church’s doors and into joint ownership of one of the world’s largest and more eclectic music collections.
The two then immediately proceeded to kick off their Weddingmania 2003 Autumn Explosion Tour in both downtown Lawrence, Kansas, and southern Africa. Following right on the heels of the service (administered by Laaker’s father, the Honorable and Right Reverend Dr. Damon Laaker), the Laakers received their family and friends at Lawrence’s historic Eldridge Hotel (notable for several to-the-ground burnings and a recent asset seizure, as well as its architectural adornments).
(The first half of the Weddingmania 2003 event featured special guests such as Aaron Steckelberg and Amy Morgan (as Best Man and Matron of Honor), Sarah Emery and Amanda Laaker (vocalists), Kerry Hillard and William "Ross" Maday (as readers), Jill Unruh (as attendant), Mitchell "Sharkboy" Lucas and Tom Emery (as ushers), and Denise Bitter (as guestbook attendant).)
After partaking in the merriment and mayhem associated with such an event, the Laakers headed back to New York and then jetted off to the southernmost coast of Africa for the second leg of the Tour. Journeying for 2.5 weeks, the two traveled through South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.
While in Africa, the Laakers came face-to-face with herds of elephants, baboons, dassies (known to the Germans as "rock rabbits"), hippopotamus, mosquitoes, and even a 5-inch spider in their suite’s bathroom. While driving sanguinely through the winelands and the Garden Route and skimming over mountain ranges in two-seater airplanes, the couple managed to experience the surprising optimism and energy underlying the grim challenges of some of the world’s highest unemployment rates.
The two also witnessed firsthand the depravity of living conditions in Robert Mugabe’s modern day Zimbabwe. While visiting for two days in Victoria Falls, the Laakers managed to pass the country’s biggest tourist attraction’s water treatment facility: a shell of building with all its windows knocked out, rusting pipes strewn across the front lawn, and the perimeter fence seemingly ravaged by numerous hit-and-run accidents. (Fortunately, the two had come well prepared by bringing their own bottled water supply.) Burned-out hulls of car frames littered the dusty highways, and citizens (forced to rely on one of the world’s most devalued currencies at a $4000Z-to-$1US rate) skulking alongside roadways, apprehensive of oncoming mauling packs of water buffalo.
After spending half a month watching the sun set over sprawling mountain ranges, open velds, and slowly winding rivers, the Laakers left the world’s friendliest people and awe-inspiring places to return to New York via a 36-hour commute. After 9 months of planning and several weeks of execution, the Autumn Explosion Tour ended with the couple returning home energized and anxious to return back to such an amazing land.