Friday, June 23, 2006

The Reception, Part 1

The trip from the wedding to the reception was my first-ever ride in a limo. It was pretty cool, but still just the tiniest bit cramped considering there were ten people in there, one of whom was wearing an expansive dress. The driver was instructed to take the scenic route, so we rode around BG for a little bit in order to give Bill (the photographer) time to get to the reception site ahead of us.

The reception site had a pretty cool setup. A hallway ran the length of the building; on one side was a room that had been set up as the bar area, and on the other side was the main reception hall. The guests were sequestered in the bar area until we arrived, so no one saw the way the hall was decorated before we did. Jim and Audrey (the caterers) were in charge of the decorations, and they had divulged no details, so even Brandi and I had only the vaguest notions of what it would look like in there. I hadn't even been in the building before, so I was even more in the dark than Brandi was. When we finally saw it, it was incredible. The building used to be a church, so the cathedral ceiling made the room feel huge. There was an aisle between two rows of tables, leading up to a private table for Brandi and myself. The DJ was set up at the very front of the room, with the cake on the left and the food service area running the entire left side of the room. The tables were set up very nicely, and the lighting was diffuse but sufficient that you could see with no problem.

We had a chance to mill around and look around for a few minutes while Brandi's dress was bustled, and then they had to hide us so the guests could come in before we were all introduced. Unfortunately, the only place we could really hide was in the kitchen. It was very hot in there, and we weren't dressed for it. I eventually had to dip into the freezer for an ice cube, and McComas, my best man, nearly passed out from the heat. Luckily, it was then that all the guests were in and they finally let us out of the kitchen and into the hallway where we lined up to be introduced as we came into the hall (to the tune of "The Throne Room/End Title" from the original Star Wars).

Before anything else, we started off with the toasts. Both the best man (McComas) and the maid of honor (Cricket) skirted the issue of the circumstances surrounding Brandi and me meeting, in which they both played a role. That topic could have been either really amusing or slightly uncomfortable, so skipping it was probably a wise choice. Both speeches were really nice. When they were finished, Brandi's dad took the microphone and gave a nice speech as well, about losing his "little girl" but putting her into good hands (mine, presumably).

After that, at long last, it was time to start eating. Given my troubles earlier in the day, I really hadn't eaten anything since the rehearsal dinner the night before, so I was ready for some food. We started with a citrus salad and then moved on to the main course, which consisted of beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, sun-dried tomato basil chicken, and a pasta bar. All the food was amazing. It took forever for me to finish, though. I eat slowly enough as it is, and people kept clinking their damned glasses, which I think is another dumb wedding tradition and for which I could have cheerfully opened fire on the whole crowd (although it was fairly amusing when it happened while Brandi was in the bathroom and my groomsman Matt had come to sit with me in her stead; it was amazing how promptly Matt vanished). People also kept coming up to talk or take pictures, but I didn't mind that nearly so much.

When I finally made it through dinner, we got to walk around and mingle for a few minutes, and then it was time for dancing. We kicked off, of course, with Brandi's and my first dance together as husband and wife ("She's Alright By Me" - Angie Aparo). Then we had the whole wedding party up there ("Feeling Good" - Michael Buble). After that Brandi danced with her dad ("Not While I'm Around" - Barbra Streisand), and then it was my turn to dance with my mom ("The One Who Knows" - Dar Williams). I was a little self-conscious during the dances because I know nothing of formal dancing, but I made it through okay.

Finally, after the requisite dances were finished, it was time to cut the cake. Those people in the crowd hoping to see us smash the cake in each other's faces (of which I'm sure there were a few) were to be sorely disappointed. I think Brandi was initially tempted, but I reminded her while we were cutting the cake that any smashing on her part would lead to the immediate initiation of divorce proceedings. So we very tastefully fed each other a piece of cake, which was really good.

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