With the cake-cutting behind us, all the formalities were out of the way and the rest of the reception was just a free-for-all party. That's when the whole night really went to the next level in terms of awesomeness. I should have known what kind of weirdness I was in for when my Aunt Lou presented me with a stuffed chicken that played "The Chicken Dance"...and danced along. It was quite a hit as it hopped across the table. I definitely got a pretty good laugh out of it.
Strangely, that wasn't the last encounter of the night with dancing birds. A little bit later, as I was sitting at a table with a group of friends, someone told me to come up to the front because Brandi had a surprise for me. I went up there and looked toward the doors just as Freddie and Frieda Falcon, the BGSU mascots, burst into the room. They presented me with a card, and then all the BGSU alumni present (and there were quite a few) gathered around for "Forward Falcons" and "Ay Ziggy Zoomba." They stuck around for a while after that, dancing to a few more songs and having tons of photos taken.
The funny thing about that, besides the fact that they were there at all, is that my best man also tried to get them to come. He works at the university and knows the guy in charge of the mascots, so he called the guy to see if he could book them. He was disappointed to find out they were already booked for a wedding that day, but after a few more minutes of talking they both realized that they were talking about the same wedding. So the birds were going to be there, one way or another. It was a huge surprise for me, and totally awesome. Everybody had a lot of fun with it.
However, as totally incredible as that was, it wasn't quite the highlight of the evening. That came a little bit later, when my mom came over to tell Brandi and me that she and my dad were leaving. Brandi immediately ran over to my dad to tell him that he couldn't leave without dancing with her first. My dad is a pretty reserved fellow--he had to be coaxed onto the dance floor earlier to dance with my mom--so I wasn't sure how this was going to go over. He didn't argue, though, just followed her to the dance floor and started dancing. Now, what took this from being simply a nice moment and sent it into the stratosphere is the fact that it wasn't a slow song playing at the time. It was "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy," and my dad busted loose. He was twirling his left arm around like he had a lasso and everything. When I first saw him start to dance, I tracked down Bill (the photographer) to make sure he got some shots of it. Then I joined my brother Bill and sister Monica, who were laughing their asses off. None of us had ever seen anything like it before in our lives.
While that was the high point of the night, the party certainly didn't end there. We had given the DJ some pretty extensive direction on what sort of music to play (and, more importantly, what not to play), and he did a fantastic job of picking songs and putting them in the right order, keeping things hopping. At one point I came back into the main reception hall from the bar area to find our friend Adam with the microphone, singing along to "The Humpty Dance." After that, Brandi and Cricket sang Extreme's "More Than Words," then later danced together to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (from Dirty Dancing). They were all over the place, even lifting each other up and rolling on the floor at some points, and it was hilarious.
We were having such a great time, and the DJ was having so much fun playing for us that he came over to me and offered to stay past the designated stopping time of midnight. I thought about it for a few minutes, but they were already preparing to close down the hall and we had people expecting us to show up at the hotel bar, so I had to decline. I wish I could have taken him up on it, though--I never wanted the night to end.
The next-to-last song of the night was Billy Joel's "Piano Man." Those of us that were left at that point--a small but select group of maybe fifteen people--joined together in a spontaneous circle, our arms around each other's shoulders and swaying back and forth as we sang along. Looking around at everyone during this time really brought home to me exactly how lucky I was on this night and in general. I had (and have) a beautiful and wonderful bride, and I was (and am) surrounded by amazing people that I am extremely proud to call friends.
When that song ended, it was time to clear up some details and get ready to head out. We had a shuttle running back and forth from the reception hall to the hotel so people could drink what they wanted without having to drive, and we caught the last one of the night. We sang songs all the way back to the hotel, and I imagine the driver was pretty glad to get there and get rid of us.
Off the bus, Brandi and everyone else headed into the bar, while McComas and I headed back to Brandi's and my room to drop some stuff off. We got to see all the decorations that had been left for us, and we took the opportunity to take our shoes off for a few minutes--after wearing them for over nine hours, they really weren't very comfortable anymore. Then we headed down to the bar as well.
By the time we arrived, Brandi was ready to leave. She was pretty drunk well before the reception ended, and she was winding down. So we made the rounds to at least see all the people who were there waiting for us, and Brandi took the opportunity to tell a group of my family (my brother and sister, two nieces, and an aunt) along with her mom that we were going to go have sex. That was pretty amusing. I'm sure everyone there knew it anyway, but I'm equally sure that my nieces, at least, didn't want to hear about it.
All in all, it was an incredible day and night. Honestly, I don't know how things could have gone any better at all. Brandi and I had an absolute blast, and I think all of our guests had a really good time as well. Even given my somewhat ambivalent feelings about marriage in general, I know that this will be one of the best memories I'll have for the rest of my life.