With the wedding taking place on Saturday (the 3rd), the ball started rolling on Friday. That's when people started coming in from out of town, and the rehearsal and dinner were slated for that night. Brandi had various appointments for most of the day, so I took advantage of the solitude while I had it. I took a book and went out for lunch by myself, as I hadn't been able to do for a while. It was my "deep breath before the plunge"--I knew that I wouldn't have another chance for quiet time for a while, and in that I was right.
Shortly after lunch, I headed over to the hotel where most people were staying to meet up with our friends Amy and Doug, who were both members of the wedding party. I also ended up running into my parents and Brandi's dad, so we all chatted for a little bit. Eventually, though, Doug and I had to go up to Toledo to pick up tuxedos for ourselves as well as most of the wedding party, and Amy tagged along with us.
This trip took a lot longer than I thought it would. First, there is construction on the interstate on the way to the mall, which I had forgotten about since I don't go over there very often. Once we got there we had to take care of more paperwork than was probably necessary, and then Doug and I had to try everything on. Doug's vest kept blowing buttons, so the clerk had to sew them back on. When we were finally finished in there, we had to haul seven tuxes through the mall and out to the parking lot, which is tougher than it sounds--those things are heavy. Then we had to navigate back through the construction again on the way back to Bowling Green.
The upshot of all of this is that I ended up being a few minutes late for my own wedding rehearsal. It was scheduled to start at 6:00, and we were just getting back into town at 5:50. I had to drop Amy and Doug off at the hotel and then go back to the apartment to change clothes. I ended up arriving at the rehearsal about fifteen minutes late. This really wasn't that big of a deal, but it certainly made me feel a little frantic. I hate being late for anything, especially when I'm one of the stars of the show.
The rehearsal happened so quickly and was so stripped down that I wondered a little why we bothered to do it at all. Citing "bad luck," Brandi refused to walk down the aisle, and we did only a very basic run-through. All that really got accomplished, I think, was the establishment of the order of how everyone would walk in and where we would all stand, and our musicians got their first and only chance to practice together. I can only imagine how much of a mess the actual ceremony would have been if we didn't do the rehearsal, but at the time, it seemed almost like a waste of time.
The dinner afterwards, however, was most certainly not a waste of time. We had it at Cucina di Betto in BG, which I can't recommend highly enough. The food was awesome (Brandi and I eat there all the time), and they did a great job of hosting it. The crowd consisted of Brandi and myself, our respective parents, the wedding party and their significant others, our officiant and his family, and a few miscellaneous family and friends. It was great to have everyone together, and Brandi and I both gave little speeches to thank everyone for coming, and to thank my parents for throwing this portion of the party for us. We gave out our wedding party and parents' gifts, and Brandi's parents gave us all the documents and info for our trip to Cozumel. When it was time for dessert, Brandi brought out a groom's cake she had our caterers make for me--decorated like a BGSU football field. That related to her gift for me, which was two tickets to the upcoming game between BGSU and the Wisconsin Badgers which will be taking place at Cleveland Browns Stadium this fall.
From there we adjourned to the hotel bar, the End Zone. That was where things got a little out of control. In a good way, of course. Quite a few people made it over there from dinner, and most of us had already been drinking. I was the last to arrive at the bar since I had to stop at home to drop off the remainder of the cake and to change clothes (the tie had to go), and there was a Starry Night (Jagermeister and Goldschlager) waiting for me when I got there. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening. When the bar patrons and employees found out we were a wedding party, they set up a mock bouquet and garter toss, which was pretty amusing. The guy who caught the garter later bought my first-ever shot of tequila, which should have been the end of the evening for me, but wasn't. Brandi turned in early, and I had every intention of doing the same, but...so many of my friends and family were there, I was drinking mostly for free, and I was having a great time. So I stuck around. I talked to the bartenders and plenty of random strangers (as the pictures prove), but mostly I was hanging out with my dad and some of my best friends. The group dwindled as the night wore on, but a pretty good crew stayed on until the very end. We were there until last call and a little beyond.
When I finally got home, I needed to wind myself down, so I went for a short walk around the neighborhood before finally going into the apartment. In hopes of easing the transition into the next day, I made myself some popcorn and a big glass of ice water, then plopped down on the couch to try to read. Shortly thereafter, around 4:00 a.m., I realized that I could barely keep my eyes open, so I finally dragged myself to bed for the last time as a single man.