Monday, April 27, 2015

There Was a Wedding - Part 8 - The Reception

While the formal act of becoming Mr and Mrs is important, let's be honest. The real reason we have a wedding is to party. We dress up, many of us in clothing we'll never wear again. We eat. We drink. We laugh. We dance. We don't look down on someone on the dance floor because they are celebrating. When we look back on a wedding, we don't remember the first sight of the bride walking down the aisle, or the vows the couple may have written themselves. We remember the food and who was sitting at our table. We remember the DJ and the line dance. The reception is what we remember.

After being dismissed from photos, mom and I came back inside to find our tables. Star Wars featured prominently here.

Everyone received a shot glass with "Larry and CJ, 3-21-15" on it. On the top of the box was your name and your table.

Perhaps someone can clarify something for me. At what point did it become necessary to give guests something to take home with them, beyond memories, full stomachs and the program from the ceremony? When I married, back in the dark ages, the idea that guests got anything other than sincere thanks for showing up was preposterous. Now, it seems that if guests don't have something to take home, they are offended. It's an added cost to the couple. I just wonder when things shifted. I will treasure the shot glass forever, but I wonder how many were left on the table.

I got mom situated and went to find my guild mates from World of Warcraft.

Doo, Jon and Becky have been friends with me since 2009. Jon and Becky have hosted the last two guild meet-ups when I come east to see Carole and Doo has come to both of them. Larry had friends from his World of Warcraft guild in attendance, too. We did not know who they were until photos were posted. We could have joined forces to have an epic "raid" of the dance floor, or something, during the reception.

We were lined up, once the photos were done, and then introduced. We had to walk diagonally across the dance floor, which occupied the place where the ceremony had been held. I went first.

Funny story:  when I was wandering about the assembly, saying "hello" to the friends of Carole's who had made it out for the wedding, I was stopped by a lady who mentioned how wonderful it was to meet me. I had no idea who this woman was. She called me by a name which, when repeated to Larry, was that of a friend of his family. I realized she had mistaken me for someone else so I just patted her hand and said we'd chat later. She should come to my table. Then I had to go get in line for the introductions.

I''m sure when I was introduced as "Deb Montague, mother of the bride", she realized I was not the person she thought I was. I never saw her again.

Carole's father and his wife were introduced. Larry's parents came next followed by the attendants. Then came "the new Mr and Mrs Larry Kevin Oliver, Jr".

They entered to the triumphant march at the end of the very first Star Wars movie, where Luke, Han and Chewie get their medals. Again, people cheered their approval.

Sandy's fiancee, Jerry, on the left above, gave a heart-felt blessing and we were allowed to eat. I didn't take photos of the food. I probably should have. It was amazing. There was a spinach salad, rice, rolls, asparagus, salmon and thin sliced roast beef. The best part was the mashed potato bar.

You could get regular or sweet potato mash and there were 8 different toppings to put on your potatoes. When Carole was telling me of the menu, she kept coming back to "and they have a mashed potato bar, mom". Yes, this was a highlight of an already great menu.

Once most people had finished eating, it was time for the first dance.

They danced to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. This song seemed to exemplify their relationship. In the previous event, there was a small battle over the first dance song. The compromise was "At Last" by Etta James. It's not a bad first dance song, but Carole said she regretted that they couldn't agree on one song that meant something to each of them; that they had to 'settle' for a song they could agree on. This was never an issue with Larry. Active in the planning of the wedding and not leaving every decision to Carole only to pick it apart later, he enthusiastically embraced this song. It talks about finding someone in the most improbable of circumstances, how love shows up "right where we are". Like the dress and the venue and the weather, it was just another bit of perfection in an otherwise perfect day.

There was quite a bit of dancing including a line dance. I watched this done at the previous event. It includes the line, "How low can you go?"

No. I did not participate in this.

Half-way through the dancing, it was time to cut the cake.

It was an amazing cake.

I think that's ganache with fondant shaped into Star Wars ships. Carole said when they went to the bakery for their tasting, they took along some photos of Star Wars cakes they had seen on the internet. They described what they wanted and one of the bakers sketched as they talked. The first design is what they liked best.

Each layer was different.

The piece I got had raspberry filling. The big bottom layer was Boston Creme Pie.

I forget the name of the bakery. I asked if they set aside the top layer, as is custom. Carole laughed. "Nope. It was eaten. The bakery gave us a coupon to come back in for our first anniversary to get a small cake. Their reason is 'who wants to eat a cake that's been frozen for a year'?" Yeah, that's a sound reason.

Once the cake was cut, it was back to the dance floor.  Toward the end of the evening, the DJ cranked up "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Well, that's quite the unconventional music for a dance, but we were urged to come out on the dance floor and sing along. We made a "U" shape and the DJ handed the microphone to Carole. She sang a couple of lines and passed it to Larry.

Everyone took their turn singing one or two lines of this well-known rock anthem.  In the middle, there is a Brian May guitar solo. That was Larry's cue.

He and usher Jeff engaged in an epic air guitar "battle". We declared it a tie, which was the honorable thing to do.

After this, people started to go home. The event was winding down. One of the last group things we did before it was time to pack everything up was to make a big circle and sing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".

We even got my mom out there. I don't remember if she sang along, but that wasn't really the point. The point was that we were all together, arm-in-arm, singing loudly and celebrating Carole and Larry's marriage.

After this, there were a couple more songs and we began to clean up the hall. There were "Goodbyes" and hugs and a few final quick photos.

Wedding gifts went one way. Mom and I took some of the things which needed to be returned to the florist as well as quite a few things from the dressing room and Carole's flowers. Then we headed back to the house for a well deserved night's sleep.

Funny story:  The top candle in the big center glass at our table was not lit when we sat down. This bothered Becky so much, she fished it out of the container, lit it by holding it over one of the side candles and dropped it back into the water. I have to admit, having that candle lighted did add to the decoration on the table.

It had been a wonderful day.

Beverage:  Ginger Ale


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