Wedding Weekend Part 2!
Both our ceremony and reception were held at the IU Auditorium. The space was beautiful and we didn't do much to decorate it, except to buy flowers for the centerpieces. Also, the Auditorium staff come with the venue, so we had student workers we called minions who could do our bidding. This venue was the most expensive we looked at, but we felt we got the most service and value from it, and I'm so glad the wedding was there.
Our professional wedding photos won't be available for at least another month, so all the photos I have from the wedding day are from my friends and their phones. So thank you, friends! I took the liberty of taking your pictures.
After we finished up at the salon, the Fellowship of the Ring arrived at the Auditorium and used a crane to lower my dress onto me. John and I each wore a few pieces of significant jewelry/accessories. I'll have better pictures of them later:
I wore his grandmother's pearl bracelet, my mother's pearl necklace, and my grandmother's watch.
He wore his grandfather's heirloom watch that's been passed down to him, and cufflinks we had made for the event with maps of both London and Bloomington, and hearts over each city.
We met our photographer and took a ton of photos inside the building, since the rain poured all afternoon.
In between the photos and the ceremony we killed time in the preparation rooms upstairs. For some reason I think of this room and the time there more than I think of the ceremony and reception when I remember that day. It's sort of the same way dressing rooms or green rooms stand out in my mind when I think of past performances. I was grateful to have somewhere to chill with people I knew would keep things fun and relaxing. We munched on leftover snacks and donuts from the salon while trying to stay off our feet.
Since my closest friends whose pictures I'm using were all in the wedding, I don't have any ceremony pics at this point. But I'll just say a few things about it:
I was grateful that just before she walked down the aisle, Carla offered to get me a cab and take me to Nick's, in case I changed my mind. And I'm glad she had our wedding bands, since I knew she would keep them safe.
I was grateful that Sarah prepared such beautiful music for the ceremony (prelude, processional, recessional) and that she could both play for us and support us as a bridesmaid, on top of everything else she had already done for us that weekend.
I'm glad we could have friends from so many different stages in our lives, including John's sister Morgan, who I'm happy to count as a friend and a new family member.
I'm grateful to Dave and Lauren for their heart felt readings.
I'm especially grateful to Kira who was also able to balance her duties as minister and bridesmaid. I wasn't sure initially how it would work for her to both be in and officiate the wedding, but it was perfect. Her homily was touching and I had to look away from John during it so I didn't get too emotional.
In fact, I had to do that throughout the ceremony - I'm not a pretty crier, and I didn't want to look like Rudolph in the pictures.
I'm grateful that I was able to get through the vows without a hacking cough, even though it did return during the final prayers and the recessional. Oh well. I'm glad I didn't have a fever that day, even if I sounded awfully sick.
I'm grateful that so many of my relatives could be there (the photo below shows about half), and that my Dad could walk me down the aisle. It was amazing to look out and see so many people I love in the same place. Our family is pretty spread out that this rarely happens.
After the ceremony, we took photos with family and then returned to the prep room to sign our marriage license and wait for the reception to begin.
We took advantage of this last alone time with our bridal party to take some individual pictures with each of them.
Then it was time to head to the reception. John and I had very few details in mind when we began to plan the wedding, and that made some initial conversations with KRC Catering kind of difficult.
"What kind of food do you want to serve?
"Um...we don't know."
"Well what kind of food do you like?"
"Um...all of it?"
And the same with the flowers.
"What's a freesia? Well I'm sure it's lovely, just make the centerpieces look nice." We worked with White Orchid Floral Studio, who do not charge for delivery or vases. Also, the Auditorium let us store the vases in the building until Monday when we could pick them up and return them to the florist. I never even saw the florist on the wedding day, and I didn't need to - she handled everything beautifully.
As far as food, we settled on an appetizer buffet with a wide variety: a mac n' cheese bar (yes, you read that right) with assorted toppings, pulled pork sliders, corn bread, mini quiche, caprese skewers, and then a whole other section of Thai food, including some vegan choices. And cupcakes. When we went to taste our food, I was really excited by how much I liked everything and vowed that I wouldn't be the bride who forgets to eat at her own wedding. Unfortunately, my various illnesses (and probably stress) took my appetite away for the whole weekend. I forced down that mac n' cheese and made myself eat a few other things. Everything I ate was delicious, and I'll say that the cupcakes at the wedding were much better than the sample ones we had months earlier. Lots of people complimented the mac n' cheese bar, and one guest told me it was the best wedding food ever.
Read this next bit not as a complaint, but rather, a piece of wedding etiquette that I picked up during my own wedding. I know the guests traveled to be here, and that they want to take a photo, in case they don't see the professional ones. But during eating part of the reception, let the couple eat. What felt like a dozen times, people came over to take our photo while we were eating dinner. I didn't want to be rude, but I also didn't want to have a photo of me at the reception with half a cupcake and some mac n' cheese hanging out of my mouth.
Before the food was served, our fantastic DJ, Dan Coleman, introduced us, and then handed over the mic so we could introduce our wedding party while "Mahna Mahna" played. We used the cover version of the song by The Fray, from the Green Album - a collection of covers of various Muppet songs. We considered various funny and dramatic songs for the Fellowship's entrance, but ultimately we decided that Mahna Mahna had the right amount of silliness.
Dan the DJ was maybe my favorite vendor of them all (though it's hard to choose, everyone worked so hard and did a great job). With very little instruction, I felt like he played one song after another that I loved and that kept people dancing. I also thought it was classy that he went home after the sound check and put on a suit - not necessary, but classy.
I was disappointed that my voice was so shot at this point, as I'd hoped to make up funny introductions for all of the bridal party members. It was another one of those moments where I just had to go with the flow and rely on John to make funny comments about them - something, as you know, he was more than able to do.
I also told everyone then that each centerpiece had at least two photos from previous family weddings, so they should walk around and look for themselves around the room. I was really happy with that centerpiece idea, and it was fun for me to look through all the family photos as we put them together.
We had some fun toasts from Dave and Lauren, and a mad-lib style toast from my brother, and then came the first dance.
Over a year earlier, Mark bought himself a ukulele and started playing different pop songs on it, followed by Christmas songs, and then pretty much whatever else he felt like. At one point when John and I were visiting him, Mark was standing in the kitchen playing the uke and I knew immediately that we should have him play for our first dance. John and I had trouble choosing a song anyways, and we felt this would be especially personal.
What with all the sickness and business of planning in the weeks before the wedding, John and I never got around to choreographing anything fun or cute for the first dance. But it didn't matter. Mark's performance of "God Only Knows" was excellent and it brought a kind of intimacy that would have made a funny or showy dance out of place. Also by this point in the evening I was so tired and emotional that I was glad not to have to remember anything else. It was a very touching part of the wedding.
Once the first dance was done, we told the Fellowship to start dancing so that more people would want to come dance. I expect a lot of hilarious professional pictures from the dancing because my friends - a large group of performing arts majors (and Lauren) - danced their hearts out in the best and funniest way.
We also were lucky enough to have some friends from far away with us - Matthew and Anders, and Jessica (below) and Alex made the trip from Canada and we were so happy that they could be there. Our friends Alex and Ali made the trip from Texas, and two of my best friends in Indianapolis made the (shorter, but still significant) drive .
After the reception, we piled about 11 people into cabs and headed downtown for a little pizza and beer after party at Max's Place. When people ask me what the hardest part of the wedding planning was, I often think of the logistics of how to get everyone from the hair salon to the Auditorium and then to the after party. I was glad afterward that I wouldn't be asked for a while, "We have ____ people, how many cabs is that?"
Unfortunately for me, the jam band on the schedule for the night had not finished playing, and while they were good (if you're into that kind of thing), it was exactly the kind of music and volume that I knew would give me a raging headache. We sat outside until just before they stopped playing, then came inside for pizza.
Why is John sitting on Joe's lap here? No idea. I must have been inside while that happened.
Max's Place was very accommodating and happy to have a large crowd so late at night.
Eventually we made it back to the hotel, where John and I joined all my cousins on my mom's side in their hotel room, where they were just hanging out and drinking beer. I had basically no voice left at that point, but it's always fun to hang out with them and tell stories about our parents, or remember funny things that happened when we were kids.
The next morning, we checked out of the hotel headed over to my parents' house where everyone who was still in town was showing up slowly for brunch. My mom and my Aunt Becky put together a great spread of fruit salad, casseroles, and pastries. It was nice to have one last chance for everyone to be together and to be casual after the wedding. I was also happy to have my Aunt Clare and her sons, Corey and Zach, stay an extra few days so that we could hang out with them a bit more. They live in Seattle, so we rarely saw each other while I was growing up. John's grandfather also stayed for a few days so we got to spend more time with him. Somehow he and my Aunt Clare were a lovely combination of people to spend time with.
All in all, we agreed that the wedding was a success. Everyone seemed to have fun, we spent time with people we love, those who live near us and those who live too far away, and we got to catch up with some friends and relatives who we haven't seen in quite a while. And we remembered good friends and family members who weren't able to be with us. There are things that I wish had been different, of course - I wish I hadn't lost my voice, that my mom hadn't been diagnosed with pneumonia the week of the wedding, that it hadn't rained constantly for the two weeks surrounding the wedding. But I'd rather not focus on that. As they say at apracticalwedding.com, if two people getting married by the end of the event, then the wedding is a success.
John and I are happy. We're healthy. We live in the same place. And we have awesome people.