Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: Cake, Bouquet, and Goodbye

We had a couple of breaks in the dancing to keep things interesting.  The first was for cake.

Our cake was fantastic on its own, but our cake cutting was pretty fucking badass.

Yes, we cut our cake with a sword.  And not just any sword:  we used Sting, Bilbo/Frodo's sword from The Lord of the Rings.   Yes, we are that cool.  What can I say, my husband's a big LotR fan.  Besides, how many other couples can say that their cake cutter glows in the presence of orcs?

(Side note:  that sword was given to Daniel by his ex-girlfriend.  Totally not awkward at all.)

We proceeded to cut our cake in a cake-cutting fashion, but we hit a little snag.  Literally.  When we tried to cut the cake, the tip of the sword got caught on the cardboard under the top layer, ensuing in the most difficult time a sword has ever had in cutting a cake and hilarity for our guests.

Photos by Stephen Cheng as usual.

 "Finally!  We got it!  Oooo, cake, yum!"

We did eventually figure out the cardboard difficulty and managed to get the sword through the cake.

We had agreed not smash it in each other's faces, but it was a difficult thing to be sure.  To make up for it, we smashed a piece of the top layer onto each other when we got back from our honeymoon.  It was quite satisfying, I must say, although losing bits to the floor was difficult to deal with.  Yes, it was that good (and yes, I am that obsessed with cake).

Mmmm, cake!

Our second dancing interruption was for the bouquet toss.  I know a lot of people don't do them these days, and I kind of understand why, but I also kind of don't.  Neither of us wanted to do a garter toss.  Why that offends me while the bouquet toss doesn't, I do not know (though it may have something to do with Daniel hunting up my dress in front of 80 people.  Just saying).  Nonetheless, I definitely am pro-bouqet toss myself.  Of course, I'm also the first of my friends to get married, know.

In any case, we did it.

Soooo, see how the bouquet is hitting the rafters in that last picture?  Yeah, the ceiling was a little closer than I thought.  I had been so trying to avoid this too!  Oh well.  Daniel's cousin "caught" it, and their family immediately started making fun of her boyfriend who wasn't even there.

Me with Our Bouquet Catcher and Her Sisters

Then there was more dancing, and before we knew it, the last song was playing.

Everyone says your wedding day goes by super fast, so I was prepared for it, but I was still a little sad at how quickly it did go.  Of course, it wouldn't have been quite as quick if our car keys hadn't been stolen, but it was still amazingly fast.  My one real regret for the day is that I didn't have time to talk to people much.  Daniel did, and I'm glad he managed it.  I was too busy dancing.  It really would have been nice to have that extra cocktail hour we had planned on for that.  We got to talk to people at the dinner the night before and at brunch the day after, but not everyone came to those, and I do wish I had been able to visit more with those who didn't.

But I did make up for that a little at the end of the night.

We had to do our own clean up.  The Guayma's people were good enough to help us take down the lights we had strung across the ceiling, but making sure we had everything else was up to us.  We hadn't really gotten around to making a plan for that, so at the end of the night, I was scrambling around trying to help pack everything up and was totally thwarted by every single person there coming to say goodbye to us.

But I didn't mind.  It was nice to get to talk to everybody (who was left), however briefly.  I was utterly exhausted but also elated.  It had been a very, very good day, and I am still gratified by how happy Daniel and I were with the whole affair.  Not everything went perfectly, but it was still a fantastic wedding as the guests proceeded to assure us for the next several months.

When we finally left Guayma's, we were met by this:

It was beautiful and so serene.

A few people tried to get a picture of Daniel and me in front of the water, but there wasn't enough light.  Too bad.  But it was a moment of such beauty that it could not be captured on film anyway.

Finally, the wedding was done, and it was time to retire to our jacuzzi tub for some well-earned relaxation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: Gotta Dance!

Honestly, our first dance was not all I had hoped for.  I had this whole grand plan in which we would have a choreographed dance to "Bohemian Rhapsody" with props and everything.  I had half of it choreographed when Daniel backed out.  Though I've been dancing since the age of three, he is much less comfortable, and doing the whole big number was too much.

Can't argue with that.  I was disappointed, but I certainly wasn't going to blame him for being nervous.

But I had pictured at least doing some simple dance moves.  We've done that before.  At Andrew and Nicole's wedding, we helped open the first dance with a waltz, so we do know a little bit about couple dancing.

Nevertheless, when the time came, Daniel said he wanted this dance to be just for us.  Well, honestly, it ended up being more for him than for us.  We mostly did the sway thing, ironically because we danced much more effectively later.  I knew he'd be upset if I didn't let him lead, so I went with it, but I was disappointed that it wasn't a more lively dance, especially considering what I had originally envisioned.

We should have talked about it.  We probably should have practiced too.  I thought about doing so briefly, but it did not occur to me that our dance would be quite so blah.  But oh well, can't do anything about it now.

We still had a good time with it.  After incorporating Lion King and Indiana Jones songs into our wedding, I'm sure having "At Last" as our first dance song seems a queerly conventional choice.  However, it's the closest thing we have to "our song," so there really was nothing to be done about it.

Photos by Stephen Cheng except for the first which was taken by our friend Jorge.

The rest of the night's dancing was much more agreeable for me.  I literally danced to every song.  There were a few times that I tried to go sit down (like to eat our glorious cake and desserts), but since we had done the song list ourselves (and had to cut out all of the remaining fluff and then some due to time constraints), I loved all the songs and just could not let them go by undanced.

Rocking out with My Mom

Daniel and I danced together enough to be satisfactory to both of us, but I spent most of the time dancing with my friends.  Before, I was afraid Daniel would abandon me, and I wouldn't get to dance enough, but I hadn't thought about the fact that pretty much everyone I knew was going to be there.  And the Bride ain't exactly hard to spot.  It didn't matter that Daniel and I danced together probably less than half the time because I had my friends.

And oh the things I made them do!  I had forced a number of group dances into the playlist, including the "Macarena," "YMCA," and the "Cha Cha Slide."  I still don't really understand why Daniel dislikes the "Cha Cha Slide," but I'm glad we put them all in because those were the songs that got EVERYONE onto the dance floor (and by everyone, I mean the cool people...a group my husband cannot claim to be part of).

The "Macarena" was hilarious.  I got out in front of everyone, facing them, and lead the whole thing.  It was weird, but it was kind of cool too, even if the song did go on for way too long.

There was one dance in which literally everyone participated:  the Hora.  For those of you who do not exclusively date Jews, the Hora is a traditional Jewish dance performed at big events like weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.  Basically, all you need to know about it is that I got lifted up in a chair.  Daniel wanted his aunts to teach everyone how to do the dance before we started, but they didn't quite get the message (they probably should have talked about that ahead of time too) and just started doing it, so we all just sort of caught on.  Oh, and did I mention I got lifted up in a chair?

We did it a little differently, but his will give you the basic idea:

 "OK, don't drop me now!"

 "No, seriously, no dropping the Nicole!"

 "OK, I think I'm safe.  Hey, this is fun!"

 Take a gander at Daniel's uncle's face.  Apparently, he needs to go to more Jewish weddings, get in a bit of exercise.

 My mom was hilarious the whole time she was up in that chair.  She's such a ham!  We got AMAZING pictures of her and Daniel's dad.

The Hora was a ton of fun, and I'm really glad we got to include it in our wedding.

On the other end of the spectrum was the father/daughter dance.  While it was just the two of us, it was deeply meaningful to me, especially because my dad does not dance.  I've known what song I wanted to use for YEARS, and it's definitely a heart-wrencher.  I thought for sure one of us would cry, but we didn't.  Still, you can tell from the pictures that it meant a lot to both of us.

 I didn't want to put my dad through five whole minutes of dancing just the two of us, so we had my mom and Daniel join in about halfway through.  I made sure a number of times that Daniel was OK with this since his mom wasn't there, but he assured me he was, and he and my mom seem to have a grand old time.

My dad and I have never really communicated as well as my mom and I.  We still have a really good relationship, but my mom was always the one who asked all the questions while my dad hesitated to make me repeat everything.  Plus, he was gone a lot when I was growing up, and there's always been a slight (slight) tension between us because of it.  Though he never exactly said anything, I know he felt a little bit like he was losing me as the wedding approached, and I'm glad we had the dance to sort of visually confirm that our love for each other wasn't going anywhere just because I was getting married.

There was one more dance of significance that night, and it was quite an accident that it became noteworthy.  My Maid of Honor and I had not planned on performing a duet.  I should explain.  Seema's family had a lot of massive Indian parties when we were in high school that I attended.  I LOVED them!  Indian parties kick American parties in their oversized booties.  Anyway.  There was one song that they always played from some Bollywood film that I especially enjoyed, and I wanted to include it in the wedding.  Naturally, I expected some people to be hesitant to dance to a song that they not only had never heard but also was sung in a language they could not understand.  However, I did not anticipate that EVERYONE would be too chicken to get out there.

So Seema and I ended up dancing the entire song by ourselves.  And it is not a short song.  Now, I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to Indian dance.  I know a couple of moves, particularly for this song, that I picked up at parties, but that's all.  However, I have been dancing for 13 years, so I catch on quickly.  Seema on the other hand has done multiple types of Indian dancing professionally.  So as the song was playing, I pretty much copied everything she did.  The result was that almost everyone at the wedding thought we had choreographed the dance and planned on performing it as a duet.


This was absolutely the most pleasant surprise of the evening.  After we finished, everyone came and asked how long we had been practicing.  My response?  "Well, we started dancing five minutes ago, so...."

Daniel's aunt happened to get it on video, so you can decide for yourself whether it looks like we planned it or not.

P.S.  Doing this dance in that dress was NOT EASY!

If you're curious, this is what the official dance looks like:

It was a great moment for my best friend and me.  Plus, getting more multicultural stuff in is always fun.

And that about wraps up dancing for the evening.  I know, I know, you can't wait for more, how could I make this post so short?  Yeah, dancing is awesome.  I had SO MUCH FUN with all of the dancing we did that night.  Truly, my wedding was the best dance party I have ever been to.  I mean really, how could it not be when all of the music was tailored toward us AND everyone we love was dancing with us?

Was dancing important to your wedding?  Did you include any out of the ordinary songs?  Anyone else out there actually like the "Macarena?"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: The Reception Begins

Finally...finally...we got to the reception.

I thought a lot about how to enter.  I had seen a lot of couples on enter to songs like the "Emperor's March" from Star Wars and was determined to do something as cool.  Daniel was totally on board.  We had several candidates in our short list, but in the end, there was only one real contender:

Aside from the fact (yes, fact) that Indiana Jones is awesome, I have strong emotional attachments to the "Raiders Theme" from the Indy ride at Disneyland and from this:

Yeah, you're going to have it stuck in your head for at least a week now.  Sorry.  Anyway, Daniel has strong emotional attachments to Indy as well, and it's just such a perfect entrance song.  Anyway.

Photos by Stephen Cheng.

We started eating straight away because we were so late.  Thank goodness we already had chips, salsa, and guacamole on the tables!

Trying to catch up to our schedule, we went into the toasts pretty quickly.

I won't bore you too much with things that people said about us that were super awesome but that you wouldn't understand.  I do, however, feel inclined to share a bit about my maid of honor's toast.  You will need some back story to understand it.  As you all know, I am completely obsessed with Disneyland.  As such, I have a tendency to gravitate towards other such inflicted people as well as convert others to the cause of Disneymania.  Seema, my MOH, was one such convert, and I became friends with her friend Alison because of our shared love of Disney and Harry Potter.  Together, we were the Disney Dorks.  We had our own princess club:  I was Ariel, Alison was Belle, and Seema was Jasmine.  By the way, we were in high school when all this started.  Yes, we're that cool.

Anywho, Seema's toast relied heavily upon this obsession, but her toast more than the others was well-written, very personal, but still accessible, and very well put together, I thought.

Reading toasts is boring, so you can watch instead.

I loved all of the toasts.  They all meant a lot to me, especially those given by my family, as I'm sure Daniel's family's were to him.  I'm so glad we got them on video though because I really don't remember what most people said.  I just know that in the moment, I felt very loved.

 My Brother's Toast Produced This

 My Husband's and My Reactions to Bad Jokes

By the way, advice to future toast givers:  remember to take your glass with you!  Almost everyone forgot theirs.

As soon as dinner came to a close, it was time to move back the tables and break out the dancing!  We made use of the time that the tables and chairs in the center were being moved to go over our Daniel and Nicole quiz.

Care to take a guess?  This was our quiz:

Answers at the Bottom

No one got all of them right.  We made it pretty hard so that we wouldn't have too many winners.  However, Daniel's younger cousin changed his answers as we were giving out the right ones so that he would win.  I was like, "Um, no," but their grandma vouched for him, and for some reason, Daniel thought that was good enough, so he "won."  Ironic, because he's still in high school, and the prize was a bottle of Jamaican rum in honor of our honeymoon.  His parents have it locked away until he turns 21.


We also took advantage of the open space to get some group pictures before the dancing began.

 The BookWorlders Being Bookish

My Best Friends from College

The boys snuck Daniel away for forced tequila shots...

 ...while I finally got some shots with my flower girl.

And then, it was time to dance!

Quiz Answers:  e, d, d, a, true (barely)

Which toasts were most meaningful to you?  Why?  Did you do anything out of the ordinary at your reception?

Classy Wedding by the Sea