Kicking back into high gear following a successful rehearsal, Mr. PaC and I sped home to grab our hotel bags and wedding clothes before the fast-approaching rehearsal dinner at Iron Hill Brewery. Things felt under control, but time was now an issue. We still had to check-in, shower, get ready, pack up the gifts/guestbook/slideshow, and, ideally, make it to the rehearsal dinner first so I could set up, relax and greet everyone as they arrived.
This did not happen.
Obligatory pre-dinner photo in hotel lobby
We were ready in record time, yet still running late to be early. The elevator doors opened to reveal a sizable group of guests just chilling in the lobby. Not everyone had the same sense of urgency.
Lobby-lollygagging with my cousin J and sister L
The shuttle to the rehearsal dinner was idling out front, so 1) where was everyone else and 2) why wasn’t anyone on the shuttle? Judging from my expression above, I’m about to start herding some cats. (I am totally adding “cat herder” to my list of skills.)
Let’s get this show on the road, please!
Forgetting the rest of the city had a work day, I cursed the unusually awful rush hour traffic. We sat unmoving on the interstate. Compounding the situation, our exit was backed up. I was perplexed and trying not to work myself up. At least our guests were caught in the same mess, hopefully behind us. After arriving at Iron Hill and finding nary a parking spot, we realized the local minor league baseball team was sharing our special night. They and their 5,000+ fans.
Mr. PaC and I made three frenzied trips from the car (way, way out in the parking lot) to the private dining room on the second floor. Half of our 45 guests had already arrived and were happily distracted by appetizers and cocktails. This is where it went downhill for me. Carting all that crap upstairs without help when we were already late to our own party aaaaaaaaaand missing out on happy hour was the straw that broke the camel’s back. (Now that I re-read that it sounds like there may have been multiple straws dog-piling me.) We had just dropped the last of the bags into the room and I was preparing a strategic retreat to the bathroom where I’d compose myself and re-enter as Happy Bride.
Instead, one of Mr. PaC’s cousins caught my elbow to say hi, recognized the panic in my eyes, and sympathetically told me to relax and breathe. This had the intended effect, but I was already on the verge of frustrated tears. I just wanted a moment alone. My eyes welled up, betraying me. I mumbled something about it all being too much too quickly. Eye contact was out of the question. We stood silently for a moment longer until the urge to let it all out subsided.
My family, my anchor, was on the other side of the room. I fell into hugs with my parents and slowly my world stopped spinning. Food in my belly and a drink in hand does wonders for stress. (Hint: No one bugs you much when you’re eating.)
Grandpa with two-thirds of his grandchildren: sister L, cousin J, myself, and cousin S
All smiles from our reader and MOH.
The silly comes out…rocking the cupcake menu, Run-D.M.C.-style.
I spy with my little eye…a little teaser hidden in the photo below. Look a little closer. Do you see it? What has the interest of our guests on the far left?
The rumors must be true…it’s slideshow time!!! Travel back to 1981 (or earlier in the case of Mr. PaC) and watch as we rapid-age from newborns to adults in a mere eight minutes. (For the uninitiated, I’ll be the chubby one with the dimples and a full head of dark hair.)
Did you see the fanny packs and colorblock clothes? Enough of that! After everyone had a turn watching the slideshow and thumbing through the guestbook, it was time for gifts. We opted for practical gifts the recipient would use and think of the wedding. My two ladies were gifted their wedding day earrings and a modern white bud vase.
My parents and Mr. PaC’s mom received platters, serving bowls and pitchers from Macy’s. (Yay gift cards and a 10% registry discount!)
Mr. PaC’s dad and step-mom love to host gourmet dinners, so they received tapas serving sets. Maybe we can use them next time we’re over?
“How did we know you’d like this sort of thing?!”
But I have to say, the groomsmens’ gifts that Mr. PaC thought up were my favorite! Half the fun was knowing what they were opening and waiting for their reaction.
Laughing in anticipation…
Bewildered amusement at the second gift!
Mr. PaC’s first gift to them was bottle of nice liquor that he followed up with the “Little Whizzer” (a novelty drink dispenser)—a nod to their grandfather’s sense of humor.
The night flew by. The only timekeeper was the distance between my increasingly common yawns. This bride was beat! The morning’s drama felt like days ago. Our proud mother posed with us for a few last photos.
Still have the dimples!
Our photo session was interrupted by the sound of percussive booms, bangs, and wailing whistles. I raced to the window like a kid at Christmas and saw what I’d always dreamed of, but was never in the budget – fireworks! The ballpark had redeemed itself with what I considered to be our own fireworks display.
What a grand closing to the rehearsal evening!
(photo credits: various family members)
Catch up on our PaC recaps!