(All wedding photos in this post, unless otherwise indicated, by Matthew Szlakowicz)
While the guests went off to the cocktail hour, IC, our families and I hung back for the pictures. I'm not sure how other brides do it but we didn't see any other way. We were really sad about this not only because we wanted to hang out with our friends and family but also because the food we picked for the cocktail hour sounded so good (Tuna tataki with seaweed salad, Bruschetta with roasted tomato and goat cheese, Spicy beef skewers, Mini steak sandwiches, Brie-n-pear puffs, these are like my favorite foods in the world). The restaurant staff brought us over a few trays of food but I don't remember eating any of it. Apparently the bride has to be in most of the shots. The sun was setting and it was beautiful but I swear we're discussing hors d'oeuvres in these shots:
Well, maybe not in this one:
And then we got to the cocktail hour and all the Israelis in the house immediately began the Hebrew singing and clapping and we had to be like "not yet, not yet, but soon" because we had planned to do the Hebrew dancing right after our first song.
There was about 5 minutes left in the cocktail hour when we got there and we didn't have any of the food which we weren't sad about at the time but are totally sad about today after everyone told us the food was just amazing.
About two days before we left for T&C, we still had not figured out place cards. I've mentioned on this site before that I am not at all creative. I'm mostly practical and, in a pinch, I could tell a good story. But inspired by the bridal blogosphere and, let's face it, Martha Stewart, I came up with the idea to make luggage tags as a combination seating card/favor. I got the tags in Chinatown and bought printable business cards at Staples to stuff into them. Unfortunately, the business cards were too long so the night before we left for the wedding IC and I could be seen on our couch cutting the cards to size and stuffing them in the tags. IC actually came up with the additional creative idea to use a Hebrew-style font on the place cards as a nod to our Judaism and his being born in Israel. The font is calledBen-Zion and we got it on my favorite font website, Da Font. Our wedding planner came up with the idea to hang them on branches and have the table number as a sticker on the back:
This photo from Lauren:
What's funny is that the Hebrew-speaking guests had a really hard time reading the cards because it's Hebrew letters spelling out English words. We hear there was some fun confusion.
Everybody went to sit down and we hung back so we could be "introduced". I didn't really get this concept, because everyone had already seen us at the cocktail hour, but apparently it's what's done. We came in through the corner door and smiled while everyone applauded:
Then we made them all stand back up and watch our first dance. As I blogged about previously, we chose "First day of my life" by Bright Eyes. It fit really well and we enjoyed dancing to it. I had taken the shrug off my dress but had kept the veil on:
And then, oh then, we danced the hora. If you've never been to a Jewish wedding, it goes something like this: people form a circle, hold hands and dance:
The couple is in the middle for a little while:
But then it's sort of a free for all:
The couple link arms and dance around:
Then, people grab the couple by the arm and spin them round and round:
It's actually really fun. Until, and I can't even imagine how someone hundreds of years ago came up with this wacky tradition, they put you on chairs, hoist you in the air and you hang on for your dear life:
Somebody was not holding me straight and I thought I was going to fall off:
But they straightened me out and we survived. Here's a short video of our chair hoist, taken by our friends Vadim+Angela. I like the part where I reach out my hand to my husband and he shakes his head no because he's clutching onto his chair.
Finally it was time to sit down to dinner. At this point, I have to be negative for a minute. I hated the dj. I gave him 6 hours worth of music and asked him not to deviate from that. So when "Everything I do" by Bryan freaking Adams was playing as we sat down to dinner, I was considerably unhappy. "What the hell is this?" I asked IC. I had worked so hard on the playlist to *not* have to hear crap like Bryan Adams. "Do you want me to tell him to turn it off?" IC asked, figuring, I'm sure, that I'd say no. YES, ask him to turn it off. He's lucky it was IC that went over to him instead of me. I'm from Brooklyn, in case y'all don't know. Anyway, the dj sucked. He played the same 3 songs over and over during food time. When we complained to the wedding planner (who had recommended him as some "celebrity" dj on Provo) she said I had not given him enough slow songs. UM, I had given him nearly 2 hours of slow songs. I understood what had happened. I had initially provided him with a list of songs I wanted played. On it, there were only about 10 slow songs. But when I gave him my ipod, several days before the wedding, there was much, much more music on it, as he and I had discussed. He just did not put any effort into looking at what I had given him. You'd think for like $300 an hour he'd do more than just push play on the ipod. You'd think wrong.
ANYWAY, there was vodka on the table and that made everything better. It's a Russian thing, to have a bottle and shot glasses at each table and Bagatelle was good about accommodating us. This photo by Sharon M.:
I hear these were a big hit.
Also customary, we circulated and did shots with the various tables. Pic by Cora:
The food was so good! Here's a pic of our menu by Lauren:
IC and I got one of everything and shared as we do at any other dinner. Everything was great! I particularly loved the mahi-mahi ceviche, IC particularly liked the risotto and the big pieces of shaved parmesan on it. I normally am not into Ceasar salad but loved Bagatelle's version.
Another big hit was our cake topper. IC and I are both poker players and we spent many years playing one-on-one poker together before we began dating. When I suggested to IC we have a cake topper of us playing poker, he was lukewarm to the idea. He gave me a budget of $100 and really didn't care if it happened or not. It was made by Steve at Top-o-the-Cake and it was amazing! IC loved it! It was one of his favorite details of the wedding. He took such good care of that topper and wouldn't let anyone touch it lest they leave finger prints on it--and this was the day after the wedding! IC is doing a chip trick in the topper, I think that's why he loves it so much. Cake-topper pics by Cora:
I love my as-in-real-life red hair, the red bottom on my shoe and the fact that I'm pushing my chips in:
The actual wedding cake was yet another big hit. Made by Diane Guess of Cakes to Di For, many people told us it was the best wedding cake they'd ever had. Pics back to being by Matthew Szlakowicz:
Here's another video by Vadim and Angela of us cutting the cake and me nodding in approval, partly because the cake was delicious and partly because I had told IC that he better not shove the cake in my face as has, for some reason, become customary and he kept me guessing until the last second whether or not he would.
IC's brother Ron and my best friend Laurie gave really beautiful, thoughtful toasts:
I danced with my father to "There for you" by Damian Marley (and asked my brother to invite my mom to the dance floor and join us to include her) and IC danced to "Oof Gazal", a really pretty Hebrew song, with his mom and had his sister join with their father and his brother join with their aunt. I liked that we did that, I never understood the leaving out of the parent based on gender.
We did some more dancing and then before we knew it the reception was over and we were being moved to the beach for the after-party s'mores bonfire. We gave people some time to change into casual clothes and then we all headed to the beach. Some people were too in love with their white linen suit to change:
No one seems to have gotten a photo of the set-up but they had marshmallows and chocolate covered graham crackers for people to make their own s'mores.
Similar to the welcome bbq, people lounged on towels on the sand and on the round couches:
There was more guitar and violin playing
Eventually IC and I peeled away from the group and called it a very, very long day. We had had a great time at our wedding and, ultimately, lazy DJs and pervy rabbis couldn't affect that. We had been surrounded by people who we love, and people who love us. They had watched us promise to be together forever, then ate great food and danced and had a great time. We were so lucky to have our wedding in such a beautiful place but even luckier to have it around such amazing people.
The day after the wedding, I trashed my dress. Photos and story about that coming up. I also plan to write up our honeymoon on Parrot Cay so stay tuned!