So in this Wedding Woes & Wonders series, I skipped right from making the centerpieces to standing triumphantly on the other side of the whole damn thing.

That’s right. It’s over! It happened! It has now become an extremely fond memory instead of a pending, distant, anxiety-producing event!

WHOOOOOOO!!!

And not only did it happen, it was awesome. I had so much fun. My guests had fun. The main objective of gather people in one spot HAPPENED, and with SUCCESS!!

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Our venue, Vermilion on the Lake, prior to the festivities. Please note the cloud lamps, which hover on the fine line between Pintrest Fail and Functional Decoration, and the accompanying planes.

It was so fun that I bust my foot open and bled all over my dress and didn’t even notice until five hours later.

It was so fun that time went by in a frightening vortex whirlwind and suddenly it was over.

It was so fun that by the time I got home, I realized I hadn’t taken a single picture with my father, or my wedding party (oops!).

It was so fun that I didn’t eat a single bite of food–and only ate some of my cake because a friend snagged me a piece.

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Originally three-tiered, we had to move the top tier to the side due an unfortunate leak in the dulce de leche. This meant we had on offer a regular cake, a vegan cake, and a leaking cake.

It was so fun that Jorge didn’t eat any food OR cake at ALL! (How sad! He really missed out.)

I’ll stop there. Do we get the gist yet that it was fun?

That said, nothing went according to schedule. The meticulous “flight plan” I had laid out (according to the travel theme) didn’t go down as I thought it would. Our dinner was almost two hours behind schedule, due to some problems beyond our control. Despite that, we still ate at a decent time–around 7:30PM–and the food was DELICIOUS, and WAY better than the regular catering fare found at most reception events, letmetellya. My best friend’s husband and my buddy, Matt, was in charge of the dinner, and he finagled a wild success despite all the setbacks that might have had any other chef crying limply in the corner.

Being behind schedule, however, meant that my previously-envisioned “down time” during eating never occurred–which meant that I nixed the slide show presentation I’d been saving to regale our guests with during dinner. That was fine, because eating later meant that the band began playing once people had eaten. And live music is always the best answer for anything!

We did manage to fit in our surprise passport game, which was super fun and a great distraction as people waited for dinner. The game didn’t appear on our flight plan, so people checking the timeline probably wondered why almost nothing on the itinerary was happening as written.

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Looking for volunteers for our passport game where they raced to collect the most passport stamps in 60 seconds. The passports were to Pangaea and Hell. Whoever won meant that either Jorge or I would decide how to spend they money we had raced around to collect.

My Takeaways (or, things I would do differently if for some unimaginable reason I had to do this over again):

1.) Don’t print the schedules. They were a cute idea, but being a former-reception-virgin, I didn’t realize just how far the party train can careen off the tracks. Now, it just serves as a reminder of the way things didn’t go. Plus, I have WAY more left over than I thought I would. I could have saved probably $20 not printing as many.

2.) Remember to take pictures with your family and wedding party. I am still kicking myself for this one. I even had TWO photographers and we didn’t get a group shot with the wedding party, or with my father or his side of the family. My mom’s side of the family was there, and we managed to snag a shot with that side because one of my aunts gathered us all together on a whim. To be fair, my main photog Fenna was also being used as a chef in the kitchen, as well as a cake slicer, photo op presenter and overseer, general announcer, and many other roles. She wore ALL THE HATS that night!

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Gotta give mad props to your photographer when she takes pictures AND does all the other stuff, as well! She wore all the hats–including an actual tiny hat with some sort of squirrel on it, which I’m sorry I didn’t steal from her!

3.) Buying extra cups is good. Spoons, not so much. Per the suggestion of my friends, I went back and bought extra dinner plates, cake plates, dinner napkins, cups, forks, and spoons (I decided last minute not to get extra knives because nobody ever uses those, pfff.) I had originally purchased enough for 150 guests, which was overshooting my expected number by maybe 20-30 people. I thought buying 150 of everything would be fine. But then, per wise recommendations, I bought an extra round of almost everything, and THANK GOD I HAVE PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING IN MY LIFE. I have 4 cups, 3 dinner plates and about 5 forks leftover. On the flip side, an entire unopened package of spoons AND knives leftover (even after NOT buying extra knives), as well as a frightening mass of cake plates and cake napkins. The cake definitely disappeared, so I’m not sure how they moved it from stand to mouth without any of those cake plates or napkins.

4.) Expect strange shit to happen. Anxiety runs high on days like these. Big events in general tend to coax whatever sort of Murphy’s Law gods from their caverns in the mountains so they can peer down and provoke mischief. We certainly had a few of these instances. Like the eerie mist that hung around the city for the entire day–very strange, since most mist or fog scenarios clear up by mid-morning. And then there was the lighting in the food room–for whatever reason, the lights kept turning off, which made it hard for people to find the appetizers, mingle, etc. We had to flip the breaker switch four times. We also had a near-electrical fire, a keg incident, and empty gas grills.

I point out the things that veered off course only in the spirit of talking about the woes. Really, these were no woes at all. They were mere bumps in the road–or turbulence in the air–during our journey to a really great December celebration of our August wedding.

What’s more, I didn’t realize how FUN it would be to have a large majority of my loved ones gathered in one place. I never expected my stepdad to regale friends with stories from my childhood; I never expected my family to be so in love with the live music of my hometown buddies; I never thought so many people would come up to personally tell me how cool all my friends are, and how nice the evening had been.

This evening reminded me how much love is in my life. How much love surrounds me, at every turn. How incredibly blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends and family members in my life.

I just hope I can shine love back as brightly to all those who share this life with me. God, I hope I do.

I hope you all can feel it.

I hope you all know that when I say thank you it’s coming from a frighteningly deep place inside my heart.

We’re so thankful for everyone who came to share in this day with us; thankful for our friends and family who helped make this day what it was.

We’re so thankful to know you all, to share our lives with you all.

And at the end of it, this day was exactly what we’d been hoping for: one grand moment to celebrate, revel, shriek, smile, scream, move, and sing with each other. A day to show you all how much Jorge and I love each other, and how much we love you all. A day to get silly and dress up and eat yummy food and snap pictures and feel good that we all know each other, that we have each other as friends or family or passengers on this wild airplane ride called Life.

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