The Wedding: Take Two – The Reception

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary.

As overwhelmed as I was about the turn of events and the lack of professional one on one photo memories, the show had to go on. With the 45 minute ceremony delay, guests at El Conquistador would miss the cocktail hour, so we loaded the bus quickly, full steam ahead.

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Our Just Married ride!

Luckily, those who had skipped the ceremony and the many peeps not needed for the photos had headed directly to the reception hall getting a chance to enjoy the suckling pig “a la varita” and the Puerto Rican style appetizers we would miss. I only got to taste a little plate with mofongo balls and croquettes before kicking off the greeting line, thanks to the wedding coordinator. My sister, who was on the bus with us, snuck in a few plates for later, a smart move that was copied by guests down the line.

I don’t know how the wedding planner pulled it off but the pleneros, who had threatened to leave because we had missed the contract start time and performance window, stayed an extra hour. They patiently waited for us to get the clan together to make the big entrance. We had run out of breaks and had no extra time to take pictures. Greeeeaaat! Camille did her best to get action shots as we all sang and danced alongside the entertainers. I put my poker face on intent on bluffing my way through the rest of the night. The stakes were high and I sincerely hoped things would turn around. Smile and wave. Smile and wave. Maybe things would turn around.

They didn’t.

When we did the roll call, wedding party in tow, we realized, a bit too late, that my dad was MIA. When the crowd settled I called him to confirm my suspicions: he had decided go home straight from El Conquistador. At 65 years old, and with two doggies, he didn’t have much of a choice after being away for 8 hours. It took YEARS for me to notice we never had the daddy-daughter dance! It wasn’t until my sister danced with him at her wedding, three years later, that I had realized what I had missed. It was another picture, another memory that every girl has on her big day that was never to be. We take so much for granted, and forget how lucky we are to have our dads and father figures around for these types of milestones. 👨‍👧We kept the good times rolling and moved from the pleneros to the rest of the protocol.

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The reception hall.

To wow our guests we bought cases of pink sparkling wine, cava Seguras Viudas, for the toast. It was cheap and unique, kind of like us at that stage of the planning. 🤭☺😁 Instead of having the padrinos speak, our college friends were tasked with giving the celebratory cheers and welcome speeches. This way every one that mattered got to participate in some official capacity. Share the love! Our unofficial videographer, W’s dad, caught all the action on film but never gave us copies. Unfortunately a few years later someone broke into their home and stole the laptop that contained all that evidence. 😑😭😤 There were no picture share sites, apps or Twitter back then so I have ZERO evidence of what was said. Not even a stray FB post. Oh well! At least we have some candids from Camille and the wannabe paparazzi guests to jog our memories.

“Unplugged weddings”, FTW…

Around 8pm, those of us who missed the cocktail o’deurves were starting to get hangry. My mom was the first, infuriated by the offending behemoth, the flower arrangement, on her table. Once withdrawn, we shifted gears to serve the food and settle the hungry crowd. Soup and salad courses down, my mom and I exchanged glances. The caterer was only serving chicken! 😑🤨 There must had been a mistake because we had also selected to serve roast beef. It was in the RSVP. The wedding coordinator scurried into the kitchen to investigate. 🧐 Turns out an employee had left the fridge open overnight and the meat had spoiled! Rather than tell us that morning while we prepped the room they made the call to just serve chicken. Freaking tastic! Egregious move because there was left over roasted suckling pig that could have been served as a substitute. We didn’t learn of this until they handed W a container full of meat at 2 am during clean up because “it was ours” and we had to take it home. 🤔🤦‍♀️

I had to adjust my game face and visit with puzzles guests to offer apologies for the main course snafu. This crisis would have been averted if PEOPLE HAD LISTENED TO ME WHEN I SAID I WANTED A TRADITIONAL MEAL AND NOT FANCY SIT DOWN FARE. That’s my takeaway from all this. My wedding was plagued by a series of unfortunate events because no one thought about what I wanted. My Plan Bs, Cs and Ds had to be played to get stuff flowing beyond the present circumstances. Brides just want to have fun, not watch people enjoy themselves with the band sing alongs and around the world musical performances while they put out fires. It was a trust exercise gone wrong, and to this day I can’t tell the story in person of the reception without calling out key people. W had fun on my behalf so our accounts of that day don’t match. Tales for the grandchildren to collate, I guess. The show must go on.

As if there wasn’t enough excitement already my allergies decide to kick in and exile the contact lenses. I looked so dorky with my clear frames and outfit but at least I could see. 🤣😁🤓 Shortly after dinner we rolled the wedding cake out.

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The wedding “cheese” cake. ☺

Behind the scenes, three of the backup cakes had succumbed to a bad case of fungus (blame the humidity) and the rest were almost tossed because it was assumed they were all infected. (They weren’t.) After clearing that up, W and I divvied up the top-tier cake and served it to those who were still missing dessert. To our delight, everyone got a piece and loved the recipe. It worked out, which was a miracle considering how everything else had shaken out. Around midnight people started to leave. An hour later we closed out the event around 1:30 am. Overall, the guests were pleased with the beer on tap selections, the music, the food and the great company. It was worth the hassle, as far as they were concerned.

Since very few people drank the wine that was purchased for the W VIPs, I asked my father in law to gift me a few bottles to thank the bridal party for roughing it out with us. He agreed. When I went to grab the bottles the bar staff told me to put the bottles back because they didn’t belong to me. 😤🤦‍♀️ He had to yell from across the room that I could grab anything from the bar and could do whatever I wanted because I was THE BRIDE, the guest of honor, and financier. The white dress apparently meant nothing for these people!! 😤 When they handed me the bill it included the charge for the roast beef and a few surprises. I put on my boxing gloves and a few minutes later it was all sorted out. The total came down a bit but it was still 25% over the original estimate, including the down payment. Never again.

At 1:45 am, tired and a bit tipsy, W took a big fireworks display out of his dad’s trunk and light up the night. Totally illegal but worth it.

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The fireworks show

We packed up the car with the excess alcohol, food and disposable bar supplies, which apparently belonged to us per the contract and we headed to the hotel for the afterparty. Our out of town friends were staying at a nearby hotel, the same one we used, and didn’t want the night to end. I counted the money from the cards, a little over 3k, and took the dress off. Below my armpit, a few inches down, I had a big 3 inch bruise. The gown’s girdle had snapped through the satin causing the injury. Would the day’s bad luck ever end? Too tired to risk more strife, I went to bed and sent the groom off to enjoy the libations. I was glad that at least someone would have good memories of this little endeavor.

A few days later, we rung in the new year in the comfort of our own living room. W mad because it was snowing, and miffed that I had fallen asleep on the carpeted floor ten minutes before midnight. There was no honeymoon, nothing resembling newly wedded bliss, a consequence of his lack of foresight. Looking back I should have dragged his arse to Barcelona where it was 60 degrees and sunny. Maybe if we had done this life may have spared us from what lay ahead…

Stay tuned for Marriage: Year One.

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