September 28, 2014

My sister got Hitched

When I was in Charleston, South Carolina, in mid January to run a half marathon and visit friends, I received a call from my favorite sibling, Allison.  I could tell she was overjoyed about something, so I put her on speaker phone with my friends to hear her surprise, “I’m going to be Mrs. Wheeler!!”  Everyone on my end cheered… even those who didn’t know my sister cheered because how do you not cheer for love?  Allison and Evan had dated for almost six years and Evan knew there was mounting pressure for him to propose:  either shit or get off the pot.  So he shitted (or is it shat?) (and yes, I just analogized getting married to pooping).

Step one:  the engagement party.  We had a champagne bar complete with a champagne fountain, because every celebration needs champagne.  We had cotton candy to dye the champagne pink, because pink makes everything better.   I had “save the date” koozies made, because I’m from Kentucky where koozies are made for everything.  I even had a mini polaroid camera to take pictures of the guests for the guest book, because everyone loves taking face pics with no do-overs.  

Next event:  the bridal shower.  Pinterest became my worst enemy during the bridal shower planning.  My nights leading up to the shower went like this:  "I need to look on Pinterest to find easy finger food ideas"... one click on this site; one click on that site...  and two hours later I found myself buying new outdoor furniture from Pottery Barn and watching youtube videos for Beer Olympics ideas… having completely aborted the original mission of finger foods.  

I did manage to find the Pinterest project from hell:
Projected project time: 3 hours.
Actual project time: 3 weeks.
Each rose was individually crafted from streamers.
never want to see streamers again.

The matron of honor, Brooke, co-hosted the shower and Brooke turned my house into a page out of a Martha Stewart magazine.  It was quite fabulous if I do say so myself.

But the best story from the shower was the conversation my mother and I had at a liquor store when I was buying rum for the bridal shower punch.
Me:  How many liters is 6 cups?
Mom:  (doing math in her head)  About 1.4 liters or so
Me:  Ok, so we are going to need two of these (as I proceeded to grab 2 fifths of rum)
Me:  But I’m following a punch recipe
Mom:  I don’t care what the recipe says, this is a BRIDAL SHOWER!
Me:  But this is a recipe I got straight from Martha Stewart’s website, and she recommends it for bridal showers
Mom:  Yeah, and Martha went to prison.
*How do you argue with that?  However, I still used both fifths. 
*I wanted to name the punch “Martha’s Prison Punch,” but that idea was vetoed because this was a BRIDAL SHOWER!

Final pre-wedding event:  the bachelorette party.  Allison chose to throw down in Chicago and 22 girls showed up.  Yes, boys, I said 22 girls.  I can’t tell any stories because that’s against the rules.  But I can show some innocent pictures and share a video starring the most entertaining limo driver in Chicago.
Bridal Brunch at City Winery
Bachelorette Dinner at Tavernita
The struggle is real

Allison spent hours upon days upon weeks upon months planning her fairytale wedding.  She wanted a fall wedding, so task #1 was looking at the University of Kentucky football schedule to make sure she picked a bye week.  She knew football tailgating for some guests might take precedence over her wedding (that may or may not have included me).  The date was set for September 20, 2014.  The location was set for downtown Indianapolis:  the Vermont Street Basin situated along the Indy Canal would be the home for the ceremony and the reception would be held at The Roof Ballroom.

Indianapolis Canal

It was finally the day before the big day.  The six bridesmaids spent the day before the wedding with the bride doing all things girls do before a wedding:  manicures, pedicures, mimosas, and a bridal lunch.  The groomsmen spent the day doing what guys do before a wedding:  golf.  

The rehearsal that night was a typical rehearsal of trying to iron out all the intricacies of the ceremony with people repeatedly saying, “Quit talking and listen.”  I think I even threw in a couple of “Sssshhhhhhhh!” to keep everyone focused… I was hungry.  The rehearsal dinner was at Harry and Izzy’s downtown and about 50 friends and family joined Allison and Evan to celebrate their wedding eve.  (As I type this blog, I am realizing how much celebration and activity goes into an upcoming wedding and it’s making me want to get married.  But not for the husband part; I want it for all the parties in my honor.  And I get to register for fine china and tons of unnecessary things just because.  So how do I sign up for this marriage thing?)

September 20th arrived.  At 9am, the hair stylists and makeup artists arrived at the hotel to get the bridesmaids' hair and makeup did, which was a three hour process.  I’m going to bet that at 9am, Evan and all the groomsmen were still snoring in bed.  The afternoon was spent lounging in Allie’s suite, lunch was catered, the photographers showed up, I was trying to perfect our adult gummy bears, and we helped Allie get tied and buttoned into her wedding dress.  I also performed a little alteration on my full body Spanx to make it easier for me to use the bathroom the rest of the night.

My favorite moment of the afternoon was when my dad showed up and saw Allison for the first time in her dress and veil… he was very emotional and it was adorably sweet.  I just hope he’s not fist pumping if I ever get married.

The weather the day of Allie’s wedding was almost too perfect:  ideal temperatures, no wind, low humidity (which pleased the females), and beautiful blue skies.  So what do people do when there is fabulous weather?… go outside.  And where do people go outside when in Indianapolis?… apparently the entire city explores the canal area.  There were people in kayaks and pedal boats; there were gondolas complete with the traditionally dressed gondolier; people were cruising around on tandem bikes and Surreys; and some were just strolling along on a leisurely walk.  People were everywhere and unfortunately it is human nature to stop and watch when there is a wedding.  I’ve been guilty of this before, too.  But for some reason this was different… “Why are all these freaks just standing around and staring?”

As an attempt for some privacy during the ceremony, the ceremony assistants (i.e. Allie’s friends) would clear the area and politely ask the gawkers to get the hell away.  No less than three minutes later, a whole new mob would surround the wedding site and someone would have to clear the area again.  Evan and the groomsmen were about to walk over the bridge for their grand entrance and we didn’t want thirty tourists on the bridge acting as paparazzi.  After several rounds of attempting to secure the area, we succumbed to losing the battle.  People were going to watch and we couldn’t do anything about it.  I also need to mention that there were randoms who videoed the wedding… what in the world are you going to do with that video?  It is going to be your weekly Friday night entertainment?

But then IT happened.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a few Segways headed in our direction right as Evan started to cross the bridge.  All the bridesmaids looked at each other in complete fear:  Allie is going to die if she sees this.  We frantically told the helmet-wearing-Segwayers to speed through the area:  “Go!  Go fast!  The groom is coming!”  I initially thought there were only a few Segways, but their line was never ending.  I lost count after the twentieth person Segwayed through… I could only laugh at this point.  Not every bride and groom can say there was a Segway tour that delayed the start of their wedding.  Allie and Evan now have that honor.

Despite the large amount of uninvited guests, it was a perfect wedding.  At the end, the cheers of celebration from the randoms on the  bridge were priceless… I saw Arsenio Hall's signature move and some jumping jacks… but once again, how do you not cheer for love?

It was finally party time.  The reception was unforgettable with over 200 guests, a sit down dinner, and open bar.  I have a feeling my parents forgot they have another daughter... my wedding may have to be held in my backyard with ten of my closest friends, followed by a buffet dinner at the Golden Coral and cash bar at the Elizabethtown American Legion.  Oh, and my dad wants bag pipes instead of a string quartet (true story).  

Now it was time for the big surprise of the night.  I'm not sure how or why I came up with this idea, but I wanted to surprise Allie and Evan with a flash mob.  I spent hours watching youtube videos of flash mobs, trying to find the perfect song and easiest dance/hand moves that even the most uncoordinated could still follow.  And then it hit me.  Allison and I have watched the movie Hitch starring Will Smith a thousand times together (I’m actually watching it now for old times sake).  The ending has always been our favorite when the wedding guests do an awesome soul train line to Heavy D’s 90’s hit of “Now that we found love.”  I specifically remember Allie saying once upon a time, “I want that at my wedding.”  She wanted a soul train and I wanted a flash mob.  So why not do both?

Once I figured out the logistics with the DJ, I spent one Sunday evening dancing around my living room like a lunatic while filming myself.  I don’t always dance around my living room, but when I do, I accidentally leave all my curtains open for my neighbors to watch.  And I don’t always dance around my living room, but when I do, I try to look as ridiculous as possible.  I uploaded my professionally made video to youtube and sent the link to all of my contacts on the guest list.  I just hoped and prayed that enough people would participate so that we wouldn't look like a small cluster with flailing body parts.  To my surprise, more people than I imagined practiced the cheesy dance and came ready with their best soul train moves.  Most importantly, it was a true surprise for Allie and Evan and they loved it.  And that makes me happy.  (Side note:  if anyone has any pictures/videos of this, can you please send them my way?  I have no proof this actually happened.)

The reception carried on as expected.  I continued the two year long process of teaching my cousin how to Dougie.  The Cupid Shuffle got everyone on the dance floor, despite Allie banning this song for the night.  My date Brandon and I did our best Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey imitation.  And I had too many Yogi Bears, which was the bourbon specialty drink of the night.  After the reception, the party soldiered on at a bar with Allie still in her wedding dress, because that's what every classy fun bride does.  The bouncer had to be paid off to let Allie in the bar since she wasn't carrying any identification (who keeps an ID in their wedding dress?).  And White Castle was personally delivered straight to the bar courtesy of Evan’s friends.  And that is how you end a perfect day.  Now that we found love what are we going to do with it?

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