Last Week we heard all about the preparations for the Wedding. This week is the wedding itself and the reception.
So here we are on the 6th of July at about 0530 ing like crazy trying to fully wake up so that we can get ready for the long day ahead of us. It starts simply enough; shower, find the clothes, put em on - that sort of thing... I am so glad I left extra time in our schedule because either time decided to go a bit faster that morning or we were just not up to speed. We left the house and stopped for coffee on the way... in the back of my mind I kept telling myself... 'self I know the is very important, but don't you dare spill it on yourself'. I am happy to say that I didn't, and that we made it to my towns' train station on time. This train ride is roughly 45 mins and takes us into Grand Central. I would like to point out this also marks the beginning of strangers stopping Aaron to ask about his uniform. This happend on the ride out, during the wait before the wedding, after the wedding, at the reception, on the way home, and even after we got back home... it was very very funny.
We, of course, rode on the wonderful subway system to Penn station where we boarded yet another train to take us out to Long Island... this train ride was around two hours and I must say... we had the est train... it was a double decker and the seats were pretty . What was not were the 250 children all pumped up about going to the beach for the day; they were extremely loud the whole way out. So we get to the last stop on the train and get out hoping to see our ride (Shea's brother in law) figuring we would stand out, we look around for a bit but do not see anyone that we think could be going to a wedding anytime that day.
Now thankfully there are about 20 cabs just waiting for someone to hop in so we do and asked our cab driver to take us to the proper church. Now our cab driver, who I think has, in the past, played in just about every mob movie ever made or at least he looks like he should have, tells us all about any family member he has ever had that got married in this same exact church. We get out in front of a very empty looking church and parking lot and have roughly an hour to kill before the wedding. The only problem is there really isn't anything we could do to kill time, so we head into this lovely little white church where the wedding is going to be held. Now before I go on, I would like to say that if you have ever really desired to be allowed in heaven then it's probably not a good idea to stand in a little church for an hour killing time when you have been parting and drinking all week and you have had very little sleep. Ok that being said here goes this part of the story. So here we are - no-one is in the church but us - and we just kinda stand in the nice airconditioing for quite a while... we use the bathroom that we found (that we later found out was off-limits) and just basically talked and joked around... saying things like wouldn't it be cool if we would have thought to bring a little buddy Christ and set him up at the altar over there because it would just pop at ya... or hey did you notice there is no cross on that statue... it just kinda looks like Jesus is jumping up in the air to give a couple of buds high fives... then that leads to oh we should get pictures of us jumping up to give him a high five or what if we could get someone to take a picture of us like he's just been out partying too much and he's being held up by the two of us... and we ended up looking at the names in the stained glass windows and tried to link them to people we knew.
After about half an hour a dude came in, smiled at us and walked around the back of the little wall separator... this (we found out later) was the deacon... and shortly thereafter people started milling about outside. Now I am not sure if we were supposed to be waiting for something outside or not but my rule of thumb was that wherever the airconditioning was that is where I was going to be. We had people come in and ask us if this was the right place for the wedding (now get this they used real names not Shea and TJ like they should have) so we could only answer them with a 'umm sure hope so'. I think people thought we were Ushers or important people because we were standing near the door inside when most everyone else was outside... so we kept on getting asked questions and got many strange looks when we answered with 'have no idea', 'sure why not', 'beats the heck out of me', 'if it makes you happy' and so on. Eventually people from outside started coming in and sitting down on either side of the church. Now I am guessing that the grooms people sat on one side and the brides on the other... now since we had no idea where we should sit I just picked the back row and we finally sat down again right before the wedding right behind the photographer. We saw Clive and Amy† come in and I tried to get Clive's attention but I don't think it dawned on him who we where until they had been sat down for a minute then turned around and waved or something. We had heard from TJ's brother about someone forgetting to pick up TJ and we were relieved to see that he had made it and had taken his place in the front of the church. Now all we needed was a bride and this shindig could get started. I would like to point out at this time that they handed out some kind of little pamphlet to the people as they came in which, because we didn't know what it was, we didn't bother to get one. Evidently this piece of paper contained the instructions for the quests like what they should say in response to certain things and words to songs that would be sung. If you ever happen to be at a wedding or some such event and they hand out a little pamphlet beforehand then I would advise you to pick it up... it might have important information.
So the guests are all seated and all is actually quiet except for that wedding type music in the background. In come the bridesmaids and umm grooms men I guess one couple at a time and they take their places at the front of the church... and the moment everyone has been waiting for with all expectant eyes on the door... Shea walks in looking stunning in her wedding dress... and thousands of flashes go off as people try to snap the perfect picture. Now I have the perfect view and have my camera pointed and it is at this time right after I push the button to take a great picture that I find out the battery has gone dead in my camera and that it's not going to work too good now is it. About the time that I stop cursing my luck, the bride gets to the front of the church for the start of the ceremony. There are many parts to a wedding ceremony I didn't know anything about and it didn't help that 1) I am not Catholic so I didn't do the little cross-thingy at the right times or that 2) I didn't have one of the little programs so I had no idea when we were supposed to stand, sit, what to say or whatever so, like always, I was completely lost. I think Aaron faired a bit better then me because he, at least, had the Catholic thing going for him. Even though I was completely lost for much of the ceremony I thought it was beautiful. Of course we cheered when it was all over and yes I did cheer YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY SHEA AND TJ GOT MARRIED YAAAAAAAYYYYY but I didn't think other people (other than Aaron) heard me... I might be wrong though .
So now it's time to do the meet and greet on the way out the door... while we are waiting the Photographer strikes a conversation with Aaron because of his blues and it's quite entertaining... because we are in the back of the church we are some of the last people to leave. So I get to surprise Shea and TJ with the Identify of my guest and meet TJ's mom who actually says... 'oh these are more of those axe murderers' with a smile on her face and Shea's mom and dad. Then it's time to stand outside and try to figure out how in the world we are getting from the church to the reception.
Luckily we meet up with our original ride from the train station - Shea's brother-in-law - and he agrees to get us over there. There is much picture taking and such in front of the church then we head off to the reception.
I am glad that we got a ride because there is no way we would of not gotten lost on the walk over without it. We arrive and once again we are some of the first to arrive. Once again our inexperience shows itself when we notice some people bending over and looking at these little picture frames. We wander over to figure out what they might be doing and low and behold they are little picture frames that tell you where you are supposed to go later... like mine said Donald E Jones: Table 12. We are instructed by another guest to take it with us when we leave the little table which I do and we are pointed into this really big room with lots and lots of food. I start looking around for table 12 but none of the tables have any numbers on them. I ask a worker where in the world table 12 is and he laughs at me and says that this isn't the dinner this is the cocktail hour, after this we would be brought into another room with our assigned tables. Now I don't know about you but we haven't ever had that much food in front of us and been told that it's not even the dinner - that's crazy talk - but we believe him. I, of course, decide it might be a good idea to get something to drink and head over to the bar where, to my delight, I find out it's an open one and start my first of many jack and cokes. I had left Aaron on the other side of the room and when I make my way back to him he decides there has got to be a coat room that he can put his hat in so he doesn't have to carry it around. 15 mins later, after circumnavigating the whole place, he finds the coat room about 20 feet from where he started his quest (what can I say, you can't spell lost without the L and the T) and makes his way back over to me. I let him know the bar is open and he heads off with the specific purpose to just get a water because he doesn't want to drink anything yet. He comes back with his first of many s and said the bartender actually twisted his arm. We decide that since we won't actually know anyone that it might he a good idea to find a seat that isn't out in the open and we sit down.
Amy† and Clive join us shortly thereafter and there we waited until the banquet hall was opened up. After chatting for a while and basically having a good time it was announced that we should make our way to the banquet hall. We got in and found table 12 with little problems, sat down and found that the table arrangements were set up almost especially for us with smilies from the site in the arrangements. The reception went by in a blur... there was dancing (not by me) and speeches and singing and drinking (ok I took part in that) and much Yaying (that was me and Aaron). We talked with all at our table and many others around... we never did find out who some of the very hot guests were but it's probably better that we didn't talk to them at that point (yes some of the Yaying was about that). One thing I did notice (and I thought I was pretty lucky) was that there was a small disposable camera on each table. Now seeing how my camera's battery died we decided to use this one... we took some pretty cool pictures - even one of me giving Shea the bouquet of loo brushes... but we didn't realize that we were supposed to take pictures then leave the camera on the table when we left. Basically fun was had by all, well especially by me and Aaron. At some point it was time to leave...I am not really sure when but I would say about 3 or 4pm. We called a taxi and went back to the train station. We rode another double decker train back most of the way to Penn station but, because it was so crowded, we couldn't sit down. In Jamaica (somewhere in Queens) we changed over to another train that ran express back to the city... there was only room for three in the one seat so I let the others sit together and I sat with two strangers. Now the open bar and my lack of sleep kicked in and I fell asleep on this train... waking I was supposed to guide Amy†, Clive, and Aaron back to the right trains to get them to my house... the problem was that I forgot to pick my Camera and the disposable camera up off the seat in my rush to get off the train. I do want to report that I got everyone safely where they were going... but once again failed to get to sleep on time... and ended up staying up till 4am
And that's the end of that story.