When we got back to NJ, we had a week to prepare for the reception. I was still riding on the high from the honeymoon, so I was totally laid back for our final meeting with the caterer. The NJ caterer was much more organized than the Hawaii caterer, I can tell you that!
(quick side note as an illustration: the NJ caterer sent a finalized contract, complete with bridal checklist and insurance liability waivers for our DJ and photographer a full month before the event; on the other hand, I had to hunt the Hawaii caterer down myself a few weeks before we left to get a final contract, and even then, I never gave her a signed version…it had changed by the time the contract got to me, and my dad is still disputing the bar, which is entirely another story. Suffice to say there was nothing unclear about the way things were run in NJ!)
We didn’t have a whole lot of people from the Hawaii wedding come to NJ (go figure). Just our roommates (of course), my brother, my cousin D. (who was taking pictures), and my MoH, who flew all the way from CA to be there.
On the morning of the reception, I almost had a hissy fit because I didn’t have a schedule written out, until I remembered (when MoH and Ray reminded me) that this was the no-pressure party, and all the hard work is already done. The only things I had to do before the party were: get my hair done and get my makeup done.
Strangely enough, this ended up being more complicated than I had originally planned. About a month beforehand, I had made an appointment at a nice salon to get my hair and makeup done. Unfortunately, while I was in Hawaii, I got a call from my hairdresser telling me that the salon had burned down!!!!!
Luckily, she was now doing business at a place down the street. But they didn’t do makeup, and nobody had any references for me. So MoH and I went to the mall to get our makeup done! And it was so fun!
But it only got complicated when we spent too long at the mall and got to the hair appointment about ten minutes late, and then the hairdresser took a REALLY long time on my hair. Granted, I have longer hair than MoH, but we ended up arriving at the reception venue about five minutes before the cocktail hour was about to start, which was nerve-wracking.
Once we arrived at the reception site, in my jeans and button-down shirt, full makeup and hair-do (including veil), there was no need to announce to the waitstaff who I was. They went into full serving mode, and they ushered me into the bridal suite. There was a HUGE bathroom as well as a couch and a vanity with a big mirror. MoH and I took turns admiring how big the bathroom was…we agreed you could fit a bed in there.
But I digress. I quickly got into my wedding dress, and one of the waitstaff announced that she was the head table waiter, so she was basically assigned to serving us specifically. She brought me drinks and hors d’œuvres (since the party had already started with a 1/2 hour of cocktails before dinner). And I was loving it, especially since everyone else around me was taking care of stuff for once!
(By the way, while all of this is going on, I’m getting last minute calls from guests telling me they can’t make it because they were sick. I swear, there must have been a flu epidemic while I was gone. Granted, I’m glad they didn’t come and spread their germs to my guests, but Jeez!)
By the time I was really ready to go, cocktail hour was over, and the guests were being ushered into the banquet area. Ray and I entered, announced for the first time in NJ as Mr. & Mrs.! How exciting! After we did our customary walk-around, we went into our first dance, which we had spent 5 weeks practicing (a totally basic slow rhumba, but still, it was amazing that Ray even agreed to take dancing lessons!).
The rest of the evening was a blur. All I remember is that I didn’t get a chance to say hi to everyone, even though I tried. There was some dancing, but not very much, mostly because nobody really got on the dance floor unless I was on the dance floor (I guess it’s rude to dance if the bride isn’t dancing?). Anyway, there were so many disparate friends there, and I wanted to spend time with everyone, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
I remember cutting the cake was also a lot different from Hawaii. For one thing, it was a better carrot cake (the Hawaii carrot cake was more like a spice cake with carrots in it…not so good). Just like in Hawaii, people gathered around to take pictures, but the best picture we could have gotten was from our friend K. from Ren Faire, who got underneath the head table and took a picture from an angle no one would think of.
After the party was over, Ray and I went to our hotel room (we decided to stay at the nearby hotel so we could hang out with all the out-of-towners). Unfortunately, a lot of the folks we wanted to hang out with were at the other hotel down the road, and they didn’t want to come to our room. But we did hang out with MoH, my cousin D., two friends from Ren Faire, and two of my singer friends (who had a concert that night, so they ended up missing the party, but they showed up at the hotel for the after-party). We had a whole lot of excitement when the people across the hall (who were having their own after-party from a different wedding) kept accidentally coming into our room. Boy, we thought we were drunk; they were BOMBED! It was hilarious!