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The party!

There were about 220 people at our wedding, so there are about 225 versions of the party that followed the ceremony. Immediately afterwards, we were swarmed with people, and I hugged and hugged and hugged. Almost everyone was wiping away tears, and people were constantly telling us that it was one of the most beautiful ceremonies that they'd ever seen.

We certainly weren't going to argue the point. I thought it was odd that I made it through with my voice cracking only a little towards the end of my vows. Graham made it through more or less unscathed, but our loved ones were bawling all around us.

We made our way to a pre-designated rose bush, and after about ten minutes of wrangling, we got Graham's dad's family organized for a few photographs. Then my family joined in. And then Graham's mom. And my mom's family. And then my dad's family. Considering how much family was there, it was pretty impressive that we got the photos done within about 30 minutes.

Me almost immediately after the wedding ceremony.

Everyone else sort of spread out. The bar by the entry moved to the middle of the big yard on the side of the house, and there was a loyal group that followed along. Another group claimed tables in the front yard, and I don't think they moved all that much from their tables, using the bar on that side of the house. Yet more wandered around the property a bit. Still more just hung out in the house.

Our annual Christmas party is usually about 150-200 people, but a little less concentrated, so we were used to holding parties here. And a good hunk of the guests had been to the Christmas party. The major difference was the presence of caterers and the tables in the front yard. We self-cater the Christmas party, and usually everyone just finds a spot to sit and eat for that party.

After family photos, Graham and I went off with the photographers for a little while to get shots together. It was actually pretty nice, because we could talk and we had a moment or two to our selves.

And then we were back in the fray, and we mingled and hugged and talked and walked and walked.

The kids took immediately to all of the stuff in the yard we'd set up. Croquet, bocce, the hammock. One of my cousins had stopped at Wal-Mart on the way to the wedding and bought a few $1.99 kites, and those were a HUGE hit, though they had to be retrieved from trees a few times. Kids who'd never met before were running around with each other as if they'd known each other forever.

One three and a half year old kid went inside to see what he could see from the balcony, and saw me in the crowd and said "Daddy, there's a princess!!" and he followed me for a good hunk of the rest of his time there, finally scrounging up the courage to give me a flower. Followed closely by a stick. Claudia also got a stick.

The photobooth took a little while to get going because we didn't realize that the camera automatically turned itself off if it wasn't in active use. Once we figured that out, though, people had a BLAST with the photobooth.

There was a baby section on the rocking chairs we'd set up under a tree. The parents of four or five infants found each other and hung out with their adorable babies in the shade. Celosa found them at some point.

The caterers set up appetizers on the side porch, and a line immediately formed. I took a look at the line and decided to wait awhile. Instead, I just talked. And talked. And talked. And they ran out of food before I had a chance to try it. I am informed it was wonderful.

I'm not entirely clear on what happened with the bartender situation, but everyone got plenty to drink, so it took care of itself. We had a few professional bartenders in the crowd, and they helped smooth out the uncorking of wine bottles, and someone made me an out-of-this-world Michilada.

Our friend Andre had volunteered to be our day-of coordinator. He handled the bar and the caterers and the flow of the day. He'd picked up the cupcakes in Houston for us, and he coordinated cleanup when everything was over. He'd done this for years professionally, and he did an amazing job. I never noticed anything awry at all, and I don't think that anyone in my family had to deal with party details once things got started.

At some point, (according to Facebook, it was 6:15), Graham and I changed our Facebook status.

Maybe a half hour, forty five minutes after it was scheduled, the caterers were ready with dinner, and we encouraged people to head over to the tables. Some people had thought that the appetizers were the main dish, but everyone was really excited about the food. Graham and I went from table to table to talk to people.

There were so many people to talk to. I think we had something like 17 states represented. And fortunately for us, most of my friends are Graham's friends, and vice versa. But I did feel horrible that I didn't get to spend as much time with people as wanted to. I know that people understood, but I would have killed for maybe another 15 hours. Just to get to everyone. :D

The food was amazing. We found this restaurant in Giddings about six months ago, and we've probably eaten there a dozen times. I'm in love love love with their spinach enchiladas, but everything they do is outstanding. I was a little concerned that the food in a catering situation, especially with this many people, wasn't going to be as good as in the restaurant, but it exceeded expectations. And there was more than enough for everyone. I had the seafood enchiladas with rice and beans and oh my god it was good. Who eats at their own wedding? I did!!

Right as the sun went down, Graham and I got up to say thank you to everyone who was there. And we wanted to thank specific people, like David Morales, who is the ranch manager and was ridiculously instrumental in making the whole thing happen. And our parents. And we wanted to acknowledge the people who couldn't be there, like my grandmother and my great-aunt. And we acknowledged the people (and dogs) who'd passed on and were watching in spirit. My dad, Graham's mom, our siblings and one of my cousins all made toasts as well.

At this point, a good hunk of the older people and the people with small kids were going to take off. Houston was an hour and a half away, Austin an hour, and it was dark. While we were eating, the cupcake stand was set up, and I think we'd placed the perfect order (24 dozen mini cupakes in Lemon Ginger, Red Velvet, Chocolate, Vanilla, Margarita and Almond Ricotta Raspberry). People were able to take cupcakes with them as they went.

Graham's lighting looked amazing. He'd set amber up-lights in the trees, and he'd replaced the white spots off the house with blue and green, which softened the area considerably. He'd built a dance floor on the lawn with LED christmas lights in blue and green along the top, and color changing down the polls. He'd placed my light boxes in front of his dj booth.

I went upstairs to change out of my wedding dress and into my dancing dress. I kept my boots on, as I knew that they were doing me absolutely great and I didn't want to change shoes in mid-stream.

Graham and I got ready for our first dance. Aside from the small toasts, I think that this was the only really "wedding" thing we did for the entire reception. We didn't have a bouquet or garter toss. We didn't have any other dances. We didn't have a money tree. Our guest book was inside, and some people signed it, but not everyone. The reception felt much more like a really awesome party than a wedding.

But we wanted to have this dance. So we gathered a crowd around the dance floor, shooed the remaining kids away, and took center stage.

Without much practice, I think we did pretty good. We started off to Patrick and Eugene's "Don't Stop." We twirled and spun and had a fantastic time doing it. It's not a long song, which was perfect for us.

Graham next mixed in the Strictly Ballroom version of "Love is in the Air." We had some ringers in the crowd that came in to dance with us, but we had to go and drag more and more people in to get the idea that we wanted everyone to dance with us. Our problem, we were later told, was that our ringers were too good, and people wanted to watch them dance. Our ringers were some of the swing dancers that come to see Graham DJ every Friday night. But the dance floor immediately filled up, and our mission was nearly complete.

Next, "Sexy Back"! This is our song. It was the first song we ever danced to, and for about a year, it was the only song we ever danced to. Because of this, I told Graham it was our song. So every time we hear it, we HAVE to dance to it. Graham has found me from a hundred yards away to dance to it with me. Someone later told us that she never thought that she'd find herself dancing to "Sexy Back" with her 11 month old son....

I think Shiny Happy People followed, and then we were deep into the dancing. I saw my mom out there with my cousins. I saw my brother and sisters out there. I saw tons of friends boogieing along. Graham pre-mixed most of the music so he didn't have to spend too much time behind his computer during the party. I think it started with 80s pop, and there was an R&B part, and a Latino part.

And the mood of the party sort of shifted. In part, this was because the tequila came out.

My friend Cupcake found me and asked for something to hold kerosene in. Fire spinning!! My Buffy friends almost simultaneously made a request, and Graham played "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." I "performed", while my friend Mother was fire spinning to a little bit off the dance floor.

At this point, Polgara went flying. People also spun fire to Hall and Oates and to Cecelia Cruz's version of "I will Survive." It was awesome.

One of my favorite moments of my wedding reception was finding my brother, my sisters and the housekeeper we grew up with--who is as much family as anyone else there--in the middle of the dance floor singing along at the top of their lungs to "Malagueña Salerosa" by Chignon.

More dancing, more spinning, more tequila.

Graham went behind his rig for a few songs to DJ some Electroswing, but he was having too much fun at his own wedding, and decided he'd rather participate than DJ. So he put more pre-mixed music back on.

At some point, it looked like it was about to rain. I worried a bit about my table decor (most of which had been claimed by guests, so that was awesome), and before Graham could ask people to help clear off the centerpieces, the ones that remained were back in the house, safe from the rain. Graham was also able to get the PA packed and inside in about three minutes. Our friends are awesome.

As time went on, only the hard core remained. And Graham and I started to get tired. At around midnight, we declared ourselves done, and we started hugging and kissing everyone, telling them to keep on going. I have absolutely no idea how long the party went on.

With some friends that were camping on the property, we drove to the other house, having to drive back again because we forgot Celosa.

And when we got to our house, we found a trail of rose petals that led to our bedroom.

And on our bed, we found

Our list of suspects was HUGE. We weren't sure about the "G" since I didn't change my name, but we weren't sure if everyone knew this.

Upon further inspection, we found that maracas and rattles were tied to the bedposts.

And when we got into bed, it started squeaking. Celosa was going a little crazy. We got up to take a closer look.

It seemed like a dozen dog toys were between the box spring and the mattress. Celosa was overjoyed, if a little confused.

Later, photographic evidence would strongly suggest that the "G" was for Gigsville! Yay!!!

Graham and I fell into bed, and we tried to talk, but we were so tired we just fell asleep.... married!


( 2 comments — Say something )
Apr. 25th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
oh lordy, the bed accessories!!! that's so funny, and so sweet, too.

yay for being married! the two of you look so beautiful together. :)
Apr. 25th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
( 2 comments — Say something )