Rach & Dave get married, part 3
August 6, 2012

First on the agenda after all those Mediterranean appetizers: a teeth check.

Once we affirm we don’t have strands of roasted red pepper stuck in our bicuspids, we’re ready to hit cocktail hour.

We’ve rejected the idea of a receiving line and will end up spending the dinner hour downing our beef wellington and then sneaking out to the terrace alone when we probably should be rotating amongst the tables, but for now, we’re really working it. The tartar station and passed slices of filet I was planning on focusing on are now a distant memory; my new cocktail hour goal seems to involve flinging my arms around as many people as possible. I am a hugging machine. (The massive wine glass filled with champagne that a family friend hands me seems to help with this pursuit.)

One of the many modern American wedding expectations I have a problem with is the Grand Entrance Of The Newly Betrothed Mr. And His Missus. First off, I’m not taking Dave’s name in any way, shape or form, so what is there to really announce anyway? I fret about the bridal party not wanting to boogie in to the Black Eyed Peas, about Dave and I being embarrassed of the spotlight too.

And then I come up with a solution.

Only Dave and I will do the entrance. They’ll call us “Dave and Rach” – duh, those are our names. And Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize will be blaring in the background.

It is absolutely the right call.

Then it’s time for the traditional Jewish dance/brush with death: the hora.

I watch in horror as some of Dave’s scrawny, non-Jewish friends are recruited in the heat of the moment to hold the chairs. The result is a bumpy, petrifying ride meant to…brace us for what marriage feels like? I’m not sure, but I know I’m much happier when we’re finally on the ground again.

Of course, as soon as it’s my parents’ turn to test the limits of their mortality, I’m all for it, clapping away.

There are some more dances, but there’s nothing really hilarious about them to share, except for maybe how terrible Dave and I are at dancing. It never even crossed our minds to take a class; we know we’re beyond help.

My dance with my Dad is no better choreographed – the coordination challenges I face span generations – but it is very special to me, if only because both my parents, never the biggest supporters of all this traditional wedding crap, are somehow now beaming.

The toasts range from Poignant (my best friends) to Not At All Focused On Us (my mother, classically trying to prevent her daughter from being the center of attention on her freaking wedding day) to Very Painful To Listen To (An Unidentified Drunk Brother.)

Not because the Unidentified Drunk Brother doesn’t love us of course, but maybe because he put too much faith in his improv skills and his ability to handle an open bar. His final line – wishing us the 3 C’s in our marriage: compassion, communication and sex – gets a big laugh from me, both because it’s funny and because, thank god, it seems like he’s finally going to hand over the mic to someone else.

Dave’s 15-year-old brother – he of bar mitzvah and embarrassing Facebook debacle fame – makes the best speech, in Dave’s and my opinion. He cuts right to the chase, wishes us well, and is done in 15 seconds flat. The whole crowd is so grateful we all ignore the glass of champagne he’s holding.

I know you’re supposed to have some big moving moment at your wedding, probably at your ceremony, as you devote the remainder of your days on earth to your husband, or maybe right before you walk down the aisle, as you contemplate your girlhood  with your parents and begin to see the step you’re taking as a distinct, new chapter in your life. But my moment, if I had one, probably came on the dance floor.

We’re surrounded by a swaying crowd of family and friends, and, this is far from poetic, I know, but everyone just appears to be having a wonderful time at this silly little event. Everyone we love seems to love us right back.

Honestly, Dave and I are kind of shocked that we are capable of throwing this kind of party, capable of somehow convincing people to rally around us like that. We’re moderately sure the constant flow of champagne has something to do with it, but still. It makes me very happy.

The dance floor festivities continue to rage and Dave and I momentarily sneak out for a private cake cutting.

By this point, I’m pretty sure the night has officially reached Your Wedding Isn’t A Failure status (see above dance floor moment), but we’re not taking any chances. Our back-up plan was to buy our guests’ love calorically, with 10 different flavors of cake, and we’re sticking to it.

So that’s my wedding success tip: excessive desserts. Heaping plates of cakes slices, lemon bars, cream puffs and meringues seem to do the trick for us.

After all the cake has been eaten, the champagne drunk, the two encores played by the band, who promises to perform at our anniversary party, it’s time to peace out.

We board the buses. I’m next to Dave near the back, head on his shoulder, soaking everything in, when suddenly I catch a snippet of conversation from the seat ahead of me.

“Get it together, man,” the voice whispers. “We’re almost there.”

And then, there’s a lot of vomit.

I’m so high on bliss, so bossy on bridal status and so fucking intent on throwing a rager that I simply gather up my dress and make a beeline for the exit, no worse for the wear.

Then we all pile into the bar in the lobby of our hotel. My cousins are situated on bar stools, our friends are sprawled out on the lounge furniture, my aunts and uncles are congregating near the entrance. Jon is pouring glasses of champagne for my parents, someone’s ordering wine by the bottle. My college newspaper co-editor is sitting next to my high school biology classmate who’s  laughing at something my office husband is saying as he slowly drains a glass of whiskey. The bar is starting to feel like an episode of “This is Your Life,” and it’s awesome.

Of course, the happy couple can’t outstay their welcome. We leave the partygoers to their revelry and head upstairs to our room, consider the bottle of champagne on ice, the note addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. B.” (never heard of them), the cute little nightgowns I stocked up on for our honeymoon.

“How would you feel about getting a cheeseburger?” I ask.

And my new husband just laughs at me.

Next up: The day after, and a few bonus features.

Previously: the pre-wedded state; Rach & Dave get married, part 1; Rach & Dave get married, part 2

All photographs by Elisabeth Millay.

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the hostess with the mostest
August 10, 2010

…had a rough night.

That’s me on Sunday morning, surrounded by my loved ones, close to death by hangover.

I’ll spare you the more graphic photos, taken so lovingly by my boyfriend the evening before, as I’m quite confident neither your nor my gag reflex deserves that on a Tuesday night. Instead, I give you a quick step by step guide to being the most memorable hostess in the history of the world, a title currently held by yours truly.

1. Come up with the brilliant idea to throw a surprise party for your boyfriend’s 25th.

2. Get so excited that you eventually (completely intentionally) tell your boyfriend about said surprise. Promise to combat his disappointment/dismay at having had surprise blown by making mass amounts of baked goods.

3. Ship in all your friends from out-of-town.

4. Eat nothing but swabs of peanut butter cream cheese frosting and slivers of frozen banana chocolate chip blondies all day as you bake, bake, bake and frost, frost, frost for the big event.

5. Valiantly refuse dinner in the name of getting a good buzz and fitting into your new Urban Outfitters dress, purchased specifically for the evening.

6. Valiantly measure out the shots in your mixed drink, for safe partying, only to discover that two is apparently not the accepted number. (That’s a double, darling.)This is also known as: completely overestimating the alcohol content of one beverage. (See also: that time I thought champagne didn’t count as a drink.)

7. To add insult to injury, also completely overestimate your post-college alcohol tolerance.

8. End up getting sick by 11 p.m. In your one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. That’s currently hosting 25 of your boyfriend’s closest friends. Who are sadly not as wasted as you, and have perfect hearing. And now all think you’re a raging alcoholic.

Sigh. I hear it was a super lovely party prior to my little incident, all fresh baked goods and good conversation and a bunch of adults responsibly enjoying a beer or two.

I also hear I was super happy, flitting from new friends to old, sticking a billion candles in the chocolate peanut-butter layer cake, holding hands with the birthday boy and leading a stirring rendition of happy birthday.

I’m pretty much mortified by what came happened next – seriously, who does this? at their own party? – but I’m trying to get over it. After all, I know it could have been a lot worse. How lucky am I that I was surrounded by the kind of friends who will secure your hair in a pony tail and rub your back and tell you it will all be over soon, even as you’re in the throes of the worst kind of ickiness?  They sat with me on my floor and laid next to me on my bed – Trace, who’s been taking care of me since we were college freshmen, and Jon, who saw me in prime form on my 21st, and even Matty, who’s going to be a wonderful ED physician – and I am so, so grateful.

They also laughed at me a bit, which they were totally entitled to do.

And when it finally turned into the next day  and I woke up feeling like I was about to die and texted Dave with the simple yet poignant message of ‘help,’ he came back from brunch, with Matty in tow, and brought me water and pretzels and assurances that I would, in fact, one day be able to emerge from our bed. Matty even rescued my stuffed animals from the top of the dresser where Dave has relegated them for most of our relationship, to my un-ending delight.

None of this changed the fact that I couldn’t get down more than half a plain bagel on Monday morning (yes, Monday, you heard right) but I suppose averaging one devastatingly bad hangover every 2.5 years isn’t the worst thing in the world. And while I’m tempted to swear off alcohol forever – like I tend to do every 2.5 years, post-vomit, I’ll stick with a more realistic resolution for now: I’m done with vodka grapefruits for good. Nothing but trouble, those cocktails.

*Most photos by Matty, I think, and a few by Dave.

weekend update
June 7, 2010

My weekend was of the boozy variety, so much so in fact that by 1 a.m. Friday night, after cheering on the Flyers at a rowdy sports bar and downing four beers, one of which was a Guinness-like concoction I inadvertantly ordered at a hipster hangout in graduate hospital, I totally felt like a college kid again. Until we came home and tipsily took in an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, per one of our guests’ request, because she knew someone on it. Which is when I realized that, dude, there is no going back. This grown-up thing? Here to stay, no matter how much I try to fight it with vodka grapefruits.

Other highlights of the weekend include Jon accidentally introducing Christy Lee as Christy Lee upon meeting her, even though, as I’ve specified here before, Christy Lee is not her actual name but rather merely her blog moniker, of which I hope she’s blissfully unaware. We also took Dave and Bridget on their inaugural trip to a gay bar (David on our waiter in the teeny-tiny shorts: “It’s like Hooters. But horrible.”) And we had a debate about healthcare reform that went something like this:

Dave: I’m a closet Republican

Jon: I’m a proud, French socialist

Me: I like poor people but also want to continue to be able shop at Anthropologie forever

Bridget: What’s Medicaid?

Just kidding. Kind of.

There was also some R&R poolside at Dave’s parents’ house in NJ, and a quick trip up to Scarsdale that was mostly marked by Dave and I screaming at the GPS all the way across the GWB, but also by getting to see my great aunt, the matriarch of the family who, at 95, is still sassier than I’ll ever be. Her advice to me? “Hang on to him. And behave yourself.” When I gave her my “whatever do you mean?” look, she shot one of a different variety right back at me. ” You know exactly what I mean,” she said. Well played, Aunt Florence. Well played.

Most importantly, of course, I was busy enough this weekend to completely distract the notoriously anxious and all-around crazy side of myself from the fact that my Ecuador vaca is inching closer and closer. As in, we leave on Friday. As in, I still have nothing booked. As in, my mom mentioned to Jake that Ben and Chels and I were flying out next week and his response was: “To where?” TO WHERE? To the place you were supposed to still be living, you twerp.

Part of me so wishes we were going to Wisconsin. More cheese, less volcanoes. Everyone wins.