the only downside, especially when your entire family is involved in the wedding, is that it is damn near impossible to take pictures to share in your blog. gah! i hit up my cousin seven to see if maybe she could help me out, though, and as always, she was more than willing. i can always count on her. yay!
we got up bright and early on the big day to get showered and partially ready. the teen and i had opted to do our own hair - besides, mine's so short that there isn't really much to be done with it, and she prefers to handle her own styling after several semi-disasters in the past. so we did our blowouts and dressed in easy-to-change-out-of outfits.
(she's gonna kill me for posting that)
one of the other bridesmaids, MAC, is a professional make-up artist. she was lined up to do the teen's face, which left me to schedule an appointment with the laura mercier counter at the closest macy's to the venue. and so we bid the bean and the hub a rushed farewell and hopped into the car to drive down to manhattan beach for my 10:00 appointment.
being a saturday morning, we hit no traffic at all, and even managed to stop at a starbucks for some much-needed caffeine. strangely, i'd received a postcard in the mail last week for my free birthday beverage - even though birthday princess day was a couple of months ago. heh. but whatever - i went big and ordered a free venti caramel macchiato quite happily.
my mom, who lives maybe 47 seconds from manhattan village, had made the appointments for both of us and was already there. she'd lucked out and had the gay guy working on her. i love gay guys for make-up and hair! i was totally jealous. but the lady who got started on my face was really sweet and was just as passionate about her work as he was. i just hate having to stare down into an eyeful of cleavage as my eyes are being made up. blech.
they had a fashion show scheduled there later that morning, and so it was quite a flurry of activity at the make-up counter. the models arrived as the finishing touches were being completed on our makeovers, and both mom and i let ourselves get talked into buying more than the required purchase for having our faces done.
i'm generally cool with doing my own make-up. i figure, i see my mug every day, i know what looks best, right? but when it comes to big-girl special occasions like these, i like to leave it to the pros - especially when hordes of photographs are going to be all up in the mix. i tend to apply my cosmetics with a significantly lighter hand, and that doesn't translate too well in front of the camera. but i still kind of felt like a big ol' hooker when i walked outta there with a beyond-full face of make-up, complete with fake lashes:
the teen assured me that it looked great, and since i tend to trust her taste, i just went with it. it wasn't really that long ago that i used to actually wear this much make-up on a daily basis, if you can believe that. and it was she who convinced me to lighten it up - what would i do without my teen??
we really were only about 15 minutes away from the ritz-carlton, and as we pulled in, i noticed that our timing was particularly awesome as the hub's car was right in front of us. yay!
we had to call someone up in the bridal suite to come down and get us, as it was located on the exclusive club level. you have to have a key to get the elevator to stop on those floors. as we waited, the hub took off with the groom and co. to grab lunch. and two seconds later, we heard someone walking up behind us to step into a waiting elevator, and when we turned around we were dorkily nudging each other excitedly as we realized that it was hulk hogan and his girlfriend. haha! and then within seconds, we'd both whipped our phones to tweet about it. good gracious, we're nerds. awesome.
when we finally got up to the room, we were greeted by the glowingly beautiful bride, who'd just had her makeup done and her hair up in giant rollers. and moments later, MAC went to work with the teen.
here's the MOH, the bride's mama, and the bride herself. hopefully they don't smack me for posting this, but they were so pretty and excited and happy!
i got my first look at the bridal ensemble. beautiful, simple, and very much a reflection of the bride's quiet, elegant taste.
the bean had fallen asleep in the car on the way down, which was good. she was going to be all discombobulated with the dramatic break in her daily routine, and i really wanted her to get a decent nap in so that the rest of the day would move as smoothly as possible.
sadly, it was not to be. she woke up within seconds of being transferred into the stroller, and happily bounced on the bed and watched "blue's clues" on my phone. oy vey.
we had a great view of the marina from the balcony.
the rose garden was almost directly beneath us as well, and i watched as the guys from the florist scurried around, working frantically.
by the time i turned around again, the teen's face was magically done and i thought she looked fantastic. MAC had added little individual false lashes and they made her eyes really pop out.
after a while, everyone cleared the room to give the bride a little time to herself, leaving her to savor the moment and bask in the excitement of the day. obviously, we didn't have a room to reitre to, but the hub came through and texted me with a room number to meet him in. apparently, the ritz-carlton is not above renting rooms by the hour. heh. okay, actually, it was a "half-day rental," if you want to split hairs.
we had just enough time to unwind a little and relax, ordering some room service lunch and slowly getting ready for the rest of the day. the bean was in an extra playful mood, which meant that it was extra difficult to get her settled down enough to do her hair. and as i'd feared, my clumsy fingers didn't achieve the look i'd been taught at the hair salon - but it was close enough. i added a bit of ivory ribbon and called it a day.
the teen and i got our dresses on and finished our hair in record time. i just pulled up one side with bobby pins and accessorized with a couple of flowers i'd found in just the right colors at forever 21 for a whopping $2.50.
and from here on out, i had no camera. the hub took all of our crap downstairs to store in the car, and per my instructions, left the camera bag at the front desk for seven to pick up when she arrived for the wedding. i felt naked without it, but i wasn't exactly going to parade down the aisle with my camera slung around my neck.
like many weddings do, this one ended up running quite a bit behind. when we got upstairs to meet the rest of the girls and start taking pictures, we found that two of them were still having their hair done. oh, well. we just went with the flow and followed along, and finally ended up downstairs at the ceremony site for pictures.
we all got a peek at the bride and groom's "reveal" - the moment that they see each other for the first time before plunging right into the list of photos to be taken. what we could see was super sweet and touching, and then i turned away, feeling rather like a peeping tom. ew.
guests were starting to arrive as we sped through the group photos. yikes! and we still had the ketubah signing to complete before the ceremony could begin. but i've been a bridesmaid in one other wedding that involved this tradition and knew that it wasn't a lengthy process, so no biggie.
gotta love seven. obviously, she'd managed to pick up my camera with no problems.
pretty ceremony site!
at last, it was time. the groom made his way down and took his place, and we were off!
i prayed that i wouldn't stumble, trip, fall, or otherwise make a fool of myself teetering in my heels down the aisle, took a deep breath, plastered on a smile, and struck off down the path. the bean, who was super drowsy and tired, snuggled in her sister's arms and took the easy way down. happily, we all made it to our places without incident.
and then it was the bride's turn. beaming down the aisle with her proud papa, we all smiled back at her. i always tear up at this part.
it was a chilly evening, though - the sun had gone down long before, and i could feel my teeth chattering and my body shaking with the cold as i stood next to the other bridesmaids. i hoped that no one could see me shivering and continually shifting my weight as my feet protested against the imprisonment they'd been subjected to.
it was such a lovely ceremony, full of love and laughter and a perfect, wonderful way to begin a marriage between two people who were just meant for each other. after an uncharacteristically dramatic first kiss, it was over and then it was time to party!
being a traditional sap, i'd especially looked forward to the walk back up the aisle. because, of course, the last time the hub and i had done this was at our own wedding, almost four years ago. i blew him a kiss just before we linked arms and made our way out of the ceremony site, and again teared up as we literally walked down memory lane. it wasn't hard to keep the smile on my face at that point.
we ordered drinks at the open bar by the pool and then found a table underneath one of the heat lamps. the bean, who'd fallen asleep instantly in MIL's arms (we'd reserved seats for her and FIL in the second row so that they could help with the bean in case she got grumpy) the moment she and the teen made their way down the aisle, continued to snooze peacefully in my arms. it was particularly nice to hold her then, because she was warm and comfy, kind of like my own personal heater. ha!
when cocktail hour was over, we headed up into the ballroom, where we grabbed our escort cards and found our table.
seven had brought my camera back to me, and i used it right away to snap a quick shot of me and the teen, all gussied up in our finery.
my bouquet was beautiful - colorful, fragrant, hand-tied with an ivory ribbon and decorated with a garland of fall-toned jewels. the bean's flower girl basket remained full of rose petals. oopsie.
the bride and groom had chosen to make their entrance to bon jovi's "livin' on a prayer." everyone clapped and sang along as they made their way through the room, and then proceeded to the dance floor for their first dance. afterwards, the reception took an unconventional turn as faster music came on and the floor filled with guests boogying down. before dinner! ha!
several songs later, we were instructed to take our seats and the salads were served. while i passed on actually eating mine, i definitely appreciated the design of it. look, they were shaped like our bouquets! so cute.
not to worry, the hub happily ate it, comically devouring the pears and licking his lips. silly boy.
and then the partying started up again as more dancing took place. now, i love to dance as much as the next girl (despite the fact that i'm awful at it), but i was a little thrown off because we were still in between courses. and i was a little concerned about the lateness of the hour - the bean was hungry and still tired, but we just went with it. she even made it to the dance floor a couple of times, with her daddy and brother wan.
she enjoyed some bonding time with MIL and FIL, too, and MIL busted out a book to help distract her.
it only worked for a little while, though, and then they offered to take her, the teen (who'd gotten up really early and was exhausted from the nonstop activities of the day), and the hub's grandparents home. dinner still hadn't been served, but everyone was having such a great time on the dance floor and we knew they could exit quietly without attracting attention to themselves.
and wouldn't you know it - just a few minutes after they left, the servers brought the entrees to the tables. i was originally served chicken and the hub got the fish, but that salmon looked pretty damn tasty. so since he was outside at the bar, i made a quick switcheroo. with the empty seats at our table, we also had several extra meals, including a couple of vegetarian lasagnas.
after we ate, the dancing started back up again and the hub and brother wan made their way back outside to enjoy a few more drinks and a couple of cigars. i had a great time bonding with my cousins - seems like weddings are the only time we ever get to hang out like this.
the couple cut the cake and then we all sat back to enjoy our slices as a slideshow was projected onto a screen behind us.
and then it was all over. it's always amazing to me how quickly the time goes after months of planning and preparation. the couple was ecstatic and radiated with happiness, enjoying every moment of their long-awaited wedding, and we bid them a fond farewell and made our way home.
here's some close-ups of my bouquet.
sadly for me, swiping that fish turned out to be a giant mistake of colossal proportions. while i'm glad the hub didn't end up super sick instead, i found myself curled up on the bathroom floor a few hours later. it hurt so much, i was crying from the pain. oh, man. but hey, at least it was good on the way down. uh, not so much as it slowly made its way back out.
whee! i managed to find a way to end such a delightful day with...poop. leave it to me. heh.
but hey - congrats to the new mr. and mrs.!!