after getting cleaned up and ready to party, we got the bean to take this for us:
and then while the hub and the bean headed over to the bar area that we'd reserved for the party, i went upstairs to the old lady's room to help her assemble the welcome bags. except that by the time i got there, she'd already finished. oops.
we loaded up a box with the bags and the fiancé carried it down for us as we made our way to the bar and then lined them up along the pool.
first drink of the evening:
while we didn't have a full meal served, we had ordered lots of appetizers and provided an open bar for the duration of the party. the food was all arranged so nicely, and the servers who were assigned to our party were wonderful. they made sure that everyone was happy and always had a drink in hand.
and as the sun began to set, the guests slowly began arriving. i'll be honest - i had a couple of (really good, but really strong) drinks and so i don't have too many photos. and a lot of them are dark and/or blurry, but i'm sure that's not a surprise.
at some point, the hub had an ice cream sundae bar set up in the back of the room. and then someone somehow managed to bump into it, sending the entire thing crashing down to the floor. oops.
and while it's a non-smoking resort, they were somehow able to sweet-talk our hostess into closing the glass doors, bringing in chairs and setting up a little cigar lounge off to one side.
we even managed to snag a group photo, although by this time the bean was long gone - she'd had her fill of the craziness and had her dad walk her back to the condo where she could relax in peace.
also? the anxiety i'd had over spending time with the old lady's dad and stepmom disappeared pretty quickly. i knew that it was something she was also concerned about, and so when i made a real effort to go over and spend some time chatting with them. after we got over the initial weirdness - after all, it'd been close to a decade since i'd seen them, and before that it had been a pretty rocky relationship, if you can call it that - it became easier and more comfortable, and by the time i finally got up to mingle with the others i knew that everything would be just fine.
i will also share that there were three attendees who were essentially party crashers...folks who had not been invited but yet made the trek out to hawaii for the wedding. it was the one source of major irritation and stress (mostly on my part because my husband, god love him, is a gracious and generous host...damn near to a fault), but we got through it.
and we had such a great time at the welcome party that it definitely set the tone for the rest of the weekend. besides, has there ever been a wedding in the entire history of time that didn't have a hiccup or two, major or minor? eh. it's all good.